Authentic Marketing: hold loosely to agenda
Authentic Marketing: hold loosely to agenda
I’ve been thinking about the agenda that many marketers have... Grab your attention with compelling headlines Get you on their email list (with a so-called “ethical bribe”) Push you through their sales funnel Keep following up until you buy Persuade you to buy more stuff None of the above are bad per se. What’s not as healthy is the attachment to the process that the audience must go through, which creates a forcefulness that nobody likes...Posted by George Kao, Authentic Business Coach on Friday, July 7, 2023
I’ve been thinking about the agenda that many marketers have…
- Grab your attention with compelling headlines
- Get you on their email list (with a so-called “ethical bribe”)
- Push you through their sales funnel
- Keep following up until you buy
- Persuade you to buy more stuff
None of the above are bad per se.
What’s not as healthy is the attachment to the process that the audience must go through, which creates a forcefulness that nobody likes. This makes the audience trust the marketer less.
The motive to manipulate people starts from the illusion of being able to control them.
This may be the biggest mindset change I made in my marketing:
- Hold loosely to trying to control one’s audience.
- Hold fast to my values.
What I can control today, and everyday, is not really my marketing results — that will depend how others respond to me — but I certainly have more influence over whether, and how, I embody my values.
There is a choice of priorities here:
Visible results vs. Invisible values.
The more we try to control the visible results in marketing, the more we have to manipulate our audience.
However, the more we prioritize the embodiment of invisible values, the better our heart feels, the more authentically we show up, and therefore, the more trust we build with our audience.
The overall process:
1. Clarify our values.
2. Embody it diligently in marketing and business.
3. We’ll know we’re doing it because it’ll feel great!
4. Our audience will feel it too, and it improves our reputation over time.
5. This leads naturally to better word-of-mouth and more clients.
Trying to control things from the other end — focusing on visible lead generation & persuasion — tends to disconnect from our hearts, and deprioritize our values. The result? The audience can feel that disconnection, even if they can’t consciously describe why they don’t trust you.
The practical application of all this means…
- Not every post needs a compelling headline
- Not every piece of content needs a CTA (call to action)
- Not every marketing action has to be about lead generation or conversion
- Not every announcement needs to lead to a sale
- Not every buyer should be persuaded to buy more from you
- Not every client has to refer you
Do these things occasionally, but not all the time because it’s supposed to be “good” marketing. It’s not.
And do these things from a bubbling up of genuine enthusiasm rather than from an ulterior motive. Sometimes I have a call-to-action at the bottom of my posts to subscribe to my newsletter. Sometimes I don’t. I notice that the more trusting I am of my audience, the less I have calls-to-action. As a result, they tend to trust me more than others who are always trying to get them to like, comment, subscribe, share, signup, etc…
A question I was asked: “How do you know when to make an offer/invitation in this approach?”
It will depend on the business model. Example:I have a rhythm of promoting a new online course once every 1–2 months (depending on the length of the course, as some courses are 1 month, some last for 2 months.) My audience has gotten used to this rhythm, and many of them now actually look for what course I’m teaching any given month.
As for 1–1 clients: my client roster has, gratefully, been full for a few years, after I became consistent with authentic content, but back when I needed to promote my one-to-one, I would post a gentle invitation to explore working with me every 3–4 weeks. Generally, I recommend 1 invitation/promotion for every 5–10 pieces of content, or at minimum once a month. Whatever the promotional rhythm is, it’s got to feel good to you, and make sense to your audience, i.e. they understand and appreciate your business model.
When I used to follow up with potential clients, I was always careful not to badger them until they said Yes. Instead, I saw my follow-up as a courtesy reminder about the opportunity to work with me or ask me any questions, and to share any relevant resource that made me think of them. It’s out of courtesy and convenience for them, and a genuine feeling that I like them, not out of a need to “get” them to say yes. A word for this would be “netcaring.”
Another question: “How do you end up getting clients, even if you don’t have a tight hold on it?”
In summary, by doing the following…
- Consistently posting authentic content with the motive to explore my message further and serving my audience’s needs better, and then…
- Occasionally posting gentle invitations…
- I notice that client inquiries appear consistently.
- I study the approximate rhythm of these inquiries, and plan my revenue on the actual reality of this rhythm… rather than set a fantasy goal and force my audience through a funnel to try to achieve my egoically-projected numbers.
- Over time, as I strengthen my authentic voice and make my content more helpful to my audience, the client inquiries tend to grow. I keep re-adjusting my revenue projections occasionally, based on current realities.
Focus daily on the invisibles (values such as authenticity, connection, generosity, learning), and occasionally offer a genuinely-felt invitation/promotion. Do this and we tend to get excellent results long-term. Sometimes, results come quickly… but the short-term result is not what we try to control.
Control your daily focus: Embody your core values, and allow the visible results to take care of themselves. We become excellent through the consistent practice of expressing our values.
A much wiser one said this: “Seek first the kingdom of God, and the rest shall be given to you.” (Jesus)
Above everything else in your business, prioritize bringing your higher self as you show up everyday, and allow your metrics to grow naturally.
Article originally written in Feb 2019. Updated in 2023.