One of my clients, George, asked me whether his marketing is “professional enough.” He was worried that his text was “too personal” and didn’t make his company look like a large company.
George is a very funny, likable, insightful person. His email newsletter is extraordinarily humorous and real. He’s always telling stories about himself and his nutty family in his articles, then relates those stories to the point of the article. George exposes who he really is to his customers and prospects, and they love him for it.
People are so numb to all the marketing that’s coming to them. Let’s face it, we ignore a lot of email and offers that come our way. When I asked George what his open rate was on this email newsletter (“open rate” means the number of people who actually open his email as a percentage of the total number he sent), he said his open rate was 75%!! Wow!!! In this day and age when 20% open rate is considered industry average, 75% blows me away.
You really want to form a personal connection with your customers and prospects. It’s crucially important for you to be you, whether you’re crazy or serious, spiritual or pragmatic. Let people know who you are and what you’re all about. Don’t try to hide behind a corporate exterior. Professional, yes, but not distant, remote or unapproachable. If there is more than one person in your business, it’s okay to say “we,” but don’t say “we” if it’s only you. (Why hide that you’re a one-person business? It’s a tremendous asset to be a one-person business!)
I’m so tired of faceless companies and I bet you are, too.
I’m not saying that you should expose all your personal problems and foibles which might detract from your message, but exposing your personality really helps to build relationships. It’s a little scary to let people know who you really are, but it’s also honest and full of integrity.
Me? I’m a lot of things, some of which you already know, and some that might be a surprise:
- I love being self-employed. I’m an evangelist about it. I could talk all day about business ownership. (Thank goodness I have people in my life who reel me back to reality!)
- I adore being in nature and hate crowded, polluted places. We’ve hiked all over the place, from Cornwall, England to Yosemite National Park, and will continue to enjoy nature until the last breath leaves our bodies. :).
- We bought a house in the country so that we could be in nature always. It’s heaven. Okay, the deer eating my flowers isn’t heaven, but the rest of it is.
- I have a distinctive laugh that people seem to enjoy. Which is cool, because I love to laugh! My sister and I have the exact same laugh, and when we get together the energy escalates through the roof. My Grandma had the same laugh. I once had a prospect who said she wouldn’t work with me because she said my laugh was phony. Good riddance! Who needs to work with someone who judges you in that way?
- My family is loving, warm, supportive, and totally insane. I couldn’t live without them.
- My spirituality is simple: I believe we all are here for a reason, we all have gifts to give, and it’s our responsibility as humans (and souls) to give these gifts to the world.
- I get angry at people who are being mean to others. Or are lying to others.
- I love to share what I know, and when I learn something new, I love to tell others about it. This is sometimes annoying to my family who really don’t care about business plans or internet marketing. Spoilsports.
What about you? Who are you and what’s unique about you? What are you going to share with your customers?
So go ahead, be YOU!
I just LOVE this article Karyn. I just wrote an article on my blog a few years ago entitled Be Yourself and it starts: “If you can’t be yourself, who can you be? Or better yet, who are you trying to be? Being true to yourself is all about being authentic and in integrity.”
To me, when I buy products and services from solo or small businesses, WHO the people I am dealing with is the #1 deciding factor in my purchase. If what they are saying “sounds” great, but they are not authentic & don’t resonate with me, I move on. How’s that for a good reason to be authentic in your marketing?
Always be a first-rate version of yourself; instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.
– Judy Garland
I loved the Judy Garland quote, Paula. There’s a reason why “there’s only one YOU” put on Earth — so that we’ll each be ourselves instead of mimicing others.
This rings so true to me Karyn, thank you for sharing these insights.
One of my biggest goals and accomplishments last year was to be able to write from the heart.
I had worked in a corporate environment that was devoid of emotion and personalization for so long that it took me a while to match up who I am – my personality, passion and style — with what I was sharing on my blog and my website.
And for someone who has dedicated their work to helping others define who they are and express it, I realized how important it is to model this behavior.
I think the key thing to remember is that when you share your thoughts and stories about what you truly believe in your work, people who believe what you believe will be drawn to you and they are not drawn to exactly to what you say but how you make them feel! Woohoo!
So Karyn, thank you for sharing your passion for business, it brings it out in the rest of us!
That’s a great way of looking at it, Lisa. When we are truly ourselves we attract just the right kind of people and opportunities into our personal/business lives.
The timing for this article could not be more perfect for me personally.
These last two years I have been questioning who I am “in” business.
One year, I decided to have a new theme for myself “MY Journey MY way” feels a littlscaryey and very exciting.
Thank you always for your wonderful information you share.
I love the Judy Garland quote too. Going to print it out and post in front of me for a loving reminder that I am perfect just the way I am. 🙂
Happy New Year
Wow, Corinne, I *love* the “My Journey, My Way” idea! Good for you! When we try to be something that’s not true for us, we suffer. When we release that need and just be ourselves, we rediscover the joy in our businesses. Oh…and income increases, too…an added benefit. 🙂
Beautiful insight. Thank you very much. I can relate to George’s story. I was afraid to look too casual, thinking that casualty might be defined as ‘unprofessional’ for some.
As for what I love…
I enjoy sharing stories on my new blog about writing tips and my writing experiences. My posts are actually about common writing topics I believe other bloggers have written. But visitors seem to like them as I get new likes and followers each time I posted something. As I don’t think I’m not quite a pro-blogger, I think I’m blessed or lucky.
Inspirational!! Thanks for sharing this!
Self-Employment has many benefits which include flexible time of working, an authority of handling your business with proper direction and work as per your convenience, comfort and your interest.