Following an insightful lecture last week by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) on the importance of the human connection in marketing your business, I thought the timing of our next Lincolnshire Business Column was quite apt; I’m going to delve in to a few ideas on how you can help your business perform better by connecting with your customers in a different way. It’s time to get personal!
With a degree in psychology and a keen interest in understanding what makes people tick, last week’s lecture really struck a chord with me. I’m just at the start of planning both Shooting Star’s and my clients’ 2017 marketing plans, so it felt like an opportune time to take a look at the relationship side of marketing for businesses.
As online social media continues to develop, it’s all too easy to spend 100% of your time ‘talking’ to people through your social media channels. That’s why the human connection is more important than ever.
Step outside your comfort zone
How many of us are guilty of just turning up to a networking event to tick a box or please the boss? It’s important to remember that face-to-face contact is actually important and relevant. People connect and relate to people and real life experiences. Aside from all the networking events and meetings you attend, take time out to have a coffee, meet for lunch or invite your customers in for cake; you’ll be amazed by how many people will welcome the opportunity!
Peer to peer recommendation works
People like to see real-life examples or case studies of your work; they like to see the results you’ve achieved for clients and understand how it could work for them. Don’t baffle them with technical jargon: provide clear, open and honest information that’s easy to find on your website, for example.
People only read, share and engage with content from sources they trust. The more time and effort you put in to marketing your business, the bigger the rewards. The more people trust you, the more likely they are to buy from you.
Present the human side of your business
Take the time to create trust, be transparent and offer (through your social media channels and face-to-face) an insight into your business – let your personality shine through. At Shooting Star we share a lot of content about our own business and on our clients’ behalf, but we also enjoy sharing pictures of what we get up to outside of work, to raise money for charity (see our recent charity fundraising blog) or celebrate a staff birthday or company anniversary. Don’t be afraid to step outside the comms plan every now and again and tweet a picture of cake!
Take time to think about who you’re talking to; you never know who your next client might be.
I was talking to someone on the train to Lincoln from York the other day about an interior design business she runs in Canada. Now, it’s a long shot that she’ll ever call on me for our services, but I have no idea how many other people were listening to our conversation and may have taken note of what my business does and how passionately I talked about it. It could pay off one day!
Finally, it doesn’t matter how much money you’re spending – if your brand doesn’t make a connection with the people you want it to, then you’re wasting your money. Listen to your customers, don’t just look at Twitter or Facebook analytics; be open to a more meaningful relationship with them and be more, well, human!
Meanwhile, here’s quite a high-profile example of what can happen when a business fails to engage with its customers… https://www.marketingweek.com/2016/07/25/coca-cola-life-sales-plunge-as-one-brand-strategy-fails-to-provide-pop/
This article was originally published in issue 99 of Lincolnshire Business magazine.