Marketing today is not like it was 20, 10, or even 5 years ago. A simple ad or TV commercial sending off a “go here – buy this” kind of message is going to fail to rise to the level of care and engagement that today’s customers expect and demand.
Reaching customers has become less about showing them something that they want or need (or at least trying to convince them of that), and more about showing them that you know who they are, you care about what they are going through, and you are here to help.
While this probably seems complicated, the good news is that the internet, social media and content marketing have made it relatively easy for your marketing to be a two-way street. These connections are within reach. Even better, you can give your customers the personal connections while simultaneously endearing them to your brand and growing your business.
Get To Know Them
If you want to figure out how to connect with your customers, you are first going to need to figure out who those customers are. You need go to beyond basic demographic data, beyond the questions that relate directly to your products or services. What is ultimately going to be more valuable is finding out what your customers actually care about. What annoys them? What is important to them? Not just price or convenience, but what is important to them emotionally? What makes them love their favorite products or brands? How do they feel when they interact with your company? Taking your best guess isn’t good enough. You need real answers from real customers. Send out surveys, ask for opinions on social media, reach out and really get to know them.
Connect on Social Media
Social media channels like Facebook and Twitter are going to be some of your best tools for connecting directly with your customers without any interference. Think about it. When you post content, they can quite literally tell you if they “like” it. Social media between brands and customers is all about building a community and making people feel like they are a part of it. When you get likes or favorites, let people know that you see them. When there are questions, give people real answers – and do so quickly. And don’t just respond do the positive feedback, you need to engage with the negative feedback as well. Make sure your customers know that you care about the experiences they’ve had and that their concerns are being heard.
Let Them In
If you’re asking your customers to let you into their lives and actually feel something about your brand, you’d better be prepared to let them get to know you a little better too. Posting behind the scenes pictures or videos can give customers a great insight into your company and what kind of people work there. Occasional social media posts that are of a personal (positive) nature about you or your employees shows the outside world that you’re a company that cares. This kind of personalization has a great humanizing effect and makes you seem less corporate. Even if things aren’t always clean and perfect, that’s okay. Mistakes and rough edges are human too, and the more real you seem, the more endearing you will seem to your customers.
Blog posts, videos, podcasts, and other forms of content should already be part of your content marketing strategy. And as such, this content needs to be as unique and useful as possible in order to have to greatest appeal both to customers and to search engines. But you can’t just post content that is relevant to you all the time. Try to post content that is relevant to your customers. Write about things they care about. From time to time, weigh in on topics that matter to the human beings who make up your customer base, even if it has nothing to do with your business interests. Showing that you are thinking about your customers beyond the small bubble that makes up your business interactions with them will go a long way.
Finally, when thinking about what is important to your customers, don’t just consider the transactional part of their experience with your company. There is more that goes into your buyer’s journey than the few moments that they spend on your website, reading your newsletters or interacting with your brand on social media. Think about every step of this journey, all the way from before they’ve even considered doing research on your company, to weeks or months after they’ve already pulled the trigger on a purchase. You’ll find that there are many opportunities throughout that journey to interact with your customers. By appearing at points on the journey where they aren’t expecting or you haven’t previously been, you’ll show your customers that you have them in mind beyond just the bare minimum required for business.
Truly connecting with your customers is going above and beyond what many businesses feel is necessary. But the more you can show your customers that you are thinking about their needs and that you are willing to go that extra mile, the more you will endear yourselves to them, build brand loyalty, and find that you customer following is strong and passionate.
Need help navigating this process and coming up with a complete strategy about how this relates to your business? Contact us to discuss!