George Kao Authentic Marketing Monthly Newsletter
Here are my best recent pieces...
Doing what you can to build trust
Do what you can to build trust...

The next time you hear someone tell you that a marketing or conversion tactic “works,” ask this question:

“It might work to convert 10% of the audience… but does it build trust with the other 90%... or does it look salesy to them?”

Years ago, I used to care only about the small percentage of my audience who converted -- I was all about the sale, getting the transaction. The rest of the audience? I thought of them as “illusory clients” or “tire kickers”.

I used to care more about my own profit timelines rather than the more organic, decision-making process of my audience. I wanted them to buy my program “by the end of this webinar!” or “within 48 hours!” and so I dangled ridiculous incentives, and used “powerful” scarcity tactics to convert the few... yet turned off much of the audience by these pressure tactics. This is called “being salesy.”

That was when I was less wise to the long-term reality of word-of-mouth marketing and building a brand… and doing the right thing in business!

Why did I do this for several years? Because it “worked”. I was making a lot of money.

This reminds me of the quote that was featured in the movie An Inconvenient Truth:

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” --Upton Sinclair

A lot of marketers and “growth hackers” mistakenly believe this -- 

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Joyful (and calm) productivity
Joyful (and calm) Productivity

Is it possible to be emotionally relaxed, yet highly productive?

Think of a martial arts master ... you don't see them fretting, tense, worried, or stressed out. They have a relaxed focus, a calm strength, an empowered composure.

Their face might seem emotion-less, but their body has a wide range of powerful motion, able to accomplish a great deal with precision and flexibility.

Inside, they may be feeling clarity, confidence, and a deep joy.

I’m not a martial arts master. However, in the past few years, I seem to have developed a sort of calm, joyful productivity within my own sphere of content-creation, business coaching, and now, book writing.

So when a dear client asked me: “As the grand finale [of your book’s completion] is about there, what are you feelings at this moment? Soon is the moment of 'letting go'...any thoughts on that?”

My response: I have never really “held on” to what the book’s results would be, so there is no “letting go”. As for a “grand finale” I don’t see it, since I am already planning my next book. I see every project as just a milestone on a lifelong marathon of ever-greater service and connection.

Joy occurs throughout the process… at the beginning, all through the middle, and at the “end” of a project… and then onto the next.

There’s no more gritting of teeth, no anxiety about the result, no failure or success. There’s only constant experimentation, the steady progress of learning, and a consistent joy of expression, connection, and service.


Recently I heard an Alan Watts lecture that summed this up beautifully:

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Building an authentic email list
Building an Authentic Email List

A question I've often received: "George, how do I build my email list?"

As my former marketer self, I would have told you to do these...

1. Create a quiz, because c'mon, everyone loves quizzes, to help the visitor learn what type of person they are in your framework, and at the end of the quiz, don't give them the results until they give their email address. Automatically add them to your email list.

2. Or, make some other irresistible opt-in freebie, like a scintillating e-book or video course or other "gift", and give it to them only after they give you their email address to join your email list. In the digital marketing world, this "free gift" is sometimes called a "lead magnet" or even an "ethical bribe"...

3. Create a "telesummit" where you recruit 10 or more speakers, and require them to promote the event to their audiences, and people who want to join the telesummit must submit their email address, and you automatically add them to your email list afterwards.

4. Create a "free webinar" or teleclass, and when people register for that one-time event, automatically add them to your email list anyway.

5. Of course, also have a pop-up on your website that tries to entice the visitor to join your email list.

Have you experienced one of these?

How did it feel?

For me -- and lots of people I’ve talked to -- the experience ranges from being just mildly irritating, to being a deal-breaker: we instead find another resource that doesn't require an email opt-in.

Free and helpful information is very abundant nowadays and ever easier to search. It's become unnecessary -- and annoying -- to have it locked up behind an email opt-in.

Let me be clear: the above 5 methods do “work” to build an email list. The problem is that you end up building an email list that barely opens your emails, and you have started the relationship from a place of slight distrust, which requires more effort for you to overcome that, to build a real relationship with your audience.

In my early years, I either used these methods, or coached people on these, and I have seen first hand the unhealthy email lists that were built, that didn’t actually build their businesses or income. What’s the point of gathering a bunch of people who don’t really trust you, nor are buy your products/services?

Instead, I encourage you to re-frame the whole situation:

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Long-term benefits of authentic marketing
The long-term benefits of authentic marketing

I’ve been thinking about the agenda that many marketers have--

* Grab your attention with compelling headlines
* Get you on their email list (often with an “ethical bribe”)
* Move you through their funnel toward buying
* Keep following up until you buy
* Move you, as a buyer, to buy more stuff
* Incentivize you to refer them to more buyers

None of the above are “bad”.

What’s not as healthy, I think, is the attachment to these things, which therefore creates a forcefulness that the audience doesn’t like, and therefore trusts the marketer less.

The motive to manipulate stems from the illusion of being able to control people.

This is perhaps the biggest mindset change I made in my marketing:

Hold loosely to trying to control one’s audience.

Hold fast to my values.

What I *can* control is how I embody my values.

We could say that there is a dichotomy here:

Visible results vs. Invisible values.

The more that we try to control the visible results in marketing (which means, controlling what others do), the more we end up manipulating our audience.

On the other hand, the more we prioritize the embodiment of invisible values, the better our heart/conscience feels, and the more trust we build with our audience.

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Visualizing the process, not just the outcome
Visualizing the process, not just the outcome

Visualization for Success -- seeing in your mind’s eye what you would like to happen in the real world -- is a tool that is used by many successful people.

It’s also used unsuccessfully by many people...

When it comes to visualization for your success, I believe these 2 factors make all the difference:

1. Successful visualization focuses on *the process*, rather than the outcome.

2. Visualization is fantasy unless tied closely to real-world practice.

Focusing On Process:

Most people use visualization to dream about their desired outcomes. Examples:

* Having written your best-selling book… holding it in your hands… seeing the abundance of positive Amazon reviews.

* Having filled your retreat/workshop… imagining yourself facilitating a large community of students/clients who are joyfully experiencing transformation.

* Having your client roster filled with ideal clients… seeing yourself work joyfully with high-paying clients throughout the day.

These are good pictures to have in your mind insofar as they accomplish one purpose: To help you see what might be needed to get to that stage.

I think it’s actually detrimental to use outcome-visualization the way it’s typically taught -- to create the self-belief that you deserve it, and to bolster your motivation in moving toward it.

The problem is that it easily creates fantasy, ungrounded from the reality of what it takes to achieve your dreams. What’s worse is that you end up developing a false self-belief that you “deserve” it… and when you don’t attain that vision as you have visuazlied it, it creates more self-doubt than when you started. And now, you also doubt the tool of visualization!

Where “deserve” and “motivation” are needed are in the process itself: 

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This Month's Guest -- Tad Hargrave -- How to Clarify Your Niche

Your marketing gets a lot easier, once you clarify your niche.

Your clarity will show up powerfully on your website and in your content.

Your ideal clients recognize themselves to be your ideal clients.

Your colleagues and friends find it easier to remember to refer new clients to you.

When it comes to clarifying one's niche, my favorite teacher is Tad Hargrave.

I'm happy to be sponsoring and hosting a teleseminar where Tad will teach all of us how to clarify our niches, or how to get further clarity that will make our marketing easier.

If you have found yourself unsure what your offering should be... OR, you feel ineffective in describing what you do in a way that attracts your ideal clients, then I highly recommend that you attend this online teleseminar:

Sign up for the teleseminar (or get the recording) here.
My Workshop This Month -- Joyful Productivity

How can you keep believing in your dream, and taking consistent actions that are authentic and relevant?

What if you had a system that brings you enjoyment, even as you work on the "hard" parts of manifesting your vision?

Join this online workshop to experience a higher level of effectivenessclarity, and confidence for staying on top of your work.

There are only 2 dates for this online workshop:
  • September 13th @ 9am Pacific / 12pm Eastern
  • September 30th @ 5:30pm Pacific / 8:30pm Eastern
  • They're the same -- you can sign up for either one.
Click here for more information and to register while spaces are available.
That's all for this month's newsletter.  I hope you enjoyed it!

I wish you authentic marketing, deeper positive impact, and true livelihood 💛

~ George Kao

Since 2009, George Kao has given workshops and coached many people into growing their marketing authentically, and building their true livelihood. 

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