VD50: Fake It ’til You Make It is Bad For Business

Last week, I had a pretty awkward lunch date. I figured rather than lament in the bathroom about how terrible my love life is, I would channel my dating experiences as a backdrop for my weekly marketing tips.

It’s a little daring I have to admit, but I felt like trying out something different. Plus, online dating is a lot like marketing.

On these dates, I have been feeling a bit like an anthropologist (gathering data on human psychology and relating it back to marketing – YES am a total geek). Recently, I went on a date with this guy who didn’t look at all like his picture. I felt a bit cheated. It was hard for me to hold a conversation with him.

It got me to think about the concept of “fake it ’til you make it” and how widely misinterpreted it is. Just like posting an overly enhanced picture of yourself on an online dating site is bad for your dating game, pretending to be a bigger business than what you really are is also off-putting.

In today’s episode, I will explain why the whole “fake it until you make it” mantra is completely wrong for business and how to recover in style.

Social media has made it so easy for us to enhance every inch of the truth. Is it because we are always expected to focus on the positive versus the negative? Whatever the reason may be, social media has also helped increase consumers’ filter for BS.

Consumers want authenticity and realness. Once they feel cheated, you can guarantee you’ll never be able to regain their trust again.

So how can you recover in style?
  • Be Human / Be Yourself:  Be real. I know it’s easier said than done. A great exercise I have used in the past is writing an open, honest letter to your best customer. In this letter, you should explain to them who you are, the services you provide, and what makes you different from your competition. Try to stay away from corporate copy because it makes your content sound impersonal. If you are struggling with finding your voice, work with a copywriter and a content strategist (you can find help through Fiver and Upwork). Also check out www.copyblogger.com for some great tips on how to find your voice.
  • Set Realistic Expectations: You must set real expectations and let your business grow organically. Don’t pretend to be a big corporation when it’s just you sitting at Starbucks (which is completely okay… we all start somewhere). Many small businesses feel the need to appear bigger than what they are for fear of hindering their credibility otherwise. You have to let your business grow organically. It takes time and dedication to build a tribe.
    Another big mistake I have seen is a lot of small businesses are so focused on their next customers that they forget to cherish their current loyal customers. They might feel overwhelmed. An easy fix is to get some CRM (a customer relationship management tool). It will help you manage your orders efficiently and help you track your customers’ activity, so you can answer request promptly. Your customers will appreciate it.
    A few CRM software to include:
  • ZenDesk

That’s all the information for today, and if you liked the comparison between dating mishaps and running a business, let me know. I’d love to hear your dating stories, too!

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