Everyone always wants to know the best marketing strategy to follow for their business.
Should they invest all their time in crafting witty social media banter like the Wendy’s Twitter account?
Should they focus on content marketing and pump out a blog a week and push a new case study or white paper on their email list each month?
Should they divert their marketing budget to focus on ads, including those pesky ones of the “retargeting” variety that follow you everywhere from Facebook to your favorite news sites and beyond?
Or maybe, just maybe, it’s all about word choice and being more selective about the way they write their next website.
All of those tactics might bring in more website visitors, generate more leads, and help boost conversion rates. But what if I were to tell you that I think none of those tactics will give you the most satisfying results?
There is only one failsafe marketing strategy, and it stares you in the face each morning when you wake up and look at yourself in the mirror.
That’s right. As weird as it sounds, your best marketing strategy is yourself.
Some people call this being your authentic self, but I’ve found that phrase has been co-opted to the point of irrelevance, and become so much of a buzzword that it’s lost most of its original intent.
So, take a ride with me for a thousand words or so and let me explain. Here are my thoughts on why your best marketing strategy is as simple as embracing yourself and what’s important to you.
A lot of marketing folks today talk about presenting your authentic self in your marketing communications, but what does that really mean?
If you love Star Wars (like I do, in case the blog where I use a giant picture of Yoda didn’t give that away) then should your bio page feature a photo of you in a Princess Leia t-shirt and Boba Fett helmet?
Sure, there might be some element of that in your “personal brand” (feel free to go wash your hands if that phrase makes you feel a little icky) but I don’t think your quirks are what will drive most of your professional success.
In some cases, they might make you relatable, and that’s great, but being authentic in your marketing simply means caring about others.
Caring for others has itself become something of a productized idea in marketing circles. Content marketing techniques demand that you educate prospects over selling them so that they believe you do care about them.
When you create marketing communications from that vantage point, though, how authentic are you really being?
I’m advocating that a good strategy has to start from within. You have to be convinced that what you are doing—your company, your job, your services—really does help the people that you serve.
And if you believe that you are helping others through your work, then it’s easy to feel passionate.
And that passion is going to naturally flow out into everything you do.
But the starting point—the foundational element that will inform the rest of what you want to get across to prospects and clients—has to be a genuine concern and care for other human beings. That is something that you cannot fake for long; it may even require you to take a step back to reassess your attitudes and do the hard work of self-change.
Financial advisors should understand this idea really well. After all, you’re supposed to a fiduciary, right? You put the interests of your clients above your own.
If you want people to trust you, to believe you, and to choose you over the competition, then it’s time to really mean that instead of simply using it as a bullet point on page one of your firm brochure.
Corporate lingo. Jargon. Buzzwords.
It goes by many names, but you know the words when you hear them.
Customer-centric. (I can hear you thinking the name of at least one airline, but I’m sure that even those companies want to be customer-centric.)
And the granddaddy of them all—Synergy.
If you’re frequently dropping these kinds of words into your website copy or your daily conversations, it’s likely an indicator that either A) you’re trying too hard, or B) you need to spend some more time on a topic so you can—ahem—take a deeper dive into it.
Buzzwords are a barrier. They make you sound like everyone else, and they indicate that you aren’t very passionate about or invested in what you’re talking about.
Sometimes, it may be a matter of being too rehearsed or feeling like you have to be perfect.
Instead, allow yourself to be imperfect. When creating marketing communications, focus in on what parts of your job allow you to thrive. Speak off the cuff. Be…yourself.
If you’re a financial advisor who feels so-so about portfolio management but you absolutely love helping clients with college planning, then go all in on that.
Speak from the heart and bleed on the page with why you believe so wholeheartedly in its importance. The rest can build from there.
All the points I’m making in this post ultimately come back to self-reflection.
If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, why are you doing it? A lack of passion will come through in your writing and your work.
Apathy in your heart about your work will do more to kill an otherwise “good” marketing approach than any misplaced word or mistakenly-sent automated email ever could.
Put another way, your marketing strategy will always be undermined and tossed into irrelevance by a lack of energy once it’s time for you to actually sit down and talk with someone.
If you’re struggling with the value of what you’re doing, find something new that sparks a fire inside you. It may be a specific component of your current work. It may be an entirely new line of work.
The one thing I can guarantee is that if you are passionate about your work, then that passion cannot be contained. It will be evident to everyone around you.
It will come through in how you talk about the services you provide and the value you can provide to clients.
It goes without saying that just being passionate isn’t enough, of course. But if the product behind you is bad, that passion will wear off soon anyway.
Sustained passion comes from doing what you love with work that you believe in. It comes from caring about others, putting them first, and leaning into real relationship.
That’s what authentic marketing means to me. I believe that if you follow it, you’ll be happier.
And you won’t be happier because you’re getting more sales; you’ll be happier because you’ll be doing work that you believe really matters.
And that is something worth feeling passionate about.
Looking for someone to help you refresh your marketing, create new content, or speak at your event? Get in touch with me here and let’s chat.
Featured Image: Photo by Vince Fleming on Unsplash