Trust in Marketing

2 small business marketing pitfalls

I’ve heard it said that ‘Effective marketing is just setting expectations. Show why & what you do, then deliver on that promise.’

If a company makes false claims (or manipulative claims), they’ll pay the price. If they portray a product or experience as something other than what it delivered (even if the product/experience is good), people will sense the disconnect and be uncomfortable doing business in the future.

This is where having a clear understanding of your brand image and knowing your clientele is important.

By presenting a consistent brand image on your social media and marketing, you are setting up expectations for your ideal clients. By demonstrating real people and real experiences, you are ensuring people will not get whiplash when they come because what they think you are - isn’t what you really are.

2 Marketing Pitfalls that Harm Trust

1.      Confusing Personal Social Media and Business Social Media

This is an area where many small businesses get into trouble. Personal social media is 99% about putting the best image forward. The perfect meal. The days on vacation. The funny joke you found. The perfect lighting. The perfect angle.

People post curated, edited, content that makes them feel good about themselves.

When businesses do the same, they are setting a very different expectation than reality.

It is like when you go to a movie you thought was one thing, the trailers were good, and everyone told you how great it was… Then it ended up being not what you expected (in a bad way) and didn’t live up to the hype.

I think the same thing happens with online dating.

Disappointment is the only outcome.

Your business website and social media should not be about presenting the perfect version of what you think people want to see.

It should be about what is really like and who it is really for.

Use your website and social media to show all your clients (not just the ones doing amazing things or who look amazing). Use it to share your gym’s “personality”. Use it to tell the ongoing story of how you change people’s lives.

2.      Trading Trust for Attention

I first read about this on Seth Godin’s blog:

“The temptation to get the word out is overwhelming. There’s so much noise and so much hustle going on that we might believe that it’s okay to trade our standards and principles and position for some attention. At least for a minute or two… There have always been shortcuts to attention. But the only purpose of advertising of any kind is to cause action, and action only happens when there’s trust involved.”

  • Click-bait is a form of this.
  • Creating offers that are too-good-to-be-true (because there is a catch) is a form of this.
  • Posting content that doesn’t represent what your gym stands for and who your clients are is a form of this. Especially if you are posting these things just to keep up a certain level of volume to please the algorithms.

Instead of looking for attention, instead of trying to always please the algorithm, consistently post genuine content that represents what you believe and upholds your principles.

You Can’t Rush Trust

Unfortunately, trust isn’t something that you can rush.

As mentioned in the last article, the best thing you can do to build trust is increase the frequency and the consistency of delivering on expectations.

Remember that when you are doing your marketing and you will build a true following.

Thrive on.



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