Where is this relationship going?
Ever stop and consider what your brand’s relationship with your customers is? I don’t mean just you, yourself. I mean your brand as a whole. What do your customers, as well as the general public, see, think, and experience when encountering your brand? Is it “purely business?” Is it simply the place where a certain need is met or thing is purchased…or does your brand represent more than that to people? How do you take your brand and develop it into something that means more to people than the product or service behind it? I don’t pose this question to minimize the importance of making your product or service the very best that you can. I ask you to consider this because there is an aspect of marketing that can sometimes be put on the back burner in our busy efforts to make our product great.
It’s personal. It’s humanizing. It’s a matter of trust.
Like any relationship you have (or will ever have), the key to it developing into something long-term and solid is trust. Your goods or services are outstanding? That’s a great start…a first date, of sorts. But the relationship with your customer is far from solidified. They need to see the face of a company and know their history, personality, principles, etc. in order for the relationship to deepen. To strengthen the bond between your brand and your customer, your brand must move away from corporate chilliness and toward something more… human.
Here are a few steps you can take to work toward “humanizing” your brand online and letting people begin to feel the heartbeat inside.
1) You Had Me At Hello… – When people go to your “About Us” page, whom (or what) do they find? Are they reading a page that has a remote, impersonal feeling, as if a large building or a cold machine was presenting it? Your “About Us” page is a perfect opportunity for a warm introduction. It is here where your online presence has its first chance to make potential customers feel like these are people I like and can trust. How do you accomplish this? You do it the same way you would when you meet someone in person for the first time. Tell your story. Have a friendly conversation. Remember, you’re not delivering a doctoral thesis. You’re making a friend. Take a look at this “About” page:
Professional, yet very friendly and approachable, the above page radiates warmth and is a winner. Here’s another example:
Light and humorous, this page tells her story. You come away feeling that you know this designer personally, as well as seeing a few examples of her professional work. This leads right in to the next step…
2) Make ‘Em Laugh – Ever go into a room full of people who stand there awkwardly, not knowing what to say…how to break the ice? Is that the time for dry, dull, or complex industrial talk or aggressive sales pitches? Hardly. A small injection of humor into the situation does wonders for all involved. Conversations begin. People relax and open up. The same thing can work for your online presence. A bit of levity can help create a feeling of warmth about your company that people will sense. Granted, humor is not appropriate for all businesses. For some it would be downright bizarre. But even adopting a tone to your content that is relaxed and comforting can go a long way in building your business’ relationship with the public.
3) A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words – Take your company from distant “facelessness” to “up close and personal” by including photos of you and your employees and/or team members. People naturally connect more strongly with someone they can see as opposed to a nebulous “company.” Take it a step further, if appropriate, and include photos of your employees doing normal things (playing games at a company picnic, office shots, etc.), rather than just posed, professional photos.
4) Signed, Sealed, Delivered. I’m Yours – Consider signing your social media (posts, tweets, etc.). The tweet below from a writing consultation company to a potential customer is signed, indicating that an actual person responded; it was not spit out by a computer.
The same applies to your email communications. A business doesn’t send an email. A person does. Include the sender’s name in your company’s email signatures, along with the person’s role at your company, and maybe even a small headshot to make the message more personal.
5) Get Engaged! – OK, not necessarily with a ring and flowers, but you can establish strong connections with customers by engaging in conversations on social media with people who are following you. The conversations can do with what your company does or makes, but don’t feel that you have to limit yourself that way. Feel free to move outside of the usual topics. When you do choose to “talk shop,” remember to talk in your own voice. Remember, this isn’t about selling. It’s about engaging. It’s about letting the customers get to know the personality of your company and letting the relationship develop.
Your company’s building, the products you create, and the services you render are all important parts of your business, but they’re not to be confused with your brand…your business’ heart and soul. When someone is first attracted to someone else, they may at first be drawn to the outside appearance, but what makes the relationship thrive and last a long time is the connection, the personal sharing. When we approach the marketing of our brands that way, you open the doors and allow your customers to really know who your business is, not just what it is.
This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Bola Olonisakin is the Creative Head & Chief Online Strategist at GTechDesigns. Bola specializes in coaching entrepreneurs, small business owners, and corporations in achieving the MAXIMUM PROFIT from their website by increasing visibility and using laser-focused marketing strategy. Download the Ultimate Guide To A Money Making Website to help you discover the 8 Tech-Riffic ways to PROFIT online at . This post was originally posted at www.gtechdesigns.com