I write and talk a lot about content marketing and one of the things that I notice when I meet people who are new to selling online or struggling with marketing is that they misunderstand what marketing is. They think that marketing and advertising are the same thing — and that’s a mistake that can prevent you from growing your business.
The truth is that marketing is about connection, not about selling. You need to find your audience before you can sell to it. The best marketing strategy is one that allows you to form a meaningful connection with your audience to build brand recognition and loyalty.
With that in mind, here are 8 tips to help you connect with your audience through marketing.
#1: Use Emotion Strategically
At some point in our lives, we’ve all seen commercials that made us feel something. The commercials the ASPCA uses to encourage people to donate and adopt rescued animals are good examples. People respond because the commercials make them emotional.
Emotion is a powerful motivator. The key to using emotion in your marketing is to do it judiciously. You don’t want your audience to feel that you’re trying to manipulate them. Instead, think about what someone who might be shopping for your product might be feeling and then create content that evokes that same emotion.
#2: Speak Directly to Your Audience
People want to feel that the people they buy from care about them and their needs. One way to make people feel that kind of personal connection is to speak to them directly in the content you create.
The easiest way to speak directly to your audience is to write in the second person, using ‘you’ the way I am in this post. It’s a simple trick but one that makes your marketing feel far more personal than it would if you spoke in a remote third person voice to get your point across.
#3: Use Stories in Your Marketing
People love stories. All of us are voracious consumers of stories. Some of us read them while others watch them on television or listen to podcasts. Stories help us to feel connected and they validate our experiences and emotions.
One of the things I truly love about content marketing is that it prioritizes storytelling. To use stories effectively, think about why people need your products. Then, create a story that’s compelling and evokes an emotional response.
You can put your audience at the center of the story, which is effective. Alternatively, you can create a story around your brand. Either can help your audience get invested in your products and want to buy them.
#4: Respond to Comments on Your Blog and Social Media
Maintaining one social media account for your business can be time-consuming and it’s even more so if you want to be active on more than one. That said, social media is not a “set it and forget it” marketing strategy. The word ‘social’ is there for a reason.
What I’m getting at is that your social media followers want engaging with brands to be a two-way street. When they comment, they want a response. They want to feel that their opinions and feelings matter to you.
The solution is simple. Monitor your social media comments and respond regularly. You might not have time to write a response, but you should at the very least be liking or reacting to every comment. When it feels appropriate, write a longer response.
#5: Create a Branded Hashtag
It’s very common for social media users to share pictures of the things they create and use. You can encourage people to engage with you and your other followers by creating a unique hashtag and asking people to use it when they post about your products.
Ideally, your hashtag should include the name of your website or Etsy shop and some descriptive words that will help people understand what you sell. You can use the hashtag in your own posts to ensure that people know about it.
#6: Share User Content
Once you have a branded hashtag and people are using it, you can connect with your audience by browsing the content they share and re-sharing it when it’s appropriate. Sharing user content is a terrific way to make people feel that you value them and their feedback.
When you share user content, make sure to include your branded hashtag and tag the person who created the content. You’ll simultaneously show your audience you pay attention to what they say, make them feel valued, and increase the visibility of your brand in general.
#7: Create a Group or Community
The social part of social media is something you shouldn’t underestimate. You can greatly increase the visibility of your brand by creating a group or community where people who buy your products can connect with one another. These interpersonal connections will help people to feel more connected to your brand and products.
For example, Facebook groups are free to create. You can control the group’s settings. Some groups are public while others are private. Keep in mind that if you make the group private, some people may decline to join. You’ll be responsible for admitting people, so if you don’t have time to monitor requests, your best bet is to keep the group public.
#8: Get Personal
People want to feel that they know who’s behind the brands they love. They’ll feel more connected to you if you tell them a little bit about who you are.
Keep in mind, getting personal doesn’t mean you must share every personal detail about your life. There’s nothing wrong with curating the content you share. For example, you might tell people you have children but not share their names, ages, or any other identifying information.
I suggest adding a brand story on your website and including a picture of yourself. When you’re building a personal brand, it’s also a good idea to use a photo of yourself on your social media profiles. Putting a face to your brand will help people feel a connection to you.
Audience Connections Lead to Sales
When people feel that you care about them — and when they know who you are and care about you – they’ll be more likely to buy your products and tell their friends about them. The 8 tips I’ve included here will help you to build meaningful connections with your audience.
Growing a business is hard work — and you might need help to achieve your business goals. Work with me to get to where you want to be!