Remember your last interaction with another person. Did he or she look you in the eye? Use your name? Ask about how you’re doing or recall a factoid or anecdote about you from years previous? As humans, we crave these kinds of authentic connections without families, friends, loved ones, and even strangers. Even as consumers, we seek to build relationships with the brands from which we buy. It’s no longer enough to simply provide a great product or service; people want a personalized approach.
A Personalized Approach
Let’s start with some facts. Nearly 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand if that brand provides a personalized experience. To that end, almost three-quarters of consumers engage exclusively with marketing content that appeals to their specific interests. Brands that become too pitchy, predictable, or broad in their approach will quickly lose interest. So how can your business offer a more personalized approach?
First, think about your customers. Think about who you want to be your customers. Hopefully, the two are conceptually similar. Next, consider your current marketing approach. Are you getting engagement on social media? How are your open rates and click rates for your email marketing campaigns? Are customers interacting with your mobile application?
Even if your answer is yes, there’s still room to improve. On social media, don’t be afraid to respond to your customers. Use their names and make sure they feel both seen and heard. Social media can also be a great place to get direct feedback from your audience; consider using surveys, asking questions, and encourage engagement with your page through things like contests, if possible. After all, people love winning prizes!
Consider including a personalized message in each email you send as part of a campaign. It can be as simple as implementing code to include a personalized first name in the first line or subject of the message or as complex as actually sending unique messages to each customer. Either way, if you make an effort to foster connections-to think of your audience as people before customers-your results will improve.
Show Your Humanity
Automated customer service is irritating. Having a problem with a product or service is one thing, but when there’s no one available to address your complaint, it can be downright infuriating. It’s the same with every aspect of customer service; a recent survey found nearly half of consumers don’t like having their issues resolved without human interaction.
What does this show us?
It shows that humans are the real lifeblood of a sound business. Machines and robots may be able to replicate myriad human functions, but they lack the complexity of emotion, something that drives sales and fosters brand loyalty far more than anything a machine or robot could.
With that said, strive to tell your brand story wherever possible, but make sure your customers are the main character. Don’t be afraid to show off your employees, tell their stories, and ask your audience to tell their own. Developing a sense of community among your audience will only strengthen the bonds that build strong business-to-customer relationships. Ultimately, your goal should be to make your customers feel truly at home with your brand, both in spirit and in practice.
Build Personalized Connections-Or Lose Them Altogether
From sending personalized emails to personalizing your website, there are endless opportunities to develop a more personalized approach to your digital marketing. The easiest way to tell if you’re connecting with your customers on a personal level is to simply think: do I know my customers?
The more you know about their backstories, their inspirations, their needs, wants, dreams, hopes, and aspirations, the more you can make the necessary personal connections. Even showing you have an active interest in learning those things can be a big step in the right direction.
Being authentically empathetic to the needs of your audience is the single most important thing you can do for your business. Since people see thousands of brand messages every day, a message that doesn’t try to sell something, but instead seeks to build a connection, is much more memorable than anything else.
A personalized approach means each customer feels unique. Rather than being seen as just another customer, each individual who took the time to research, seek out, and purchase something from your business feels valued on a personal level. Take the time to reach your customers on this level and they’ll take the time to value your business!