… So You Build Deep, Lasting Relationships With Them
What do the third law of Hammurabi’s Code, the 10 Commandments, and U.S. Code Title 18, Section 1001 all have in common?
They all prohibit lying.
And so begins one episode of Overheard at National Geographic, a terrific podcast that delves into various scientific topics. This particular episode explored why kids lie… and why science actually says it’s a good thing that children lie to their parents and teachers. Apparently, lying is how certain developments take place during childhood, and how kids forge important relationships.
Relationships are just as important in marketing
But it’s much harder to forge these relationships in the current online climate. Hyped up promotions, dubious claims, and false assertions abound online. Not to mention news and information that’s censored by big tech. All of this has eroded trust.
We’re swamped under an ever-growing pile of email, social media content, ads, and marketing messages. It’s more, more, more, with no end in sight.
This is why personalization and relationship building are more important than ever.
This article will cover three ways to build these relationships
1. Understanding your audience to the best of your ability.
2. Using direct mail to complement your online marketing efforts.
3. Being consistent and staying in front of your audience.
Let’s jump right in with the first one…
… which is the underlying strategy by which you should approach all your marketing efforts. Understanding your audience as much as you can is so critical to success, any advice I share with you won’t be helpful unless you get a handle on it. Remember: you CAN’T understand your market enough. It’s that important.
The best way to do this is to get on the phone with your current customers
Ask them what their most pain-in-the-neck problem is. The more specific, the better. You can also hang out in forums, do surveys, and research your market online. But the best way is definitely one-on-one over the phone.
After a while, you’ll see patterns and trends relating to your market’s problems… which in turn will give you insights into how you can better serve them. This will also help you empathize with them, and communicate in a way that’s more personal.
What happens when you can empathize with your prospects and customers?
Well, you begin to understand their problems more thoroughly. And you can then start creating content that zeroes in on one of these problems and solves it for them. Yes, just one. Not two, three, or ten. Just one. Your content is going to solve one very specific problem.
This is not easy, by the way. It often takes a lot of research and thinking to distill something down to a single problem that you can solve quickly. But that’s the challenge here.
Anyway… let’s move onto the second idea.
That idea is to use direct mail to complement your online marketing
Physical mail is ideal for creating and building relationships with people, including your customers. Why? Well, because it’s personal. It’s similar to the way we communicated in the past. People would send handwritten letters in the mail, and this was often the only way of reaching someone. These letters were one-to-one forms of communication, addressed to someone specific, and signed by the writer. And since it was written to one individual, the letter was personal.
And don’t forget, people like tangible items they can hold. A physical letter mailed to someone means much more than a tweet, and email, or a social media message.
In fact, here’s something you can test to make it even more personal:
Try handwriting the address.
I once got chocolate in the mail from a guy called Sean D’Souza. I’ve always been a big fan of Sean’s, but after getting that scrumptious New Zealand chocolate from him, I’m now a die hard advocate. If you haven’t heard of Sean D’Souza, or his company Psychotactics, then please (www.psychotactics.com) take a look at his website. Sean’s stuff is basically a masterclass in personalized marketing and customer retention.
OK back to the chocolate…
The package it came in had a handwritten address on the front of the envelope. Sean and Renuka (his wife) didn’t do what most people would have done and printed a label on the envelope (and most people wouldn’t send chocolate anyway). Nope, they hand-wrote the address to give the package that extra human touch. And they do this with clients all over the world.
Right… on to the third part.
Have you ever heard the saying, “marketing is a process, not an event”?
I think I heard Dan Kennedy say this first. This is solid advice you should follow every time you do any kind of marketing. Never ever send just one letter or one email. Never write just one blog post. You need to follow up with additional personalized content to help solidify the bond you’re trying to create with your customer. And also to give them more opportunities to take you up on your offer.
This might sound obvious…
…but many marketers don’t bother to engage their audience beyond one or two attempts.
I’ve received Christmas greetings and New Years wishes from companies whose email lists I’ve opted into. This is all well and good, but these emails are literally the only contact I get from these people all year long. Sometimes I even forget that I’m on their list. I’d actually take these good wishes seriously if they bothered to engage me outside of end-of-year marketing efforts.
Now… a common objection usually crops up at this point.
“But won’t this take much longer? I’m already swamped”
Ah I can already hear the wheels in your head turning. You’re thinking that personalizing your marketing is a lot more effort… and that it’ll take ages. This is an objection I hear all the time from marketing executives.
And it’s a fair point. But think of it this way: the effort you put into personalized marketing and relationship building will pay off in the long run. After all, you’re forging a deeper bond with your prospects and customers. And you’re going for quality over quantity here. So it might mean reaching fewer people in the beginning, but putting more effort into connecting with these people. Take it seriously.
Ok so what have you learned?
Building relationships is harder than ever. So you’ve got your work cut out for you when planning your marketing. But you can make things easier by doing three things:
1. Understanding your audience to the best of your ability. Having meaningful conversations with individuals over the phone (or in person) is the best way.
2. Using direct mail to complement your online marketing efforts. It’s a much more personal medium
3. Being consistent and staying in front of your audience. Relationship building is a process, not an event.
Finally, make sure you check out the Overheard at National Geographic podcast. You’ll learn something… and it’s better than wasting your time on Facebook anyway :).
Your next step…
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