The Ins And Outs Of Authentic Marketing: A Q&A With Twenty Over Ten’s Samantha Russell

In the noisy world we live in, many brands often lose sight of their goals to keep up with an ever-changing landscape. Now more than ever, it is essential for brands to stay grounded to their purpose. For those in the financial service industry, staying authentic to your brand can result in new clients, stronger credibility and clientele growth—but, how do you market your brand as an authentic one?

We chatted with Samantha Russell, director of marketing and sales for Twenty Over Ten, about what exactly authentic marketing is, and how to channel it for your brand. Here’s what she had to say…

LH: What is authentic marketing?

SR: Authentic marketing is showing, saying and doing what you believe in order to grow a business. In other words, a company that practices authentic marketing says what it means and, more importantly, backs it up with action. Being authentic means staying true to these 3 things:

    1. Who you are
    2. What you do
    3. Who you do it for (aka Who you serve)

LH: Why is developing authentic marketing efforts necessary for a company?

SR: Well for financial advisors especially, who ask clients to trust them with their life savings and future security, authenticity is of the utmost importance. But for all companies, being authentic is more important today than ever, as the newest generations that need help with money management have grown up bombarded by advertising and marketing messages from every channel, and they can quickly tune out anything they perceive to be “add copy”. At its core, financial planning is a relationship proposition built on trust, so advisors must build trust through every interaction, starting with the initial impressions they make via digital communication.

LH: What are the components to authentic marketing? How can a brand develop an authentic voice?

SR: We like to think there are 4 steps to creating an authentic voice:

    1. Know and accept yourself – Ask yourself: why do you do what you do and who are you most passionate about helping?
    2. Be clear and direct – Stop trying to sound smart or like someone else. If you can’t stand what you’re writing it’s likely others can’t as well.
    3. Be honest – Vulnerability and emotions can go a long way. This is your opportunity to forge a real connection with your audience, so don’t be afraid to share your truth and be honest.
    4. Create a community – Your words should help connect and establish a community of people who want to engage with you. Think of it this way: you’re not selling, you’re engaging a community. It’s important to enable prospects to self-qualify themselves. Your goal is to always connect in a way that creates a sense of community.

LH: Among financial advisors, what do you find to be the biggest struggle in creating an authentic voice?

SR: Advisors believe they have to be very “formal” online, especially on their websites.  Years of strict compliance oversight don’t help the situation. However sharing details about your background, what brought you to financial planning, why you are passionate about the work you do – all of these details add up to provide prospects with a better sense of who you are. The more you can open up and the more vulnerable you can be, the more others will find you authentic.

LH: What are some additional tips you have for brands who have difficulty establishing an authentic voice?

SR: We preach the 5-second test. This is something that should be done often: ask a complete stranger, I’m talking someone at your local coffee shop or in the line at the grocery store. Pull up your website and ask them to take 5 seconds to review your site and see if they can learn who you are, what you do and who you do it for in this short amount of time. If they struggle that’s a sign that you need to go back to the drawing board on establishing and communicating your authentic voice.

To learn more about finding your company’s authentic voice with helpful tips check out Twenty Over Ten’s webinar:

Samantha Russell, Director of Sales & Marketing for Twenty Over Ten Samantha is the Director of Sales & Marketing at Twenty Over Ten, a web development company that creates tailored, mobile-responsive websites for financial advisors. Samantha has spent the last 5 years empowering advisors to market themselves effectively online using digital tools. With a background in Marketing, Social Media and Public Relations, Sam focuses on helping business owners understand the value of their online presence and connecting them with the marketing tools and digital solutions they need to effectively manage their brand and engage clients. Learn more here.

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