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November 16, 2009

The ‘Secret Sauce’ for Effective Marketing

A couple years ago, I was talking with someone who was, for me, a very challenging client. I’m all about cultivating relationships that result in opportunities to sell.

This particular client seemed allergic to cultivating relationships for reasons I never really understood.

I remember one such meeting, I was trying to explain to my client the wisdom of first creating trust and credibility before trying to get a sale. And my client was blocking me at every turn with reasons why relationship development would not work for their business.

It was maddening.

Finally, I cried with exasperation, “Well, why the heck do you want to keep working with me since my approach doesn’t work for you?”

“Because you’re sincere,” the client replied.

“Who cares” I thought to myself since it didn’t seem to be to helping my client grow their business.

Since that time I’ve changed my mind about the quality of sincerity. I think it’s impossible to have sustainably effective marketing without sincerity.

The Importance of Being Sincere

The word, “sincere” is derived from the Latin word, “sincerus,” meaning whole, pure, genuine.

When you think about today’s business climate, sincerity isn’t a quality that comes to mind. But it’s a quality human beings need to perceive to be willing and able to buy.

The Place of Sincerity in Your Marketing

First, it’s important to remember the real role of marketing in your business.

Marketing is NOT about making a sale. Marketing is about creating a relationship based in trust and safety so that a sale can occur.

Regardless of public sentiment towards business, people and companies still have problems that need to be solved and stuff that has to get done. Your prospective customers still need to buy stuff.

They want to be able to trust you because they need to buy what you sell.

The marketing you do is all about establishing visibility and credibility so that there’s enough trust for the purchase to happen.

For example, if you regularly keep in touch with prospects via an ezine, you’re not doing it to “bug” your customers. You’re sending out that ezine because:

  • You can remind them that “Hey, I help people just like you solve these kinds of problems.”
  • You can offer examples and helpful information about the kind of problems you solve (“Here’s an example of how I helped a customer”)
  • Or you provide helpful information for your prospects to better understand what they need to do to improve their situation.

Once prospective customers feel accepted for where they’re at and trust you can actually help, they can then take the next step.

It’s About Sustainable, Effective Marketing

Now there are also some relatively good-hearted entrepreneurs out there who use hard-sell tactics in their marketing. You subscribe to their ezine and get barraged with multiple emails every day telling you about some amazing program you “just gotta check out.”

Here’s what’s important: there is no rest with this kind of marketing. You must work very, very hard to generate this level of noise.

And if you’re spending so much time and energy with your own marketing, it’s tough to put much time or effort into where–in my opinion–we should be making the difference: helping clients and customers get results.

That, to me, is why hype-centered marketing with or without a good heart fails. If you want to market your business in a way that brings in a steady stream of ideal customers without burning yourself into a crispy critter, sincere, heart-centered marketing is the way to go.

Keys to Developing Sincere, Effective, Sustainable Marketing

#1. Ask yourself, “what’s my highest intention for my business?”

What’s the best possible outcome for you, for your business, and for your customer?

Example: the highest intention for Highly Contagious Marketing is when we help clients create marketing that grows their client base and their bottom line.

When that happens, satisfied clients send us referrals which helps Highly Contagious Marketing succeed financially and there are more successful businesses in the world making a positive difference.

#2. Look at how your intention is reflected in your marketing?

Thinking of the many different ways you market your business, how is your intention showing up?

Example: In all the activities to promote Highly Contagious Marketing, I want to:

  • Provide information, a how-to, or a resource that gives the person who gets the marketing a little added value
  • Provide an offer and a clear call to action for anyone wanting to take the next step and get more help from us.

#3. Ask what one change can you make to your marketing to express your sincere desire to serve customers and make a difference?

Some specific actions you can take to show more sincerity in your marketing include:

  • Make your marketing message truly focused on your customer and their current problem. The first half of your message should be about your customer and their situation. If you’re talking about yourself–your solutions and qualifications, your marketing is not focused on the customer.
  • Look for ways to leave anyone who encounters your marketing a little better off than they were before the encounter. Marketing that informs, coaches, inspires, even entertains all leave recipients a little better off.
  • Make sure your marketing reflects your values and if not, make changes. If you loathe hype in other marketing but use hype because “that’s what everyone says I have to do,” stop using hype. Create marketing that gets results without making you feel like you sold your soul.

Bottom Line

Remember, marketing is all about cultivating trust-based relationships so prospects can buy. And sincerity is a critical factor which enables trust to grow.

Can you market your products and services without sincerity? Sure. But you will have to work a lot harder to sustain sales because you won’t be creating the quality relationships that give your marketing real momentum.

To create marketing in which sincerity shines through, take some time to remember what your business is in service for and take action so that your marketing better reflects what matters to you.

Judy Murdoch helps small business owners create low-cost, effective marketing campaigns using word-of-mouth referrals, guerrilla marketing activities, and selected strategic alliances. To download a free copy of the workbook, “Where Does it Hurt? Marketing Solutions to the problems that Drive Your Customers Crazy!” go to You can contact Judy at   303-475-2015  or