In marketing, we usually learn about the importance of getting people’s attention. To try to stand out, be better looking, be more charming and/or more aggressive.
Yet, I’m not trying to stand out. If anything, I’m trying to blend in. I know that my ideal audience will spot me, even in a sea of social media posts.
Being flashy tends to get unwanted attention, which makes it harder over time to be authentic, and to wade through the many people to find and connect with our true fans.
A client of mine showed me a marketer teaching us to use visual interruption to get an audience’s attention. Although it works, it's not something I want to do. I’d rather do the opposite: blend into the crowd so that only the ideal members of my audience will recognize a kindred spirit in me.
Otherwise, our audience grows in the wrong direction, which increases our marketing costs over time.
What’s important to me is to make sure I’m not being motivated so much by external influences, and instead, to discover how I can resonate with you from a deeper, more authentic space.
Any deliberately attention-getting activity takes you out of your authenticity.
Yet, if you practice simply being more deeply yourself, you will naturally be unique, and automatically be more attractive to your true fans.
We don’t have to try to get attention. Instead, we need to remember that how we truly are is already of incalculable value to the people we’re most meant to serve.
Therefore, we simply need to show up daily with our authenticity.
Be aware of the kind of marketing you are learning, and what you think you “should” emulate:
Cynical attention-grabbing. Competing with others for attention. Baiting our audience into watching or reading.
Unfortunately, these are normal behaviors in the online marketing world. To believe that humans (even our potential clients) are just constantly distracted and requiring flashy, baiting, manipulative tactics to finally pay attention to us, to “get them” to buy from us.
Of course, all humans are distractible, especially online. But the more you assume they need flashiness to pay attention, the more you’ll behave in ways that are outside your groundedness and personal truth.
Instead, I assume that my ideal audience is looking for someone who is simply like me. They don’t know what I look like, but they know the feeling that they’re seeking.
When they encounter my message, even a so-called boring text-only post (which is much of what I do, see here: George Kao’s Facebook Posts) they immediately have a feeling of recognition: “there’s something deeply true about this message… let me keep reading.”
It’s not that we should never post images, or be artful or entertaining or even flashy. It’s about doing it from our authenticity.
Are we enjoying our marketing? Are we in connection to our authentic expression, and to our audience, in a way that makes us forget about ourselves? Are we serving from a place of compassion?
Show up and enjoy the process of expressing your truest thoughts. Be the version of you as if you are with a dear friend who accepts you completely. Yearn to connect your joy to theirs, your passion to theirs. If you’re sharing helpful information, do it from a spirit of genuine compassion.
If you are doing that, you are creating authentic content. Naturally, it is effective, without trying to get anyone’s attention.
If you enjoy expressing beauty or humor, then do it! But don’t try to be beautiful or funny if it isn’t who you are if you were with a dear friend.
By treating your audience like they will accept you for who you are, you will attract those who will do exactly that. Take on an attitude of curiosity about who will resonate with you just as you are.
When we try to get attention, it is unsustainable… they will soon find out how we are “normally” and become disillusioned. Or we will feel like we have to keep up a pretense to keep their attention.
If instead, we give our energy to our authentic expression, then we enjoy our marketing and it becomes sustainable. Consistent, ongoing marketing allows you to grow a real audience.
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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