Authenticity in marketing may sound like an oxymoron, but it is important to consider the true connection you’re making with your potential customers. In a world of intrusive advertising and online content that seems to always have some ulterior sales motive, potential customers are more skeptical than ever. According to Hubspot’s 2016 State of Inbound Report the popularity of ad blockers is on the rise, and seekers of products and services crave reliable sources of content.
Being authentic means being real.
It follows that in all of your marketing materials, whether on or offline, in or outbound, you must be real about your services, products, experience, success and know-how. When a person genuinely needs what you provide, your job is to genuinely connect with them to inform them about what you can do. That’s authenticity in marketing. It shouldn’t be hard as long as the focus remains on honestly providing value.
Conveying Authenticity Through Content Marketing
The messages you convey about your business have to be humble and authentic. The ways in which you distribute those messages have to welcome engagement, but not beg for it. As any keen inbound marketer will attest, providing value is the best way to gain leads, but connecting with your audience cannot be an interruption. This may sound a little scary, but remember, your customer has a problem. If you can genuinely solve it, there’s nothing wrong with sharing information that can help that customer toward solutions. In fact, they’ll thank you for it. The key is to create a content marketing strategy that connects the dots, with a genuine tone that does not make that potential client feel sold-to.
Generating Authentic Leads
Customers pre-qualify themselves as authentic leads by engaging with your content, and your company pre-qualifies its products or services as an authentic solution to your customers’ problem(s) by showing the proof. 65% of marketers surveyed in Hubspot’s State of Inbound Report listed “generating traffic and leads” as their number one concern for 2016, while 43% said “proving the ROI of our marketing activities.” Inbound marketing from an authentic place of connection and problem solving can help to achieve both.
Authentic Visual Content
The key to it all is creating relevant, visually appealing content. Visual content is becoming more and more important, especially long-form video content. This is because people want to see it and believe it. They crave that authentic connection. 48% of those surveyed said they are planning to add YouTube video as a new content distribution channel in the next 12 months; 39% said the same of Facebook video, and 33% about Instagram.
Content is king, and authenticity its queen.
[I’ve clearly been watching too much Reign on Netflix].