Okay, I know authenticity is a controversial word in the entrepreneurial world. Some people absolutely hate it, while others talk about it incessantly. But it's actually one of the most important parts of a business, so let's break it down and talk about why.
1. Customer Experience
The #1 thing in your business is the relationship you have with your clients. You want to optimize the client experience, you want to make your customers feel valued, and you want to provide them with value in turn. So if you break this down, really we're saying you want your customers to feel like you understand and want to take care of them. Being authentic truly just means genuinely caring about your customers (and making sure they feel this is true). So whether that entails offering a guarantee or return system that looks out for the customer (think ASOS including a return shipping label in all their packages), or streamlining the purchasing process (including a way to save your credit card info), the idea is to really figure out how to show your clients you get it.
In my business, one way I try to help my clients feel understood is by anticipating their needs, struggles, and interests in an onboarding gift. I include a handful of items that will be both useful in our working relationship, and inspirational for their journey forward.
I am fully aware that in order to have a successful relationship with any of my clients, they need to trust that I have their best interests in mind (and that I know what I'm doing!). Talking about my personal values, sharing my expertise on my blog or on social media, and attending as many networking events as I can allows me to share my mindset and myself in a way that's trustworthy to my clients. If I'm genuine in the way I talk on my blog, it'll match the way I operate in person, and potential clients will feel as if they already know me. Adding salesy language to my messaging, or reaching out to build relationships that only benefit me, or getting a little too thirsty for opportunities in networking groups all give off the appearance that I'm not being genuine in my intentions or my interactions.
I tell my clients this all the time: Potential customers may seek you out because they like your product, but they'll become repeat customers because they like you. It is so much easier to get a current client to repurchase than it is to seek out a brand new customer, so you want to keep your interactions consistent and transparent. I always lay out clear expectations for my clients where I can (this is how our meetings will look, this is what will occur in each meeting, this is how long it will take for me to respond to communications, etc.). I also regularly check in with my clients to see if I'm meeting their expectations, asking questions to personalize the experience for their personality and their needs.
This also translates into the way you communicate with your clients on social media, in marketing materials, and through your email list. If you're going to be blogging, post in the same voice on the same day with similar graphics consistently. If you're going to be on social media, make sure your messaging is personal and consistent. Showing who you are and your interests also bring in new users and visitors -- I've even gotten a client because I posted I use a particular emoji often on my Instagram! We realized we had a lot of things in common, and it began a great relationship for both of us.
Really, the focus on authenticity simply means this: Be you. Don't add language to your website because you see it on a competitor's. Add personal touches to your marketing and your website. Showcase what you do, why you do it, and what makes you unique. As long as your values, personality, and voice come through, you're nailing be authentic in your business.
Share any additional thoughts on being authentic in the comments, or join the party on Instagram for updates and more information: https://www.instagram.com/katrina.widener/
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