Grow Your Following by Building a Trustworthy Brand

A really surprising thing happened and I want to tell you about it:

we grew our list by thousands of subscribers by going against the grain of everything being taught right now about list building.

Email marketing is an important and effective tactic. It allows you to cut through the noise and sell directly to new customers and potential leads who actually want to hear from you. A popular way to build your list is to offer content upgrades (like free courses, worksheets, and ebooks) and enticing incentives (like exclusive offers and discounts), and earlier this year we decided to ditch this very method of growing our own email list. We made every single branding exercise and worksheet on our site available for direct download without the exchange of an email address.

You can read more about our decisions when it comes to the future of email marketing here.

It goes against the grain of what all of our peers are doing and to be honest, felt like a big risk when it comes to growing our brand online.

So imagine our surprise when our email list, which had plateaued at around 13,000 subscribers for over a year had attracted 2,000 new subscribers within months of removing all opt-ins and content upgrades. That’s a 15% growth rate in just a few months without any focused effort or strategic tactics for growing our list.

This bump in subscribers confirmed our hunch: building a trustworthy brand with no strings attached is a strategy worth trying.

So in this article we’re going to talk about how to build a trustworthy brand that will engage your dream customer and turn them into loyal fans and brand advocates. Below are just a few examples and we encourage you to brainstorm more ideas that you would like to try.

It’s about the service first

If you’re number one concern is about clicks and conversions you need to shift your focus back to what you have to offer. How is your product or offering genuinely helping people? What problem is it solving? How could you make it better? How can you generously share your expertise whether or not someone buys? When you can answer these questions you will be able to market what you do and attract your dream customers from a solid and authentic foundation.

Be who you are

The word “authentic” has received so much attention that it’s almost lost its meaning but it’s another way of saying be who you are. But first you have to know and define who you are – otherwise you’ll be swept away by all the trends and start looking and sounding like everyone else.

A great place to practice authenticity is in the content you create. In your next social media post, blog article, or podcast interview practice being as honest as possible by saying what you mean, telling your true stories, and bringing a little bit more of your personality into the work you do.

Get specific

The more specific you can get the more people will engage in and trust what you’re saying. Whether that’s the nuances of your customer’s challenges and how you helped them, the details of how you’ll work together and what they get, or even sharing behind-the-scenes processes of how you work.

Related post: Here’s why you can’t afford to be vague >>

Say no to bad fits

When you’re first starting out, it’s easy to want to say “Yes, we can do that!” because any business is good business and you genuinely want to help everyone. But sometimes you’re being more helpful by not saying yes to something that will leave you feeling frustrated at the project or resentful of the person who hired you.

Related Post: Three scripts for saying no to 1) a bad fit, 2) a dream client who can’t afford you, and 3) a dream client who wants what you don’t quite offer >>

Ditch the jargon

Using industry terms can make you sound really smart around your peers, but being able to translate what you do in easy-to-understand ways will make your potential customer feel more confident in hiring you to help.

Be generous

What can you offer that will nurture your community in spite of the return-on-investment? Is it generously sharing your gifts of knowledge in your content? Is it engaging with your community by supporting a local event? Is it buying a round of lattes for everyone at your favorite coffee shop? Get creative with ways you can invest in people.

Trust your gut when it comes to trends

There are a lot of trends when it comes to marketing and you’re consultant / agency / friend isn’t wrong for recommending them and you’re not wrong for wanting to try them. However, if a new tactic or strategy feels misaligned or even just gives you a funny feeling in your gut dig into why it might not be right for your business and the audience you serve – will it break the trust you’ve worked so hard to build?

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