When you start planning your online marketing strategy, the first thing you’ll want to know is how your target audience thinks and how to best approach them. Soon you start looking up the research, going through all the numbers and finding patterns. You then invest in some SEO or PPC, look for the right set of keywords and the best page layout and effective calls to action.
Some people are tasked with running a few social media accounts for you, posting regularly and informing people of the latest sales and special deals or the quality service that you offer. After a while you stop viewing your potential clients as people and start seeing only statistics, recommended strategies and keywords.
The unfortunate truth is that this makes your company seem like a big automated machine that incessantly spams people and cries out for attention. You fail to connect with people on a personal level.
The psychological value of making it personal
What ever happened to that as-old-as-time sales strategy where a merchant would earn the customers trust and good will, connect on an emotional level and then seal the deal? Did human nature just change overnight, rendering it useless or did we lose sight of this tried and true business tool? You can find many harsh comments from users around the web, complaining about shady corporations and greedy companies, but those businesses that have a face and character attached to them are defended by hoards of loyal fans if someone badmouths them.
You see, people want to belong to a group, it’s in our nature, and by adopting a more personal tone and speaking to them “from the heart” CEO’s come off as wise and kindhearted philanthropists, who love what they do and only want to provide quality goods and services so that their loyal customers can have an easier and better life. This is the image you are looking to sell, and it can be done through some intelligent marketing. Let’s look at what that means for a few different aspects of online marketing.
Social Media Marketing
Social media profiles serve multiple roles:
-Putting a face and a personality on your brand
-Reaching out to a wide audience
-Keeping people updated on what’s going with your company
-Bringing attention to your other marketing efforts
-Baiting the blogosphere and media into giving you free publicity
To get some attention you can either play it safe or go the traditional company profile route of adopting a neutral and slightly informative tone, with the occasional attempt at humor – but that just makes you look old and even robotic. By engaging the public through an official company profile as well as several personal profiles of company execs, you lose that air of anonymity and coldness.
Of course, you can discuss industry related topics and news and share valuable information, but you can also show a personal side, comment on popular culture, engage other industry professionals in discussions and connect with powerful influencers.
In time, you can create a strong online presence and a community of followers, who can be asked to engage in promotional campaigns and marketing campaigns – e.g. organize a contest and ask them to post a picture of themself doing a good deed wearing a t-shirt with your company’s logo and offer prizes and donations to the charity of the winners choice.
Your website should have a blog with plenty of good content. It should be like a little oasis of information about your niche in the dessert of boring and lacking competitors’ websites. Here’s a few things to consider:
-Make the tone professional, but still fairly personal – it is you, the industry expert, giving your personal opinion on a matter, based on all the knowledge and experience you’ve gained over the years;
-Spice up boring numbers and cold facts with charts and colorful infographics;
-Encourage comments and social sharing, and respond to some of the comments to get a discussion going;
-Give the people what they want to hear and teach them the basic “who and why” of the industry.
With plenty of content like this, you’re no longer just some corporate big shot with a blog, now you become and educator, expert and trusted authority. Sure, you want to make money, but you’re not like those other greedy and soulless companies – you find satisfaction in doing things right, allowing your costumers to make an informed decision and offering high-quality goods and services that are worth every penny.
Permission based email marketing has proven to work quite well, and allows you to boost your traffic and conversion rate, and ultimately sales, by a significant amount. That is if you can get people interested in what you have to say and offer in the first place. People don’t want to click on a spammy email, with the subject line screaming some keyword laden gibberish at them in all caps. What gets people’s attention are short and sweet titles that look informative and awaken their curiosity.
Many modern entrepreneurs are marketing themselves effectively by addressing the recipient personally by name and opening up to him or her about a common problem, myth or question they know how to solve, answer or debunk. A little bit of A/B split testing will tell you a lot about how to structure your email for the best results, but it’s ultimately up to you to put yourself in the shoes of your target demographic and speak to them as one person to another, offering much more inside information and valuable resources on your landing page.
Whether you are marketing your company’s products and services to a younger demographic steeped in pop culture and with little attention to spare or to sophisticated and experienced businessmen, engaging them on a more personal level can greatly benefit you. No one likes to deal with spammers, glorified telemarketers and robots – in this age of social alienation and impersonal communication, talking to an actual human is a breath of fresh air.