Ethical Marketing Part 2: Showing Up for Your Audience
Managing a business requires a careful balance between selling enough to create revenue and using the creative entrepreneurial energy to impact your community positively. It can feel like an either-or, but you can leverage helpful and supportive content to grow your business with ethical marketing. In part one, we covered Generosity. Today we are going into step 2: showing up for your audience.
What does this mean? It considers that there is a relationship between you and the customer. So often, businesses think of the relationship as a one-way street. We already talked about how to deliver content that adds value to people’s lives. Step 2 is about follow-through and nurturing the relationship.
Let me give you an example. Say your business is real estate. You drew some great tenants with engaging content about your target neighborhood and creating gorgeous homes. The tenant moves in, all is well, but then they have a leaky pipe, and you don’t follow up for a day or two. Then a while later, they tell you about a broken mailbox, and you never quite get around to fixing it. Then they mention a smoker in the building, but oh well…
Imagine if you were the tenant! So often, once people are in the door, the businesses make them feel that they no longer care. Marketing does not stop at the sale; it’s about creating a relationship with your customer and brand loyalty. Let’s break down the steps on how to implement Showing Up for Your Audience.
Your audience wants to know that you will be there consistently to help solve their problems. You can find your way to be there, whether through quality products, exciting ideas, or just finding solutions to their problems in a timely fashion. Be the friend that always shows up when you invite them—we all know this friend. They come to your parties, answer your texts, and they like your Instagram post (even if it’s the 14th post you’ve made about your French bulldog this month). And you know what? I bet you always invite that friend because they’re reliable.
Maybe you have helpful content and great ideas, but to make it effective, show up every week with new ideas so your audience can expect you to be there. And remember you!
How to be consistent with ethical marketing
- To be consistent, plan your content (or product features) in advance. Plan monthly or quarterly, so you’re not stumbling for new ideas.
- Use a CRM. There are many software like Hubspot to keep track of conversations, but you a spreadsheet works too. Note the last time you spoke with accounts or connections so that you have a reminder of when to reach out next.
- Do regular quality checks to make sure that you are consistent with your offering.
Being consistent is also about being there when your customers or followers call on you. If people are reacting to our content, reward them with a response. Imagine that all of these people are your friends. There is a real person on the other side, and I’ve definitely made real friends out of Instagram friends. Avoid the easy way out, which is just “liking” their comment. Even if there is constructive criticism, take the time to draft an honest answer.
When I first started doing social media for businesses, I would post it and forget it. And really, I understand how this is tempting. It takes so much energy to make good content, and then you have to go back and actually be social! But isn’t it kind of pointless to leave the social out of social media? It’s a tool to connect.
When someone reaches out, don’t worry too much about whether they can help you or not. If you’re helpful and hospitable, the goodwill always comes back to you.
Being authentic is every bit as important to ethical marketing as is being available to solve problems. Many people “play it safe” by only sharing a watered-down version of themselves. Of course, certain 4-letter words or politics might not be appropriate to communicate with customers (depends on your brand, though!).
Instead, people want to see your whole personality! Especially in the era of picture-perfect Instagram feeds, people yearn for a more authentic experience. Showing up for your audience/customer also means bringing your whole self. Share humor, interesting articles, the ups and downs of your business….and even your personal life.
Part of being an ethical business is being human. Show up with your whole self and be as helpful as you can through your business practices and content.