What Our First President Can Teach You About Marketing

by | Feb 23, 2010

For most Americans, George Washington is one of our most admirable founding fathers. As the general for our army during the American Revolution and our first President, he led a long and distinguished life and helped to shape our country in those first years.

Considering yesterday was George Washington’s birthday, here are some words of wisdom from our first President.

“I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.”

George WashingtonIt can be tempting to use less-than-honest marketing practices, like black-hat SEO techniques or Twitter link spam, for quick results. However, you could find yourself in trouble with Google and other search engines faster than you can say, “Hey, where’d my site ranking go?”

As the Internet evolves, those “old ways” are getting pushed out. Honesty always wins out in the long term. If you have the firmness and virtue to maintain honest marketing practices, you’ll reap the rewards with happy customers.

“Let your discourse with men of business be short and comprehensive.”

Even George Washington was a fan of keeping things simple. Sometimes it’s tempting to flavor marketing copy with big words and technical jargon to show off expertise.

It’s best to resist this urge. People who can’t understand your copy aren’t going to buy from you. They’ll go looking for something they can understand. Keep your writing clear and concise, and you’ll bring more people into the fold.

“Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation. It is better be alone than in bad company.”

It’s something that we apply to the people we associate with personally, but how about to the people that we do business with? If you work with a company that has questionable ethical practices, how long do you think it will be before people start to assume you condone those practices?

Word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools around. Project your company as an honest and upstanding one, and walk the walk. Do your business with other honest businesses, and you’ll maintain the reputation to attract the kind of customer you want.

And one more quote that goes for more than just marketing:

“Nothing is a greater stranger to my breast, or a sin that my soul more abhors, than that black and detestable one, ingratitude.”

How often do you say “thank you” in the business world? Do you thank the clients who have chosen to do business with you? Have you given a trusted business partner a recommendation on LinkedIn? Have you reviewed a business you appreciate on Google Local?

Express your gratitude regularly to everybody. Let them all know how much you appreciate their business. If they’re happy with your company, ask if they’d be willing to leave a review for you online. You’d be surprised just how far a little “thank you” can go.

And on that note, thank you for reading! We’re glad you stopped by.

Do you have a favorite George Washington quote, or a mantra that defines how you do business? Share it in the comments!

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Picture by cliff1066™