Connecting on a personal level with your target audience is very important for the success of your integrated marketing communications, regardless if you are running a business or just blogging for fun. Today I’ll briefly look into why it matters and I’ll give you a few ideas how to do it.
What connecting on a personal level really means
Some will argue personal connection means knowing your customers or readers by name; knowing their purchase history if you are a business and reading history if you are a blogger; knowing their opinions on certain topics based on the conversations you have had with them.
This is connecting on a personal level, alright – but it certainly isn’t all there is to it.
Can you imagine doing it with everyone if you have hundreds or thousands of customers and readers? Any decent CRM system can help you with the technical details but will it be really “personal connection” if you rely on a software to do it all for you?
Here’s one more aspect of connecting on a personal level – a bigger and a more important one which is often overlooked.
Whatever your business, you are a human being – and so is your client, reader or visitor. Get to know them. It’s not necessary to become friends with each and every person visiting your website or store but it does help if you get to know them as people in general.
What does your customer care about?
What their pains are? And I don’t mean the pain your product or service solves but their worries as human beings.
Do they have children?
Do they like going to the movies?
How often do they go on holiday?
Do they get upset by animal cruelty?
And what about child abuse?
Or maybe they are passionate about cars?
Do they read books and magazines or prefer TV?
Do they go out with friends often?
Do they go to the seaside or to the mountains for a vacation? Or both?
These have nothing in common, I know. I am randomly suggesting questions because depending on your business and/or blog, you will ask yourself different questions. You will have different audiences and you will care about different things.
Asking yourself the right questions and getting the answers you need will help you connect with your audience on a personal level.
To put it simply, connecting on a personal level is when the reader or visitor can relate to what you are saying and vise verse – when you show the reader or visitor you can relate to what they are saying.
In order to connect on a personal level though, you’d need something in common.
One way to find the common ground for an active conversation is to ask questions. And listen to the answers afterwards 😉
Contrary to some popular (among my freelance clients) misbeliefs, it’s not rude to ask questions. As long as your questions are appropriate, they are the easiest way to connect on a personal level. You show genuine interest – and people are inclined to answer.
Solving problems and relieving stress is another way to connect on a personal level. But again, be yourself. Don’t pretend… You would never connect on a personal level with your audience if you pretend to care when you actually don’t.
Here are a few ways to improve your marketing efforts and start connecting with your audience on a personal level.
- Tell stories
We all know how powerful storytelling can be for business. What not everyone knows is that storytelling is a skill you can acquire. Make your first step to becoming a great storyteller today.
- Share “personal” photos
Images attract more eyeballs – that’s for sure. But if all you share is stock images and quotes on a colorful background, you won’t get the personal connection you are looking for.
Share your photos – e.g. if you are a blogger, have a section on your blog or publish posts once in a while which are about you and what you’ve been up to. If you are a business owner, you can do it by sharing news about your team members or partners.
- Give a glimpse behind the scenes
Shoot photos and videos from your office or work area. Show your audience how you work and what’s going on with you and your team before the end product, service or content makes it to the general public online.
For example, show what the creative room looks like and more importantly, how it sounds like using a short 30 seconds video. Or tease your chief copywriter for his inability to function before he has finished his morning coffee by posting a photo of him, sitting on the office couch with only one shoe on and holding his coffee mug.
- Hold open doors events
Use your social media channels to reach out to your audience and invite them to come and say hi. Remember to take tons of photos and videos so that you can further interact on social media after the event.
- Always deliver on your promises
When you say you’ll call – call. When you are asked a question but you need time to come up with an answer, do follow up with that answer one you have it. Reply to questions, emails, comments, anything and everything that is networking with your audience.
Your turn – is connecting on a personal level part of your marketing strategy? How do you do it?
If you don’t feel like commenting, check out how to bring the conversation to the next level. 😉
Lorraine Marie Reguly says
Yes! I love connecting with others, and do so on my website via my blog (as you know). I post on True Tales Tuesdays and Featured Fridays. In my Tuesday posts, that is where I do most of my connecting. I reveal stuff about myself, my life, and my experiences. Sometimes I really bare my soul. Although it puts my vulnerabilities on display at times, people seem to really like that. I think it’s because we all have insecurities, to some degree, and I’m not putting on airs (being pretentious).
I’ve found that most of my popular posts have been Tuesday posts. That’s why I recently decided to go back to this posting schedule after about a month or so of “experimenting” with posting general content once a week.
Although I do not have a marketing plan per se, I do want to connect with people because one of the books I am working on is a book about my life. I think my TTT posts help me do this!
You are absolutely correct, Lorraine – if your goal is to build a community and attract readers for a memoir, your True Tuesday Tales series is a great way to connect on a personal level. Good luck with moving forward both with your blog and your book 😉
Diana- Your tips of connecting with on a personal level is how I sell. You need to find a common ground so the person you are dealing feels trust. You are more interested in them by asking questions. I try in some way to relate to my customers. The most important advice I can give when connecting on a personal level is to listen what the person is really saying, not what you think they are saying.
Right, i so much hate it when businesses wait for the user to stop talking so that they (the business) can say what they had on mind in the first place. You listen to me, alright, but do you hear what i’m saying? LOL – that’s why your business is successful, Arleen, and for so many years – because you care about your customer. Way to go!
Jeri Walker-Bickett (@JeriWB) says
When I’m critiquing a manuscript, I make all sorts of responses, and among them are personal responses where I connect personally to some aspect of the writing, and let the writer know. Those types of comments are specifically called reader response and can shed just as much light on a text as more critical comments can. I do try to post creative nonfiction pieces like the “Life in a Bag” piece from this week as a way to showcase my writing as well as what makes me tick. The great thing about working with literature is there is always a common ground to be found more so than in some other areas.
Interesting perspective, Jeri – i never thought about reader’s feedback and manuscript critique from this angel. Yet another way an editor and/or critique partner can help any and every writer, thanks for the tip!
Jeannette Paladino says
Diana — opening up and letting people see that you are a real human being is truly important. It’s OK to use the word “I” as long as you don’t overdo it. While you can’t know all your customers personally then can get to know you.
Agreed! Businesses forget way too often that clients like to communicate with and buy from people, not corporations. Thanks for the reminder about using “I” without overdoing it, Jeannette 😉
Debra Yearwood says
Great advice Diana, I really like the idea of letting people take a look behind the scenes. It personalizes the connetion and you can have fun while you do it.
Yes, having fun while doing it is important, too – thanks for the addition, Debra! 😀