Honest Marketing: Why Small Businesses Should Sell Less and Write More

75% of Americans do not trust print or online advertisements. 76% believe television commercials are significantly exaggerated. Among Millennials, those born between 1980 and 1999, 89% trust recommendations from friends and family over advertisements and brands.

What does that mean for small businesses? Word-of-mouth referrals, and your reputation, matter as much or more than name and brand recognition.

Small businesses may not be able to compete with the advertising budgets of large corporations, but in an age of skeptics, they are in position to capitalize on this shift in consumer behavior. If people value quality and integrity over commercials and gimmicks, honest content marketing is the key to growing your audience and positioning your small business as a trustworthy subject matter expert in your community.

If Not Through Advertising, How Will People Find Your Business?

There will always be merit in name and brand recognition. However, for small business owners, your website is your greatest marketing asset. If you are already committed to integrity and customer satisfaction, produce great products and services, and add value to your industry and community, honest marketing begins with your website. 

Qualities of a great small business website include:

  • Excellent Design: Your website should be user-friendly and aesthetically appealing.
  • Interesting Content: Content should be relevant, readable, and easily digestible.
  • Clear Calls-to-Action: It should be clear to your visitors how to buy your products or schedule your services.
  • Search Engine Optimization: Your website should be designed, and content written such that Google recognizes it for searches relevant to your industry. 
  • Responsive, Mobile-Friendly Design: Your website should be mobile-friendly, which means it should look the same across a multitude of devices. Google's algorithm prefers responsive, mobile-friendly websites.
  • Sharing Opportunities: It should be easy for people to share your interesting content across a variety of social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Your website functions as an alternate front door to your business. It is an opportunity to make a great first impression and win the trust of someone who might not otherwise visit your physical location. It is also the most affordable means toward building your audience. Even if you utilize outbound (traditional) marketing, design your ads to drive traffic to your website. 

For more information about the web design and development companies in North Carolina we trust most, contact us.

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Honest Content is What People Should Find on Your Website

Rather than trusting advertisements, people are researching products and services before making purchases. A well-designed website, optimized for the right keywords, will help people find your company when they are performing research. However, it is just as important to make sure what they find is engaging, relevant, and honest.

According to Hubspot, “For every $92 spent acquiring customers, only $1 is spent converting them.” People do not care what you sell, until they know how much you know. Do not use your website as an online billboard, create content that demonstrates your expertise.

Your website should tell your story and position your company as a subject matter expert in your industry. To accomplish this, you will have to give something away. If you own a widget manufacturing company, you may provide a step-by-step for maintaining widgets. If you own a coffee shop and roaster, you may teach people how to brew coffee at home.

The risk is that people may utilize your valuable information to maxmize the effectiveness of your competitor’s products. The reward is that you will develop a loyal following committed to singing your praises. Per Hubspot, when you give away information for free:

Not only will people be more willing to follow through with your request, but you’ll be portraying your company in a positive light, establishing brand loyalty, and building a community of brand evangelists.
— Hubspot: An Introduction to Marketing Psychology

One of the things that attracted me to content marketing is its honesty. Content marketing rewards excellent, trustworthy companies. For more information about developing a content marketing strategy for your small business, contact us.