Last month we talked about positioning your brand. This month, we’re talking about the importance of Honesty and Sincerity when marketing your business.Take a look at your local newspaper and you’ll find example after example of poorly written and blatant self-promotion. If you’re having trouble finding an example, just look at the car dealers ads. Now, that same method of advertising is trickling onto the Internet in the form of “discussions” on the internet. You may have seen examples on Facebook or message boards you may go on. They’re posts or replies that are only minutely related to the topic but serve more as a promotion for their business.
Commenting Spam is NOT Advertising
You’ll see articles written that say one way to get your company noticed is to comment on blogs or articles for the sole purpose of adding your expertise and at the same time promote your business. If it’s something valuable that your adding to the conversation then that is one thing. But, more often then not, I’m seeing example after example of people just adding their business info as the comment. Some will try vainly to add something vaguely related. The worst examples are comments filled with sales pitches.
If you are going to do this, please remember to keep your comment on topic. Otherwise, you will only make your business look bad. Online, your reputation is everything.
Everybody is on Facebook. There are more people on Facebook then there are people in the United States. That makes for one very big marketing opportunity. All that possibility can be very tempting to do bad things. Using your profile page as nothing but as a place to pitch your business is not a good idea. People get on Facebook the network with friends, not see you post once a day about how your business is so cool. That’s what Facebook Pages are for. Also, they did not sign up so you can comment on their page pitching your business. Again, if they want to see your pitches or find out about your business they can subscribe to your Facebook Page. If the majority of updates to your profile page is pitching your business it will be a turn off. People want to be your friend, not a friend to your business. If they want to be a friend to your business they will subscribe to your page.
Testimonials are awesome. People love to receive them and better yet share them! One questions you have to ask yourself is, how many of them are real. People want to believe that the testimonials they see on your site are real. Some scream fake but still you want to believe. Do you ever wonder if there really is a July S from Spokane who really loves that widget from BigCo Industries? Yeah, me too.
Some people get their friends and family to provide quotes and that’s how they rationalize to themselves that their testimonials are real. Trust me, they aren’t. How do I do it you ask? If a client provides a testimonial and it’s for a website that I developed then I link back to the website. And I always get permission to use full names and businesses so that they are easily located and found.
This is tied closely with Testimonials. It’s tempting to have fake reviews for products you produce in order to get some positive reviews on sites like Amazon. Trust me, though, in the end it is hurting yourself. If your product really isn’t that good, real reviews will start cropping up that question the legitimacy of the other reviews – especially if the fake reviews are stellar in their praise. It’s better for you in the long run to have real reviews so you can improve your product and earn those high marks. Don’t think it can happen? There are many examples on Amazon if you look – especially in the book sections.
In the end, it really is like your mom taught you. Honesty is the Best Policy. Your business will be better for it. People want to do business with ethical companies who are Honest and Sincere. If you have to fake it, people will sense it. Your business is like your child. You want him or her to grow up to be a fine upstanding citizen. Don’t teach it the wrong set of values.