As a small business owner, there are a multitude of things you need to do to accomplish your long-term goals, increase revenue, and expand your customer base. But with the increasing competition in the small business world, it becomes even more important than ever to connect with your core customers and build lasting relationships with clients.
Authenticity is a key element in creating stable relationships with customers. People don’t want to work with small businesses that are overly-formal or lack any authenticity. Instead, they want to know that they are working with a real, relatable, and transparent small business. By being authentic and delivering on those important promises, you can set the tone towards building genuine connections with customers.
To begin, let’s talk about what authenticity means in the context of marketing. An authentic business is one that has strong core values and a company mission that is the priority of all employees. It is grounded in the understanding that the customer comes first, and promises are meant to be followed. An authentic business also has genuine connections with customers, making it easy to follow-up and get answers to questions.
In a world of increasing technology and automation, customers want to know that the businesses they interact with prioritize them and have real people working. The more authentic you are in your branding, the easier it is to build that trust and create long-lasting relationships for future growth. It also helps you stand by your claims and have a consistent story that resonates with clients.
Bringing Authenticity to Your Marketing
There are many tips that can be used to bring authentic marketing to your clients and customers. Here are a few authentic marketing tactics for small businesses that can really help you jump start your marketing efforts.
Know Your Brand
The first step of authentic marketing is to know your brand inside and out. You need to identify your brand identity. What makes you special and unique from other competitors in your area? What about your brand should customers be aware of? You should also create core brand values that are instrumental to your long-term goals and the benefits you provide to customers.
After identifying your brand, you need to align your brand values with your marketing efforts. Make sure that all your marketing activities are tied back to your brand values. All marketing should communicate a consistent brand message that highlights your identity and provides value to your audience.
Connect with Your Audience
It’s also important to ensure that your message is getting to the right people. Not everyone in your local community is going to be a fit for your business, and you don’t want to waste marketing dollars talking to the wrong people. By being strategic in your approach and clearly identifying who your ideal customer is, you can narrow down your audience and only work with the people who make up your customer base.
By tailoring your marketing strategies to the interests, needs, and problems of your customer base, you can create more authentic marketing messages. You are also able to narrow down the type of content you should create that speaks to your customers and identifies with their situation while offering solutions on how you can help.
Humanize Your Brand
People are drawn to working with other people. While automation and technology tools are great, most people don’t want to work with a small business robot. By adding personality to your brand, you can create a more human identity and let your customers know that you are a real person behind the website and advertisements.
One of the easiest ways to humanize your brand is to share behind-the-scenes stories. Photos and videos of your workspace, your jobs, and your staff can help create human connections between your brand and your customers. By using storytelling to build a personal connection with your customers throughout the customer journey, you build stronger relationships and more authentic connections.
The next step in creating an authentic small business brand is to be transparent. Transparency plays a major role in authenticity. The more transparent and honest you are, the more people are willing to listen to and trust your brand. Be honest about your services and products, the business practices you use, what the customer experience will be like, what your pricing is, and other aspects of your brand. Being transparent allows customers to trust you, which is key to building those important relationships with your audience.
Storytelling for Authenticity
As mentioned earlier, storytelling is a big part of building a relatable brand. Storytelling has a rich history that compels people to learn more and become invested in an entity. If you can craft compelling narratives for your brand, people will want to stick around for the ending. Share stories that reflect your brand’s values and mission and resonate with customers.
Build Trust Through Consistency
Another great tactic to build authenticity is to focus on consistency. The more consistent you are, the easier it is to create a recognizable brand identity. Make sure your branding, like logos, taglines, messages, and visuals, are the same across all channels. You also need to ensure that you deliver on promises and commitments to build consistency in your daily results.
All businesses make mistakes. Sometimes it’s as small as forgetting a part of a service, and sometimes it could be as bad as overcharging on a bill. No matter what mistakes you make, the way you handle them is what impacts your authenticity with customers. Never go on the offensive. Instead, take a professional approach to addressing mistakes and errors.
Acknowledge mistakes when you make them, and use them as learning opportunities. Be honest about what went wrong and where you made mistakes, along with your plans for doing better. Demonstrate accountability and transparency in the face of challenges, and be sincere in the way you address them with customers.
Encourage Customer Engagement
Creating an authentic brand doesn’t just come from you. It also comes from the interactions you have with your customers. In fact, the more engaged your customers are, the more authentic your brand will appear to new customers or potential leads learning about your business.
Foster two-way communication with your customers and your community. Respond authentically to customer feedback and really listen to what is being said. By applying that feedback, you show your customers that they also have a voice in your brand identity. That helps build trust with your core audience.
Build Authenticity with Surefire Local
If one of your big marketing goals is to set yourself apart from the competition in the new year, then being authentic is the best way to do it. Authenticity in your marketing allows you to be honest, be yourself, and share your story. The more authentic you are, the more your message will resonate with the people who make up your core customer base.
In order to get the most out of your authentic marketing efforts, it’s important to localize your online presence. By being relevant to your local audiences and not overextending your reach, you can add to your authenticity as a small business. At Surefire Local, we help small businesses with localized online marketing. We’re all about helping small businesses establish their online presence by creating local signals across platforms and profiles that make it easier for new customers to find them. Surefire Local is the all-in-one marketing platform for local businesses. Some of the features of Surefire Local include:
- Website & Local SEO Optimizations: Create geo-tagging content that is extremely localized and published on your website, blog, and social media profiles.
- Online Review Management: Use Surefire Local to send review requests, write responses to reviews, and analyze your brand sentiment to learn what customers really think about your business.
- Directories Management: Claim, edit, and publish new content like photos or a special offer for your business across 80+ online directory listings and platforms.
- Content Marketing: Use Surefire Local’s tools to create locally targeted and relevant content on your blog, Google Business Profile, business directories, and social media profiles.
- Social Media Management: Find advanced tools for scheduling posts, tracking engagement metrics, and responding to comments.
- Local Online Advertising: Create ads designed to attract only the attention of customers within your service area.
- Analytics and Reporting: Gain transparency into campaign performance and how much revenue your marketing dollars are generating, with AI-generated recommendations on specific actions you can take to see improvements.
- Educational Resources: View webinars and blogs designed to help small businesses learn all things local online marketing.
Are you interested in increasing your small business authenticity? Want to learn more about the Surefire Local platform and how it can help get all the benefits of authentic local marketing? Attend a Surefire Local demo to discover all the features of the tool and how it can apply to your small business.