Two weeks ago, I had a chat with an old client who I am still friendly with. We stay in touch, and I’m honest with him about his marketing. He was telling me about a man he’d recently met who offered search engine optimisation (SEO) to get him on the first page of Google for lots of different phrases, some of which were geographical. This guy [seemingly] had credible case studies to back up his claims, so, from my friends perspective, the service was attractive.
I questioned and questioned to the point where I began to doubt myself. Perhaps this person knows something I don’t.
Then, yesterday, via a LinkedIn post that caught my attention from what seemed like a very successful young man standing next to his new sports car, I followed through to his digital marketing agency website that talked about not competing but dominating.
With sites like this, I start reading the content and looking at the site’s code to see how serious a player they really are. Maybe these people are young and eager, and perhaps I am the old has-been, but I find it so frustrating because, from my perspective, these sales propositions are ultimately castles built on sand.
If you’ve ever tried selling something to someone, you know you need belief in your product and what it can do. Not just you, you also need the other person to believe, which means having a story that aligns with theirs.
With marketing, the problem is, that although there are many stories floating around, there’s also a lot of Jackanory in play. This makes it incredibly hard for any buyer to tell truth from fiction and compare products like-for-like based on potential value.
This especially becomes a problem if you are the competitor in the mix trying to win business, saying you will promise a lot less than the other guy, but cost five times as much.
Or does it?
Belief is a beauty thing
Belief (handing over hard cold cash for your service) is all about trust and value.
It’s why certain tradespeople in your town are always busy. They’ve built trust over time and word has spread. As long as they can be found when needed, all the marketing takes place with the service delivery. As businesses, we sometimes do not have the same patience when it comes to building a client base. We want more, and we want it now. The age of instant gratification.
This is why I keep coming back to Authenticity. Easy to do if you are a one-man band, just be yourself; less easy to do if you are an organisation; even harder to do if you are an organisation that has not defined what your brand is, what it stands for and who it works best for.
So, with summer out of the way, why not take a breath and define ‘who’ your business actually is. Write a dating profile. Share it with the team. Help them understand who they need to be when talking as part of the business.
Then, if you ever find yourself competing against people who promise twice as much for half the price, you’ll know if you are fighting in the wrong arena.