How Authentic Are You?
One of the most repeated bits of advice floating around on the internet is to be authentic. To build your authenticity into your content. To be the person selling your products. To build yourself or your beliefs into the brand. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘people buy from people’ and that’s sort of true. But how important is it, and what exactly does it mean?
So, if people buy from people, how does your customer get to know you? Especially through our lockdown and the social distancing policies which are likely to continue for now. When you’re online, do you use videos— maybe Facebook or Instagram Lives? Blogs? Or do you communicate solely through your website? However you choose to communicate with your customers, the important thing is the authenticity of your ‘voice’. That can be your real voice in a video, or the voice your customer hears when they read your website.
What does ‘authentic’ mean?
Google defines authentic as something ‘of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine’. Now, your customers want to know that whatever it is you sell, it is what you say it is, and the way they find out is mostly through the way you present the information to them. It’s in the pictures you use, the language you choose to use, the quality of the display.
Authenticity, I suppose, can almost be synonymous of words like trust, confidence and legitimate. In terms of sales, the more your customer trusts in you, the more likely they are to buy your products or service because after all, people buy from people.
The reason that people buy from people is not just about the product or service. Customer’s want to know that they can trust the person delivering the sale, so they’ve got some reassurance if there’s a problem later on in the sales journey. It’s not only about the product at the point of sale. They want to know that they can trust you to refund if it arrives broken or to sort out a late delivery, or change the delivery address after an order.
Of course, the level of authenticity required does sort of depend on the price points of your product or service, although we always recommend you to be as authentic as possible.
If you’re selling a high priced food dish, for example, but there are spelling mistakes all over, the photos are blurry and the website doesn’t load very well, you wouldn’t have as much confidence in paying a lot of money, would you? But, if the item was cheap, you’d probably be a bit more forgiving of poor quality presentation.
How do I make sure I’m authentic?
Authenticity is easiest when it’s true. So if it’s about the display, make sure your customers experience good service from the moment they land on your website such as good loading speeds and sensible navigation. Match the language you use to describe your product or service to it. If you sell a bog-standard item don’t use words like luxurious or deluxe. Equally, no one is expecting you to say the product is bog-standard, so think carefully about how to present the information.
You don’t have to use words if the words don’t highlight the strengths of your product. Depending on what it is, you can use good product photography, videos or virtual tours. Ethan talked about the benefits of words and images here.
IKEA is really good at this. A lot of their products are middle of the range and instead of selling them to you through the language they use, they use lots of pictures with just one or two words to describe the product. It feels authentic to the brand because it’s consistent. whether its Stefan chairs or famous Billy bookcases. This, alongside a usable website, makes the customer confident that the product is authentic, and therefore increases their confidence in the sale.
Another way to highlight your authenticity is to display reviews or testimonials, especially if you use a third party like Google reviews or TrustPilot. This means its less likely you’ve written them yourself and just put them on your own website! Be warned though, having reviews and testimonials won’t help if you’ve got an unusable website, bad pictures or false descriptions.
Top tip? Be honest, be you, and offer your best service!