Profitable, Honest and Sustainable Marketing Tips without the Manipulative B******t

Lisa Scheiblhofer
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When it comes to manipulative marketing tips, you have seen it all. The techniques to get people to act fast. The faked testimonials. Reviews by people who never actually used the product. The claim that something is “almost sold out, only 2 left” when in reality the supply is endless.

Can there be a way to market profitably but honestly? Well, there is. In fact, honest and sustainable marketing is the only way you should market in this day and age.

The era of sleazy sales and manipulative marketing is long gone. If you make promises that you can’t keep, your audience will notice and gladly buy from your competitors.

Now more than ever, customers come across sales messages constantly. To get a prospect’s attention it’s not enough to make bold claims. Buyers are over-informed and therefore more cautious than ever. The bold claims seem unbelievable, so they won’t buy.

Honest, Sustainable and Profitable Marketing Tips

Manipulative marketing isn’t sustainable at all. It won’t get you any retainer clients. It won’t allow you to keep customers. If anything, it destroys your reputation. The market loses trust in you and your products. And rebuilding that trust is almost impossible.

So what can you do instead to connect with today’s buyers? The best way to go about it is to be authentic and honest. Many businesses and brands are afraid to do that. Why? Because they think they have to fake it in order to make money.

Can an authentic approach really be profitable? Yes. Honest marketing is the best way to share what you do with an audience that will value you the most.

So, what could honest and profitable advertising look like? Find my marketing tips below.

Tell a Story

People don’t buy what you are doing. They buy why you are doing it. And what is the best way to tell your audience your “why”? By telling your story. It’s a great foundation for honest marketing. Why are you doing what you are doing? Why are you offering this particular solution? What’s your bigger goal with your business?

So if you share your “why story”, it will likely increase the relationship with your customers. Your “why” has to be powerful though. “I want to help others” might not be enough to connect to your audience. There are too many other businesses saying the same. Dig deeper. Why do you want to help people?

Let Clients Share their Experiences

When it comes to honest marketing tips, we have to mention testimonials and customer reviews. They are such a great tool. Why? Because your customers will share their honest opinion. They have no reason to lie. That’s also why customer reviews build a lot of social proof.

In fact, 97% of B2B customers think testimonials are the most reliable source.

And 72% agree that positive reviews increase their trust in a business.

It’s easier than ever for customers to go online and rate your product or service. So if you are manipulative, it will show sooner or later. Customers will complain. The online world easily destroys your reputation.

When your product and service impress your clients, however, they will share that too. And that helps you to build a strong reputation. That’s another reason why honest marketing is the only sustainable marketing. You can’t have a good business with a bad reputation.

Be Responsible

Another approach to sustainable and honest marketing is taking responsibility. When a mistake happens, don’t disguise or ignore it. Instead, openly take responsibility for it. Show your customers that you handle mistakes well. That will only increase their trust in you.

Let’s imagine one of your customers publicly complains on your Facebook page. At first, you might panic. This could destroy your reputation. But it also holds the potential to show your audience how well you handle feedback. How can you do that? Give an honest answer. Show that you are sorry and make up for the mistake.

Put Customer’s Needs Before the Sale

One of the best, genuine marketing tips is to care for your customers. Don’t be too attached to the sale. Rather, consider your customer’s needs. What do they really want? How can you serve them best? If you are genuine, you never have to rely on manipulation.

When you have your customer’s needs in mind, you don’t have to hustle so much. You don’t have to force them to buy from you. The value you provide speaks for itself.

Value and Genuine Emotions

Have you ever booked a hotel room on a booking website before? If you did, you likely noticed how they pressure you to buy. You click on a room that looks nice. The page tells you “5 spots left”. Next, pop-ups tell you how 10 people are currently looking at the same ad. The counter tells you only 4 spots are left. You feel you have to act fast.

Now, that kind of marketing is effective. It triggers a fear of missing out. But is it ethical? It isn’t if the scarcity is made up. Are we really supposed to pressure our audience like that?

My guess is, your marketing will be way more effective if you are genuine. Because in the long run, people see through the manipulation. They realize it’s all just a trick.

So again, that kind of marketing isn’t sustainable. At the end of the day, customers love you for the value you bring. Emotions are a powerful marketing tool. But make sure the emotions you are evoking are genuine.

Turn Weaknesses Into Strengths

Some of the most successful marketing campaigns rely on brutal honesty. Avis, a rental car service, did exactly that. When they were second in the car rental market, they openly advertised it.

That’s how they came up with the line “We’re number two. We try harder.” They took the concept of being number two and turned it into a benefit for the customer. And was that profitable for Avis? Definitely, as it increased its market share from 18% to 34%.

Does your business have weaknesses? Maybe you want to highlight them instead of hiding them.

Honesty is Refreshing

Honest marketing tips are great because they're refreshing. In the marketing world, so many companies advertise with big claims. They all want to highlight how they are the best. When your company takes an honest, genuine approach it will stand out.

“The very first thing I tell my new students on the first day of a workshop is that good writing is about telling the truth.”—Anne Lamott, non-fiction writer and writing teacher

And it’s the same in marketing as in writing. Good marketing is about telling the truth. Honesty is confidence and builds trust. When you sell accurate expectations you will attract your ideal customers.


Honest marketing tips are the only marketing tips you should follow. They allow you to advertise profitably and stay in business for a long time. It’s the only way to build a solid relationship with your clients.

If you are still struggling to build an honest but profitable campaign, then we can help. Our copywriters are marketing experts. We know how to tailor your message to your target audience. And we are never manipulative. Get in touch today.

Lisa Scheiblhofer

Lisa Scheiblhofer believes that the most important part about copywriting is human emotion and connection. Because of this, she focuses on making your message speak to the heart of your audience.

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