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How to Bring Authenticity to Your Startup's Marketing Strategy People are tired of being pushed into something they don't want.

By Baptiste Monnet

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

According to a study by Stackla, 90% of customers place a premium on authenticity when selecting which companies they like and support. But what exactly is authenticity? How can we show our customers that we're human and relatable and not just a brand with an agenda?

Here are six practical tips on how to bring authenticity into your startup's marketing strategy.

What is authenticity in marketing?

Authenticity is having a genuine connection with your target audience. If you're not authentic, it's difficult for customers to connect with what you do. People want brands that they can relate to — companies who are just like them, only better at their job or service because of experience and expertise. Authenticity is also about transparency and showing the world who you are and what you believe in. So, think of authenticity as your company's personality; it should be unique to every brand out there.

How can startups bring authenticity to their marketing

Did you know that nearly 90% of all startups fail? Startup marketing is difficult because you are often underfunded, have a limited customer base or are just getting started. As a co-founder and owner of a business, I understand the challenges that you are facing. I've failed many times. That's why I'd like to share some of the marketing strategies that have worked well for me and have helped people connect with us on an emotional level every day.

Related: 9 Sales Presentation Tips that will Close More Deals

1. Know your target audience

You need to know who your target audience is and what their needs and interests are before you can create a message for them or speak about them on social media channels like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The more you know, the better your marketing will be.

It's your job to create an emotional connection between your brands and customers, and authenticity is key here too. Once you understand your target audience and their needs, you can speak to them more effectively on the proper social media channels.

2. Be genuine in your marketing messages

Knowing your target audience does not mean you should be overly promotional. You can still show people who you are as a brand and what makes your company unique while also being more realistic about your company's benefits. Establishing authenticity in marketing means not trying to be something you're not. People will see right through anything that seems fake or disingenuous. If you decide to be honest with people, then put all your cards on the table. Don't try to market your startup as something it's not.

3. Be consistent with messaging across social media channels

It's no secret that social media has changed the way that brands communicate with customers. Social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok are potent tools that can help you build relationships with people interested in your startup's product or services. Your brand messaging must be consistent across all these channels. You need to be consistent with your words, images and tone of voice if you want your target audience to trust what you're saying. Why should, for example, potential consumers believe you if you send conflicting messages on social media?

Don't forget to keep in mind that social media is a two-way street. Startups need to be engaging and respond quickly when people ask questions or have concerns about their product or service — this also helps build trust. It's best to create one voice for your brand across all your social media channels. It will help you communicate with people more personally, and this is what authenticity is about: being real.

4. Give people something to talk about

Don't just sell people your product or service. You need to give them a reason why they should buy from you. If someone isn't interested in what you have to offer, there's no point in pursuing the relationship. Give potential customers something that will make them want to work with you instead of against you.

Related: PDOOH: A Marketing Term Entrepreneurs Should Know

5. Create an authentic voice for your brand

If you're looking to create a brand that people will love, your voice must be authentic. Without an authentic voice, your customers may not get the experience they expect and could have negative feelings about your company. Don't expect to win customer loyalty or get people excited about your product if you don't sound like yourself. It's not just what you say that matters. It's also how you say it. Having an authentic voice for your brand means letting go of the idea that marketing is all science and no artistry. You need to put creativity into everything that comes out of your business, from product development to marketing and sales.

6. Use metrics and data analysis to improve your marketing

Just because you're authentic doesn't mean that your marketing will be successful every time. Even if you put a lot of effort into it, everything can still fall flat on its face. Remember that marketing is half art and half science. You need to put creativity into everything you do and keep in mind that metrics and data analysis are essential for adding substance to those creative decisions. What works today might not work next month or even tomorrow, so don't get too attached to a single marketing strategy.

Take advantage of cutting-edge marketing tools such as social media advertising, influencer marketing and even email campaigns to get your startup's name out into the world. Keep track of everything you do to improve it over time.

Related: Marketing Trends in the Post-Pandemic Business Environment

Baptiste Monnet is a freelance writer, columnist and entrepreneur. Formerly a social worker, he covers leadership at Entrepreneur.com.

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