Honesty. It's a word that so many of us claim to live by and be a reflection of our lives. And yet, business owners sometimes forget about the importance of honesty when promoting their brands. Marketing is often tied to the idea of stretching the truth, padding the truth or "making it sparkle" to sell something. Business owners aren't trying to be dishonest people by marketing their brands. Rather, we have been taught by the Man Men era of advertising that we must "trick" people into buying things from us.
Business Owners and Marketers: You have the power to end this ridiculous way of thinking starting here and now. No one wants to be tricked into buying anything, because they end up feeling deceived and angry later.
Our goal as business owners is to offer a valuable product or service to the people who want and need it. That's it. Authentic marketers understand this idea and we run with it by offering value using content marketing and content strategy.
It's the process of creating and distributing valuable content that is relevant to your ideal customers at the right place and the right time in the best channel or format. Content is used in different ways throughout the customer journey. You may use blog posts, such as this one, to educate your target audience about what you do, why you do it, and how you're unique. An existing loyal customer should be treated quite differently. When you have a history with someone, you want to speak to that history and create a more customized experience based on it.
Start with honesty. Here's a short story to help explain the importance of honesty and building trust ... I hope it makes you laugh a little.
I knew someone who was working in a high-tech job where they developed semi-custom mobile solutions. The company had a small team of developers (3) who did all of the work for these big brands.
Most of the clients used the out of the box mobile solution that the company was offering. Every so often, a request came in asking for something more customized. The CEO of the company had grand ideas and plans, but little to no understanding about application development.
One day my friend was sitting on a sales call with the CEO talking to a major league prospect - big money, big opportunity. The prospect asked for something that the company's development team could definitely not build with ease (if at all). The CEO said yes to ever request while my friend stared at her in shock. After the call, she asked the CEO how they could possibly make it happen and she said something like, "we'll figure it out. Money first."
The company lost the prospect to the competition when they quickly figured out that the CEO was bluffing.
Moral of the Story: Be honest about what is possible and set realistic expectations. This sales call was one of the many steps the prospect took through the customer journey of working with this mobile business. The words that the CEO and my friend chose to use during that call should have been thought out and semi-planned in advance.
At every point of the customer journey, you are communicating to prospects and customers in one way or another. Your communications should align with your brand values as well as the wants / needs of your target audience.
P.S. If someone does not like the boundaries, limitations, or niche that you serve, then he/she is probably not your ideal customer. Allow those people to opt themselves out. It saves you time, money and energy to serve those who DO need you.