On this week’s episode, we are talking about how to be authentic in your marketing. I have gotten where I am in my business because I’ve been authentic, because I show up real and raw, and I lay it all out there. And if that’s something that scares you, let me assure you that I’m not going to tell you to air all of your dirty laundry! That would feel unnatural, which is the opposite of authentic. What I am hoping you’ll start to see today is the importance of being who you are.
I’m going to share seven ways to be more authentic in your marketing. But you don’t have to put all of these things into action if it doesn’t feel right for you. What works for one person may not work for another. Authenticity looks different for every single entrepreneur, but this list is going to just give you some ideas.
I’m not just going to tell you that you need to be authentic in your marketing. I’m going to explain how that can look and I’m going to share some personal examples from my own journey with you.
Here are seven ways to be more authentic in your marketing:
1. Sharing your journey
That means the highs and the lows. If this scares you and you think you can’t share the low points because you’ll seem like you don’t have it together, start small. Think of one lesson that you learned that you feel comfortable sharing with your audience and share it. Literally schedule an appointment on your calendar to share it. If you don’t set a date and time and a deadline for yourself, you’re never going to do it.
Here’s why that works so well. A lot of people kind of put up a smokescreen when it comes to their business. They talk about like how well they’re doing, but they don’t really go into detail. They don’t give people a behind the scenes look at what led to all of that.
That has been a huge way that I’ve connected with my audience. I’ve talked about some pretty big milestones that I’ve hit. We’re coming up at the end of Q2 in 2019 at the time that I’m recording this, and Q1 was my biggest quarter that I have ever had in my three years of business. And you better believe that I talked about that! I’ve talked about hitting my first 10K month and why I hit it. I don’t just say I hit my first 10K, or I did this amazing thing, without also saying what it took to get there. That’s what authenticity means for me.
You have to decide what that is for you, but the point is you can’t just share key points along your journey without explaining how it happened, because that is the true value that you give to your audience. You’re not sharing so they can replicate it, it’s so that they know that if they’re struggling with something they know they’re not alone and they have some way to gauge what to expect.
2. Show up consistently
If your audience only hears from you every so often, that’s not authentic. That’s showing up when you feel like showing up. It’s very conditional and it completely defeats the purpose of having a two-way relationship with your audience.
Authenticity means showing up so that people can start to rely on you, so that people can connect with you. It doesn’t feel authentic if you’re dropping in once in a while to tell them about the next program you’re launching. Then it feels like you’re using them and you’re only talking to them when you have something you want to sell, and that is the furthest thing from authentic. That’s when things start to feel kind of spammy and salesy and pushy and all of that other stuff. Let your audience know that they can rely on you, that they can have those conversations with you.
Be available for that and if you’re struggling to do that, ask yourself why.
What fear is keeping you from showing up with your audience?
Maybe it’s fear that you’re not good enough.
Maybe it’s fear that someone’s going to call your bluff.
Maybe it’s fear of actually landing the client.
There are many fears that can come up and keep us from being authentic, but you have to show up in the first place if you ever want your audience to connect with you.
3. Ask tough questions to challenge your audience
In my opinion, not enough people are doing this. Your audience needs to have a shift in their thoughts and their perspective in order to work with you. If you are spending time with your audience, giving them amazing information, but they’re not taking the next step, they’re not investing with you, it’s because you’re giving all of the information. You’re giving them that false sense of confidence that they can do with themselves and you’re not shifting their thoughts.
I always have people ask me how to know what to give away for free. The way I see it is you want to focus your content on thought shifting versus ‘how to’, your audience is not ready for that anyway until they start working with you.
But what they are ready for is some tough love. Some tough questions that really get at why they haven’t taken action, why their business is the way it is, and why they’re struggling with their current problem. They need to understand all of those whys in order to get to the point where they realize they need help.
If you’re not willing to ask them some tough questions because you don’t want to upset anybody, then think about these questions.
Do you want them to like you more than you want them to get results?
Do you want them to like you more than you want them to get the help that they desperately need with the problem that they’re struggling with?
Do you want to be liked more than you want what’s best for them?
If so, that needs to shift.
4. Think about how you can start fully supporting your audience
You’re not going to do the same things for your audience that you would for your clients. Your clients have invested in access to you, so you’re not going to give away everything to your audience for free. But how can you be supporting them? How can you show that you care about them and you care what happens to them?
It’s really important that I encourage my audience, that I encourage the members of my Facebook group, that if someone’s struggling, I show up for them the way that I would for a friend who’s struggling. For me that means encouraging them, and asking how I can help without expecting anything in return. How are you supporting and encouraging your audience? What does it look like to be fully supportive of them, to care about the person and not the sale?
5. Serve, not sell
Now, I don’t want to paint a bad picture of sales because you have to sell in order to be a business owner. Most people connect with someone and they instantly go right for the sale, they skip over the serving part. The serving part starts with that encouragement. Think about how you form a friendship in real life. Your online marketing should reflect that. That’s what being authentic means, it’s showing up online the way you would in real life. And if in real life you wouldn’t just pitch someone or propose on the first date, why are you doing it in your marketing?
How can you serve your audience?
How can you serve them without worrying about the sale?
What does it look like to actually build a relationship with them?
The authentic way of marketing, the organic way of marketing, takes a little longer. It’s the long game and a lot of people don’t want to play the long game.
“If you don’t want to play the long game in your marketing, you shouldn’t be in business.” – Michelle Vroom
6. Sell when appropriate
Is it authentic to pretend like you don’t have a business? Is it authentic to just give people free advice and completely disregard the fact that you need to make a profit as a business owner? You’re in business, stop lying about it, stop apologizing for it! That is why you don’t feel authentic. That is why your marketing doesn’t feel natural or genuine. It’s because you’re apologizing for being in business, for being someone who charges for their expertise, for their knowledge, for their services.
The right clients will invest with you. The right clients don’t want free advice. The more you give free advice and apologize for being a business owner, the more you’re going to attract the people who just want that. One of the ways that you can be authentic is yes, serving your audience, but also telling them how they can continue to work with you if someone engages with you.
We have to stop apologizing for being business owners. It is not wrong to charge for your services.
7. Say what you want to say
You have to start saying what you want to say. Way too many of you are putting out messages that are very lukewarm. They’re very politically correct. They’re messages that can be applicable to everyone. Let me tell you something…those messages are falling flat. They are not even being heard.
Being authentic in your marketing means putting messages out there that reflect your values, that reflect what you believe to be true. Stop trying to please everyone because you’re never going to anyway. If you feel a certain way about a topic, say it. You are going to attract way more people. The right people. If you stand firm in your messaging and have a strong message, will you repel people who don’t agree with your input, who don’t agree with your approach, who don’t agree with your thoughts? Absolutely! But those people were not the right people anyway. They’re not your people. Your people want your messages to be strong. They want you to say what you want to say.
This is the way that you attract the right clients is by being authentic, by showing up as you. If you don’t, you’re going to attract people who are in love with a false version of you and that is going to cost you way more time and money than if you had no clients at all.
Your next step from listening to this episode is to pick one thing you’re going to do to be more authentic. That’s all I’m asking, just one thing! It could be something from this list or it could be something else that came up for you. What does that look like for you? Send me a note and let me know because I would love to celebrate with you, and hold you accountable as you start to become more authentic. You can email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!
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