We talk to a lot of people who have developed their view of marketing & advertising from watching episodes of “Mad Men” - pretending to be something they’re not in order to market themselves to the customers they think they want. But all too often, these businesses end up attracting customers that drive them crazy, or employees that don’t fit their culture. Their slick marketing materials may look nice, but the image & message they’ve crafted doesn’t represent who they really are. And there’s too much business out there the eschews the value of being authentic in search of signing the next income stream.
In the world I live in every day - the world of inbound & content marketing - you can’t pretend to be something you’re not. In fact, the kind of marketing we practice is predicated in representing ourselves authentically in order to attract customers, partners and employees we love to work with and serve every day.
We love this kind of marketing because it combines the left brain (tactical & logical) and right brain (creative)—and it fits perfectly with the values we use to run our own company - Collaborative Spirit, Efficient Delivery, Fanatical Service, Perfectionist Quality, and Joyful Abundance.
When you sign clients based on a platform of what they want to hear and not who you really are, your setting up for a painful lesson. (Think of it like trying to date someone who lied in the online dating profile. No matter how much you say “Bonjour” they’re going to find out that when you said you’re from Paris, it really was Paris, Texas.) If you’re not telling an authentic story, you’re not going to attract the kinds of customers, employees, and partners you want to work with. By doing the following, you can get the clients and relationships you deserve:
Create a Vision of Greatness: Figure out who you are, what you want out of business, and why. Stick with it. Don’t give it up. Don’t compromise if for the sake of a quick contract. Since this vision forms a foundation for all the following steps, it’s essential that you take your time with this part.
Define your ideal customer: Interview your favorite customers and identify the traits they have in common - from the obvious (income level, location, gender, industry) to the subtle (values, personality, interests, goals). Now examine the customers that drive you crazy and figure out the traits they have in common too. Don’t lose sight of these profiles as you develop the rest of your strategy!
Deliver Your Authentic Brand & Voice: Make sure your brand imagery and voice reflect the vibe you and your team give live in person. Be professional, be yourself, and don’t be afraid to communicate what makes you tick instead of what you may think the potential client wants to see.
Develop Your Story. Your REAL story: eBooks, white papers, blogs, checklists, webinars, videos - offer content that educates potential buyers, lets prospects get to know you better, and demonstrates that they can trust you.
Spread the word as far as possible: Increase your chances of finding like-minded prospects and partners by building your network and using your new relationships to circulate what makes your business you.
Remember, there are 100 businesses that do what you do. There’s only one that is built on who you are.