Both methods get you clients. You can imagine which one I endorse.
Let’s start with the method most people think marketing is about...
This is when you work hard to make a great first impression: awesome logo, amazing website, undeniable testimonials, polished videos, perfect products.Unfortunately, trying to be instantly impressive will reinforce a “fixed mindset”.
“In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success — without effort.” (from the book “Mindset” by Carol Dweck)
You may succeed in making a perfect first impression, but then you’ll have lots of pressure to keep it up. You’ve set a very high expectation. If that level of impressiveness isn’t natural (authentic) to your way of operating, then chances are you will disappoint your audience, your clients, your business partners, and yourself.
Instant impressiveness is what you are trying to achieve when you work extra hard (not joyfully, not consistently) at anything marketing-related — creating persuasive web copy, attractive looking visuals, perfectly-scripted videos.
Making extra effort (or spending lots of money) on marketing is a risky strategy: you don’t know whether it’s going to work until the finished product touches the market. It is usually a flop. We only hear about the overnight successes, and so we think this is how marketing is usually done.
Instant impressiveness eventually creates burnout.
Truthfully, I’m too lazy for this method anyway, so I’ve taken a different path…
This is an ongoing dedication to showing up consistently, in service to your personal growth, and in ministry to your ideal audience.
That’s what authentic marketing is, in my view: a consistent effort to explore your calling while serving your audience.
You’re not trying to be more polished than you usually are, or smarter than everyone, or number one in your field.
Instead, you are practicing the joyful diligence of authentic business: creating consistently… connecting genuinely… serving with heart… always with the curiosity of exploring the alignment between your passions and your audience’s wants.
Magic is created whenever you find that alignment between your authentic energy and your audience’s wants! Your content gets engagement, your products/services sell beautifully. This is the natural result of showing up consistently with an experimentation mindset. Your explorations will grow your understanding about that blessed intersection between your passion and your audience’s wants.
In other words:
“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and work — brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” (from the book “Mindset” by Carol Dweck)
The world is a big place. Your journey of exploration is a long one. So, don’t worry about what others think of you at first.
Be more concerned whether you are showing up consistently.
By dedicating yourself to practice — to kaizen (continuous small improvements) — you will inevitably become authentically impressive. In this path, when people are impressed, they are seeing the true you: You really have become that good!
For example, I hated writing, most of my life, and I definitely wasn’t good at it. With consistent practice, I’ve learned to enjoy writing, and I’ve now self-published four books about authentic business. The books are OK, but I know that with continued improvement (future updated editions) they will become more and more authentically impressive.
In summary, it’s all about consistent practice. But what are we to practice? The 7 disciplines of authentic business.
How to make our business path more fulfilling and sustainable? Transform your practices into the 7 joys of authentic business.
What I love most about this path of Consistent Authenticity is that it frames all our business efforts as personal growth. And it makes marketing all about the journey of finding your true livelihood.
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
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