The honesty factor: Why authenticity is crucial to influence, growth, and raving fans
I’m so sick of SEO experts that claim to have millions dollar corporate accounts, but they spend hours and hours online teaching what any sane individual would keep close the their vest. And they are selling seats in a training class for $12.99, what is up with that? So, you look into it and they live in a shack and drive a 10 year old four door sedan that smokes and when you look at the wife… she has a real job… the SEO bum is living off her good will… I figure she doesn’t want take the time and trouble of finding a new man… maybe the dog is the father of her kids… but still it seems to me he’s a loser none-the-less. Oh, you think I’m singling a guy out for ridicule? it’s not the story of a single guy on Youtube… it’s TEN of them. — Alan Nafzger, publisher (The Manila News-Intelligencer)
Marketing has a bad reputation. Marketing is often associated with deceit and sleaziness. Others believe marketers are arrogant, greedy and self-absorbed. All these people ask me this question: Are you not supposed sing the praises of your business? Your business is important to you, right?
It’s okay to share positive news about your company. You can be a good person , and market your company. You want to make money. But is that a bad thing? Why shouldn’t your business be paid if it truly benefits people and provides value? For a great product, I’m not afraid to pay a premium price. Last year, I spent $1000 on a course in blogging. Smart Blogger, the company I purchased it from, is worth every penny. The course is worth twice its cost, and I’m glad to give my support to the company.
Your product’s quality is a major difference between ethical and sleazy marketing. Shame on you if you sell garbage in order to make quick buck. If you are selling high-quality, genuine products that help people, great!
A great product or service can be a way to build a loyal fan base. You can see how quality products and services have made companies such as Zappos, Starbucks, and Apple a household name. Personally, Smart Blogger, Carol Tice’s Freelance Writers Den, and Big Mama are all great resources. These businesses have made my life easier and brought me happiness in some way. I am eager to help them by giving my money. These businesses have had honest and sincere interactions with me, which is crucial for every step of the journey from influencer to nobody.
Genuine marketing is not only ethically important, but it’s also important for a person’s relationship. Genuine marketing is about building trust with customers and growing a loyal fan base.
You can be caught lying to customers and could endanger your reputation.
Humanizing your brand is important. This philosophy is reflected in being honest and genuine. Let’s now talk honesty in the final section. No, I am not going to lecture about the moral implications of honesty. Let’s turn this entire thing upside down and see how honesty can be used tactically to your marketing advantage
Recognize your mistakes
It sounds counterintuitive. It’s not a suggestion that you publicly reveal all of your failings. Remember that term I introduced in Chapter Podcast? Digital bonding.
Your failures, struggles and mistakes can be a powerful way to connect with your audience. Here’s why.
It shows that you are like them. Because we’re all human and make mistakes. Your audience will be more open to your vulnerability if you are vulnerable and real. Humanizing your brand and yourself is one of the most important goals of your website. It is important to be approachable. Prospects should get to know you.
People like to buy from friends and people they feel comfortable with. You can show your similarity by sharing your failures and hardships.
Does this mean that you have to share your shortcoming? No. It should always have a reason. My book An Ordinary Dude’s Mindfulness Series contains many of the mistakes and mishaps in my life. But there is always a point. Jon Morrow’s blog, unstoppable.me, was virally launched by the same philosophy. He also shared the very sad story of his near death when he was a child. Jon’s and my case are both examples of how painful stories can be used to teach readers lessons.
Not only is it a good idea to teach a lesson, but you also need to share your own mistakes. Sometimes businesses make serious mistakes. Let’s take, for instance, the NBA. Although most people don’t consider the NBA a business, it is. Recently, the referees began to publicly share missed calls via social media. How does this benefit the NBA’s brand image?
It’s great, and I am a huge fan. It shows transparency by the league and acknowledges that mistakes do happen from time to time. Knowing that they are willing to admit to making mistakes makes the NBA even better. This admission shows me, as a fan of the NBA, that they are aware of the problem and committed to fixing it.
You can admit your mistakes publicly if you do it. This doesn’t mean that you have to admit every mistake, but it does mean that you should be open about your human side, and your mistakes, when necessary.
Tell your customers not to purchase your product
Sometimes, it is best to say “no” to the customer. Tell them that your product/service is not right for them. It sounds counterintuitive. It seems counterintuitive.
Because it shows that you care about your customers’ best interests. It’s simple, think about it. Will customers become long-term clients if they aren’t satisfied with a product you have sold them? No. They will be a one-off sales, which can be great in the short-term but could cause headaches long-term when they complain about your business and possibly badmouth it online to thousands.
I have been able to hear from several online businesses that they don’t recommend me buying expensive products. Let me share one example
In 2014, I was considering spending $1,000 to purchase a new course Danny Iny was creating. I tried to decide between his product or one from another company. So I spoke with the sales representative to explain my situation, and get her opinion. What would businesses think? Most businesses would say, “My product’s awesome, get it now!” However, that was not Iny’s company. Actually, the sales rep thought that the competitor product was better suited for me and recommended I purchase it instead. That was a moment I will never forget. Even though I have never purchased anything from Iny, it is something I will always remember.
What have Danny gained from doing the right things? It’s all in front of you. This book will be read by thousands of people. Iny’s company, Mirasee, gets a shout-out here. This was not something Iny put me up too. From that one experience, I am a true fan for life. Now it’s your turn.
How can you ensure that your customers are always in the best interest of your company?
No matter what your answer is, don’t sell just to sell. Consider the customer. Tell them if your product isn’t right for them. This builds customer loyalty and trust.
The Help Mindset
You may be familiar with Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab Jab Jab Jab, jab, right Hook‘s give, give and ask philosophy. It basically means that you should only sell your brand, products, and services 20% of the time. You can offer value the other 80%.
Value means providing value to your customers. You can share a joke with them, offer them business tips, or encourage them with a positive story. You can enrich their lives and not ask for anything in return.
Most likely, you’ve been at the mercy of pushy salespeople or people who simply sell, sell and sell without offering any value. They try to convince you into purchasing their products. They are pushy, irritating, and untrustworthy. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Be like these marketers.
Instead, offer value. Have a Help Mindset, or as I prefer to call it. You should be able to make your customers happy, improve their lives and delight them with your services.
It’s obvious that there is no business without customers. Show appreciation, gratitude and love to your customers. The result will be like modern-day karma. Customers will return the favor by referring more customers, generating more goodwill and loyalty to your brand.
Integrity is the foundation of online credibility. It is an integral part of any step you take on your journey to influencer status. Be authentic. Be authentic. Be real.
Customers will love you because of it. Your business will expand.