The Need for Authentic Marketing in a World Drowning in Advertising.
Authentic Marketing ‘Tactics’
It’s one of the single most powerful tools for growing a business, brand or idea.
Done right it has the ability to grow your business from a simple idea to a thriving 6 or even 7 figure business in as little as one to two years.
Done wrong and you can waste thousands to 10’s of thousands of dollars and end up staying in the same place (or even going backwards).
Done very wrong and you can bankrupt your business or completely tarnish your brand and reputation.
And for most business owners I would say they usually fall somewhere in between the done right and done wrong area.
Doing some things right and other things wrong.
In fact, in many instances, I would argue that what businesses think they are doing right they are actually doing wrong.
Like what you ask?
Well, let’s take a look at some examples.
Now some of these examples may seem like an exaggeration and maybe they are some extreme examples.
But I have seen all of them in play one time or another.
Perhaps you have seen (or even used) some of these yourself:
“Limited spots available” (for an online course…)
“Limited seats available” (for an online summit…)
“Tickets almost sold out!” (for an online event…)
“LIVE webinar” (that’s clearly not…)
Or worst of all…
“Limited copies available” (for an ebook…)
Yep, I’ve no joke encountered that one before.
Look I get what people are trying to do here.
There is nothing wrong with creating a little scarcity.
And certainly, these tactics may have worked in the past, and still do for some products and services. I.e. There really could be limited numbers of a product available, like a supplement or limited spots available for something like a workshop or event that was happening in person.
However, when it comes to online or digital products this type of marketing just doesn’t make sense.
In fact, it actually hurts your business because people lose trust for you.
They can feel you’re being inauthentic.
Now, of course, there are the obvious bad tactics like the example of the ‘limited Ebook copies available’.
Luckily there aren’t too many people using this one on people.
But I have still seen it.
I mean, do they really expect people to believe that you only have a limited number of Ebooks remaining? Please, it’s a digital product. There is no way they’re going to run out!
Unless of course, the internet shuts down.
But then there are the more subtle tactics that seem like a good idea, but aren’t.
Like the “limited spots available” for an online course…
While this may work for an in-person event or course. It just doesn’t work for an online course.
Because unless your course is a live zoom call and you have a limited bandwidth of how many people you can handle on the call or want to work with only a handful of people at a time.
Then this ‘tactic’ just doesn’t make any sense.
People are joining an online course made up of pre-recorded content, not a live workshop or university course.
And then there is the “LIVE Webinars”.
You know the ones.
The ones where people claim that they have a “LIVE webinar”, yet you can choose any time under the sun that suits you, even in your own time zone, and the webinar host will be magically available for you.
It’s even worse when the actual webinar video is trying to pretend that it is live, asking and answering questions that no one is actually asking or pretending to allow for questions yet not opening the chat feature.
And the sad thing is that some very big-name companies and businesses are still using these very tactics.
Don’t get me wrong I am not saying there is anything wrong with running pre-recorded webinars.
I think it’s a viable way of doing webinars, and a great way to deliver initial value to people and offer your product or service.
But if you’re going to be using a pre-recorded webinar, don’t pretend it’s a “LIVE Webinar”, tell the truth.
Let people know that it is a pre-recorded webinar.
And then use other strategies (which ill share later in the article) to help drive up enrolments.
There are so many better ways to market your product and service without being inauthentic or lying to people.
In fact, when you use these poor tactics it not only loses people’s trust for you but it hurts your brand.
The time for salesy, gimmicky and pushy marketing is over.
People are smarter these days. They know when they’re being had.
They’re less trusting than ever before.
And can you really blame people?
I mean just look at how many advertisements are thrown in our faces these days. It’s estimated that the average person now sees between 4000 to 10,000 advertisements every single day.
So what is the answer to standing out in a world drowning in advertising?
I believe that it comes down to two things:
Authenticity (being unique, truthful and real)
Value (providing a product, service or information that truly helps people)
When you combine these two things you stand out from millions of other businesses out there and people can’t help but be attracted to you because they come down to foundational human morals and needs.
Ok now some of you might be thinking (especially other marketers) well this all sounds great.
But these tactics work, it’s what advertising and marketers have been doing for a very long time.
Yes, this may be true. But just because something worked in the past doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do now.
Times are changing, and the hypey, pushy and spammy form of marketing that relies on questionable tactics and half-truths (or flat out lies) in order to rope people into buying something. Largely born from the ‘Mad Men’ era of the 50’s and 60’s.
No longer works.
What is required now is connection, honesty and authenticity.
I think this passage from Seth Godin's book This is Marketing, sums up ‘Modern Marketing’, as Seth Calls it. Better than I ever could.
“Marketing is the generous act of helping others become who they seek to become.
It involves creating honest stories, stories that resonate and spread.
Marketers offer solutions, opportunities for humans to solve their problems and move forward.
And when our ideas spread, we change the culture. We build something that people would miss if it were gone. Something that gives them meaning, connection and possibility”
- Seth Godin, This is Marketing.
In short, modern marketing is about contributing to the world, not taking from it.
Now you may be sitting there reading this and thinking, ok well I agree with what you’re saying.
But what about scarcity? Isn’t it good to create some scarcity? Isn’t scarcity what makes people take action?
Yes, scarcity is a great way to make people take action.
And if you can use scarcity to help someone take action on something that will genuinely help them, but they wouldn’t otherwise have take action on.
Then that is actually an act of service.
But you see, there is a big difference between true scarcity and fake scarcity.
Fake scarcity is when you make up that you only have a limited number or availability of something when you really don’t.
Whereas true scarcity is where you set up real parameters to create some form of scarcity.
For example, you could make an online course available only a few times per year (which many people do to great success) or if you wanted to keep it up forever you could offer a discount on the course which you only offer a few times per year, thus creating an incentive to buy it.
You could also offer bonuses that are only available for its initial opening that could last a week to a month and after that, the bonuses are never available again. This would dramatically incentivise people to purchase it on release.
But scarcity isn’t the only way to do things, here are some other simple ways that you can get people to take action without being hypey or inauthentic.
Authentic Marketing ‘Tactics’:
Increase The Value of Your Offer By value Stacking:
Source: Created by me In Canva.
This means making your offer more valuable by adding bonuses that make it more appealing.
Now, this doesn’t mean hyping up your offer with outlandish exaggerations or just adding things for the heck of it.
For example, let’s say you’re selling a health product, like a video series that helps people improve their sleep.
You wouldn’t want to be adding a ‘Bonus’ Guide to Growing Tomatoes. It has absolutely no relevance to helping improve people’s sleep.
Instead, you want to add things that truly bring more value to your client or customer by helping them achieve their desired results better and faster.
It’s about making your bonuses so helpful and valuable that it would almost be a loss not to buy it.
For example, you could add bonuses like these:
- The ‘Sleep Like a Baby’ Companion Guide. The Ultimate Guide to Complete Sleep Optimization PDF
- The ‘Sleep Like a Baby’ Quick Reference PDF
- Ultimate Guide to Natural Sleep Supplements to Optimize Your Sleep PDF
- The 3 Most Common Sleep Issues and How to Fix them PDF
- Your Sleep Chronotype. And How to Optimize for It PDF
- The Sleep Tracker Diary Workbook
- Access to the ‘Sleep Like a Baby’ Facebook Community
- FREE Sleep Mask
Notice what all these bonuses do? Yep, they help people achieve their desired results better and faster.
And here’s a little secret to bonuses.
You know you have good bonuses if people begin telling you that they bought your program just so they could have one of the bonuses.
Source: Created by me In Canva.
As Seth Goddin has said:
“Stories (not ideas, not features, not benefits) are what spread from person to person.”
We all love stories, they engage us, they hold our attention and they connect us.
And stories are one of the best possible ways to grow a brand, business or product.
When you explain the story behind your product or service and do it genuinely.
By explaining why you started, how you started, the excitements, the struggles, the failures and the setbacks you went through, people feel that.
And they will begin to trust you.
And in a world where trust is now so low. You will stand out.
Speak Directly to Your Clients, Wants, Needs and Desires:
Source: Created by me In Canva.
This is copywriting 101 but something that so many people and businesses overlook.
They try to push features and benefits or use “marketing tactics” to get their clients in the door.
But the truth is if you take the time to truly understand your client or customer. What they truly need, what their problems are, what their dreams are and then build your copy (and product) around that.
Then people can’t help but want to do business with you, because in the end people don’t buy because they understand (your features and benefits) but because they feel understood.
Let me say that one more time so that it fully sinks in, because once you understand this it will dramatically improve your business.
“People don’t buy because they understand, they buy because they feel understood.”
Focus on helping people, not just ‘making sales’.
The old days of using pushy, gimmicky and even manipulative tactics are gone.
If you’re running a business or brand, it should no longer be about using as many “tactics” as you possibly can, rubbing your hands together like Mr. Burns saying “excellent” and smiling as your customers unwittingly succumb to your brilliant marketing tactics.
Sure it might get people in the door, but it certainly doesn’t keep them. Especially if your product doesn’t live up to its promises.
As Seth Goddin has said:
“You can’t fool all the people, not even most of the time. And people, once unfooled, talk about the experience.”
Instead of focusing on trying to ‘fool’ or push people into purchasing your product.
Focus on helping and serving them.
Focus on making a difference in their lives.
Focus on truly addressing their needs and wants.
Focus on being authentic.
Focus on making your product radically helpful.
See each sale as another life to impact. Not just another conversion.
Make your product an investment. Not an expense.
That’s how to truly do marketing and that’s how you truly grow a business.
Because in the end, true marketing is about making an impact by getting a product or service, in as many people’s hands as possible. Not just so you can make more money or gain more followers.
But so that you can make people’s lives and the world a better place.
That’s real marketing.
I write about topics surrounding health, personal development, business and life. - Writer and Copywriter. https://medium.com/@isaacblencowe