I just finished reading a great article on GetEntrepreneurial.com written by Terri Zwierynski about marketing yourself honestly. She asserts that putting lipstick on a pig doesn’t necessarily help as much as honesty and self-disclosure, and I must surely agree.
When I started eGrace Creative, I used the word “we” a lot, as in, “we” offer web design services. Now, I offer my services. I’m also honest with people that web design and marketing aren’t the real priorities of my life. My faith, family, and ministry come before any creative design work. I think this is an important marketing principle. You can probably generate more sales by being a little dishonest in an attempt to build credibility. But in the end, you actually hurt your integrity with others. I think this is why some of the world’s greatest salespeople aren’t very well-liked – they are too good at being salespeople and not really that great at just being people.
As you develop the marketing of your business, you also have to consider that every business has a human side. Your personality will drive your business, especially if you are the owner or manager – people will follow you and fit the mold you cast, so it’s important to work on being the best you that you can possibly be. After all, God only made one of you!
Our church is located on a major highway in Bentonville, Arkansas, the home of Wal-Mart. About 250 people attend a couple of services in a building that seats less than 200. Imagine if we had a tiny little 2′ x 3′ church sign on cardboard, or imagine if we had a Vegas-style blinking billboard. Instead, we have a church sign that proportionally matches our congregation. Why? We want to be honest and let people know when they turn in what kind of church they are attending.
When you over-market yourself, you’ll disappoint people. On the other hand, if you lay the false humility on too thick, you won’t inspire confidence in clients. So be yourself, but be positive. Think bigger, but be realistic and let people see the human behind the business.