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Don't Sell Yourself

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ So, you’re starting a business. Let’s say, for example, you sell cleaning products. Wonderful. Who doesn’t like a clean house? Everyone does, that’s why people buy cleaning products. Otherwise, Mr. Clean would have long since run out of business.

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ On the contrary, the brand is a household name and their products are in almost every single U.S. home. Mr. Clean has accomplished nationwide recognition, all without sending door to door salesmen to your house. Thank God for that, too. Imagine if someone knocked on your door and tried to sell you cleaning products. I’d probably call the cops. I don’t even like when my friends knock on my door.

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Salesmanship is intrusive and cringy. It feels fake and people have a knee jerk reaction to disingenuity. Anytime someone tries to give a sales pitch, people immediately stop listening. When was the last time you had an engaging and emotional conversation with a telemarketer? Never, because you instinctively hang up. Poor folks must have pitiful self-esteem. Hopefully they can afford the therapy they desperately need.

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Point being, people buy Mr. Clean products not because some sleazy salesman is pushing their products. Instead, people buy them because they have a subconscious mental branding of some brawny bald dude (Mr. Clean) scrubbing their house squeaky clean.

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Fortunately, an ambiguously creepy bald man doesn’t come with the purchase of a Magic Eraser. Although that may make cleaning easier, “the magic” sort of wears off once the place is clean and now a strange bald man wants me to make him dinner. I’ve had enough strange bald men in my life, looking at you Greg.

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Okay, that was a long enough tangent about bald men. Forget Mr. Clean. The point is that any successful marketing strategy shouldn’t begin by selling a product. Otherwise, the campaign will inherently feel inauthentic. In fact, don’t think of your marketing in terms of campaigning. Instead, the idea is to establish an identity and to build upon that identity by forging a relationship within your community.

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Marketing and advertising are about connecting to an audience.

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Today, connecting with an interactive audience is easier than ever before. More important than an advertisement campaign pushing your agenda, is an organic rapport within your business’ community. Luckily, times have changed. Instagram has created an engaging online atmosphere to effectively craft an identity to build your business upon. Small businesses are now equipped with the same outreach capability that was once reserved for larger, more profitable corporations.

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Creating a platform for your business presence on social media is essential for any current, growing, and relevant business. Companies can now present who they are within their communities, and it doesn’t have to feel like a sales pitch. And now that social media has fully integrated into our everyday lives, business models must evolve alongside this trend.

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Authenticity and transparency must become focal points of the business world.

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ As corny as this might sound, our Instagram and Twitter feeds have become as much a part of us as anything else. Just as we don’t want our lives cluttered, similarly, we don’t want our feeds cluttered. Online advertisements are kind of like a game of minesweeper, nobody wins, but we avoid the ad mines at all cost. People only want to see real content.

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Creating relevant content that people want to see brings an interactive community to build relationships with, and ultimately attracts loyal customers. This concept of organic traffic brings in passive, long term customers. Customers feel empowered by making their own consumer decisions rather than violated by intrusive ads. Think of it like consumer inception.

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Establishing an identity or brand around your business allows for your customer basis to feel more comfortable and willing to become return customers. Social media now allows any business to market themselves and open honest dialogue with their customers and community. So, get out there and start branding yourself. Just make sure that your brand isn’t centered around a bald man that cleans the house. Someone has already cornered that market.