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Honesty is always the best policy. We’ve all heard this age-old proverb. But does this rule apply when it comes to startup marketing? Of course, it does!
Charles Koch, author of the New York bestseller Good Profit, emphasized the importance of honesty for business professionals. He wrote:
“The role of business is to provide products and services that make people's lives better – while using fewer resources – and to act lawfully and with integrity.”
As a startup owner, you definitely want to win customers without resorting to false advertising.
Remember how angry you get when advertisements fail to meet expectations? Like when highly-hyped “giant” burgers actually are much smaller compared with the ads. Or when a supposed “durable” smartphone doesn’t even last a year.
It can be greatly disappointing, right?
That’s why honesty should be a priority in your startup marketing efforts. When you are true and transparent, you will gain people’s trust. You’ll also show them that your brand values integrity.
As Jonathan Laberge wrote for Forbes, honesty in marketing will “most likely create recurring sales” when customers are satisfied.
So, how can entrepreneurs implement honesty in their startup marketing efforts? Here are some pointers.
Your target market will understand your brand better when you set clear expectations with them.
While it’s okay to highlight your strengths, make sure you aren’t deceiving people just to make a sale. That can immediately backfire.
“Don't go over the top with lies or vague promises,” warned Laberge. “You'll lose in the long run.”
It’s important for startup companies to establish their identity. It adds to their authenticity and helps boost their reputation among potential customers.
Telling your story helps you avoid becoming a faceless entity. Talk about the accomplishments and struggles you’ve encountered along the way. You may also want to post behind-the-scenes photos on social media. For example, show you and your employees in an office setting.
According to Ekaterina Walter, storytelling can be an effective way to “humanize” a business. She further added:
“Nowadays to stand out as a brand you either have to offer an unparalleled customer experience or become a really engaging storyteller. Or both.”
Got some positive feedback from your customers? You might want to share that online!
Of course, the reason is pretty obvious. Prospective customers need to hear from those who are satisfied with your product or service.
Startup marketing is not limited to what you do. It can also include what others say about your business. And, no surprise, most people will believe other customers' honest reviews over your sales pitch.
Wind In Your Sails author David J. Greer summed it up this way:
“A customer talking about their experience with you is worth ten times that which you write or say about yourself.”
So with your customer’s permission, create a graphic or a short video. Then post it on your social media channels. Use their pictures, if possible. If you can involve happy customers in your marketing campaigns, it’s promotional gold.
You and your team members should be on the same page if you’re hoping to establish an honest work culture. It’s important to provide training and to instruct them often. Besides, you can’t expect them to reflect your company values if they don’t understand them. So, take time to explain your company credo and what you require from them. They represent your business, so they need to be your best brand ambassadors.
Your startup marketing strategies will be rendered ineffective if you don’t have a strong customer support system.
Be polite, truthful and direct when replying to customer inquiries. Respond to their concerns and address any issues they report with your product or service. Apologize when necessary and assure them you’ll do better next time. Invite them to continue supporting your brand and give them incentives to do so.
With these basic practices, you’ll be able to meet and exceed customer expectations. At the same time, you’ll achieve your business goals faster.
Your brand will attract the right buyers without resorting to unethical marketing tactics. You’ll soon earn a name for integrity. This will lead to better prospects not only with customers and vendors but also potential partners and investors.
Best of luck with your startup marketing endeavors!
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