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Being transparent and authentic in a market that craves it

You’ve probably heard the words “transparency” and “authenticity.” Two big buzz words in Internet marketing.

What transparency really means is:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you believe?

You must be honest with these answers in order to achieve authenticity. Your readers will know if you’re being fake, no matter how good you think you are at covering it up. And fake is not good for business.

It’s important to remember your product or service helps your customers do something they’re passionate about, either in a better way or a less expensive one. If they’re passionate about it, they want you to be too. (And if you’re not passionate about it, why do you make/sell/do it in the first place?)

Why the need to be transparent and authentic?

It all comes down to the foundation of trust. Your customers want to believe you’re a good person. They want to believe you have a good product. And they want to believe you care about them. By giving them a little insight into your world, you help achieve all these things.

We all like to do business with friends, so throwing a little “get-to-know-you” at your customers – in a real way – is always good.

How does a business blog accomplish transparency and authenticity?

It doesn’t if you don’t write it correctly. Your business blog must be a reflection of you and your company in order to pass along the aura of transparency and authenticity.

Yes, blogs have been around for quite some time now, and millions of people around the world participate. Through writing, reading and commenting. But really, they’re still a relatively new concept in business strategy.

Especially in small business strategy. And who has the most interaction with their customers?

That’s right. Typically small businesses. Just like yours.

You can be transparent in your blog simply by being you. Tell them what’s going on with your business, why you do what you do, how you got started.

You can be authentic in your blog simply by being you, too. Be honest in what you’re saying. It’s also good to throw in some tips for your customers along the way to let them know you care about their success and have expertise in your niche.

You don’t know how to start a blog, you say? That’s what I’m here for.

But a blog is not the only place for you to be transparent and authentic.

It’s just a good starting point. You must practice these things in all you do. Every email, every postcard, every in-person greeting, every phone call and every sentence on your website.

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But times are tough.

I know. Believe me, I know.

I live and work on a farm, and my dad owns a metal building company. If anyone has felt the pinch of a slowing economy, agriculture and construction are certainly in the mix.

But guess what?

Now is just as good, probably even better, of a time to increase your outreach and promotional projects. That’s right. Increase.

Sure, the easy thing to do is nix “marketing” and “communications” and “advertising” as line items from your budget when you begin cinching the belt. But is it really a good business decision in the long-run?

The recession, or dip, we’re currently in is a short-run situation. Companies that survive the short-run must have a long-run strategy and way of thinking. If not, what’s the point of surviving the short-run to begin with?

If business has slowed some (or even a bunch), cutting advertising and marketing projects only removes you even more from your customers. Then, when things recover, if they haven’t already found a new supplier, there’s a strong possibility they will. That is generally what happens when you let them forget you.

But, if you just can’t justify that full-page color print ad anymore, there are alternatives. Maybe it’s just time to reevaluate your advertising strategy, rather than abandon it altogether.

It might make more sense to start an email newsletter. These are fairly inexpensive, and let you reach your customers quickly. If nothing else, just to say, “Hi. I’m still here. Doing well, how about you? Just wanted you to know we’re ready for your business when you are. We’ll be here.”

Because if there’s anything that makes a customer nervous, it is dealing with a company they don’t fully trust to stick with them.

Other simple projects might be a postcard, or even a phone call. Now there’s an idea. Talking with your customers one-on-one. It’s nearly unheard of these days. Which is exactly why it might be the thing to do. You will certainly stand out, and they will definitely remember you.

Need some more ideas? Or assistance implementing them? I’d be happy to help. You can give me a call today to get started.

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