Everything we do or say, even how we appear, is the information every other person in the world uses to figure out how they see us. It’s doesn’t mean they all see us exactly the same way. There are biases in play, so they all see us a differently within a range. This is very true for business. However the perception of our business might be studied significantly more by our niche market compared to our personal one.
In business, people want to make the right investments and decisions. To do that, they will look for all the pros and cons, all the red flags, and pay close attention to every signal we send. And we send a ton of signals through every interaction, on our websites, in our posts, videos, and blogs. Every image we use to represent ourselves, will be sending signals to our niche. Whether they are looking for them or not. Some might call this branding. I disagree. Branding is reality. For many entrepreneurs, their signals are not in alignment with their brand or reality. They are untethered from the realistic version of their business.
Believe it or not, when your signals don’t match what your business is in reality, bad things happen. Misrepresenting your business to your niche market is one of the fastest ways you can destroy any credibility you may have had. Even worse, doing it consistently will eventually stop even potential customers or clients from doing business with you. They will perceive your business identity is at odds with itself. They will not feel comfortable making a purchase or signing a contract because they sense you are not what you seem. Give anyone enough time and they will clearly see it on their own.
Since the beginning of ecommerce there has always been a concerted effort by many to look like something they are not. Something better perhaps. It really is just a tactic to increase perceived value. To make something seem even better than the price attached to it. That’s just so a sale can be made, and to hell with the rest of the transaction.
The true value is revealed when the transaction is completed. Not the monetary transaction. I’m talking about the delivery and consumption too. It’s complete when you have sent them the thing they ordered or completed the service they hired you for. That’s why you must be very accurate with your signals. They will set you up for success or failures.
All those images on your website and social media posts are all doing the heavy lifting of visually showing niche market exactly what you want them to see and think of you. Hopefully, and it should, match reality. It’s great to get a photo shoot done and get some nice pictures of yourself to use. It’s an entirely different thing to get pictures of yourself in a home or office that isn’t yours. Or in front of a car you wish you owned but don’t.
Sure, they might attract attention, but how foolish could you look when someone compliments you on your, home, office or car and they discover they are not yours? It won’t sit well with them. It’s also a bad idea to pretend you geographically live in another location. I know people who practically live in the countryside and still post they are from the city to adsorb some relevancy and hope for a larger audience.
And let’s not forget about the thousands of pictures people take on the two vacations they had last year that somehow make it look like they travel all year round. It might make them feel better about themselves while posting it, but it shows real insecurities about how they really are, and what they think of their real lives. In the long run, people catch on, and they will rarely believe what they see if images are not an accurate reflection reality.
You may not use the word promise in your content, but make no mistake you are making promises. When you explain who it’s for and what it’s for, in that moment you are making a promise. As you speak to the quality or the effectiveness your product or service you are making more promises.
Even if you don’t think you are, while in the mode of highlighting your offerings, you are raising people’s expectations. That is a promise. That promise is a signal. You are signaling exactly where you think your product or service deserves to be. This is where a mistake can be made. It’s very easy for entrepreneurs to position their offerings incorrectly. The promises can be compromised from some marketing tactics that mean well and used to be more effective. Unfortunately, they may signal your product to be more than it actually is.
There are ways of being able to promote your product and even make solid promises that are extremely effective. But it must be done effectively. Like the saying goes, “under promise, over deliver.”
The conversation about pricing has become a bigger discussion lately. As if it wasn’t debated enough, inflation and supply chain have muddied the water and confusion persists.
Let’s just forget the inflation and supply chain issues for a moment and focus in on the most important part. What is the thing you sell really worth? And what does the price tag you’ve put on it say about your business? I’m sure every one of you can tell if something is overpriced. What is the seller telling you? Are they saying this is the maximum we are trying to get without people walking away from a purchase? Maybe it’s what they need to keep the lights on. Perhaps it’s in the range of what everyone else in their niche market is charging.
The real problem is value can’t be accurately appraised before the purchase. It’s dead accurate after. And that can be dangerous for some. Because that’s when people truly know if they have received value. That’s when the word of mouth, the review or testimonial is either brilliant or devastating.
Everyone should be more careful not to send the wrong signal about value of their product or service. If you want people to appreciate your offer, it’s best to transparent and honest about its value through pricing.
Make sure the signal matches the value.
In the end your signals are either going to help you succeed within your niche market in the long run or fail miserably fast. Reality is what they will grade you on. And while it might feel good to signal something that isn’t accurate to gain status, capture attention, and make a few extra bucks. It is fleeting. It will disappear and the only thing that will be left is a damaged reputation. This signalling problem is why some entrepreneurs suffer from imposter syndrome.
There is no shame in being real and authentic. I know authenticity was really overused in the past. But it is still necessary. Just like, honesty and decency. Take closer look at what signals you are putting out into the world and figure out if they really are the most accurate ones that will earn the success you deserve.