You’re sitting at home about to binge-watch the next season of Mind Hunters when your phone starts to ring. You see a weird number and, while your instincts tell you to send the call straight to voicemail, you go against your better judgment and answer it. “Hello?” you ask, your finger ready to click the end button. “Hello,” a chipper voice replies, “this is Susan, how are you doing today?” you go through the motions of basic conversation before Susan says something along the lines of you signing up to win the newest Toyota. You suddenly remember that time you were at the mall and your friend signed up your name as a goof. However, you lean forward in your seat, excited. You Won?! “We just wanted to touch base with you. Can we ask you some questions?” You say sure and begin going down a myriad list of innocuous questions. Here’s the rub: you didn’t win crap and you just found out you signed up to be in a scam email. You hang up, disgruntled.
On one hand, you did sign saying you were okay for promotional calls, so you can’t really blame the solicitors for calling you and just doing their job, but “warm” (or rather, lukewarm) leads are a quick way to get your brand on a “Do Not Call” list. Why? Because you have no relationship with this consumer. If you want a consumer to give a crud about you and not roll their eyes when they see your number or email pop up you need to build a relationship with that client.
Sometimes getting to see the business from the back end can be refreshing for a consumer. If your customer only ever sees you as some flat business that posts the newest trinket on your facebook, they may just see white noise. Sometimes adding some personality to your page can make consumers feel more like their invited to be part of the business family rather than just a dollar sign. Some advertising firms recommend posting pictures here and there showing pictures of your vacation or family events, especially if you’re a small or starting business. However, I understand not everyone feels comfortable showing their personal lives. An easy solution to this can be as simple as showing company outings or showing some fun events in the workplace. You should be showing your brand is so much more than just a box storefront. Your company is a group of living breathing people and showing that can make you more approachable. However, be sincere. Don’t make your brand – or more importantly you – something you or you’re a brand isn’t. People are much craftier than they appear and having a fake persona can be easily sniffed out.
Having events that allow consumers to meet you face to face is another option in building a closer relationship. Hosting events such as a wine and cheese event or just a casual meet up such as cocktail hour (with a flair) is another way to engage consumers. This gives a chance for you to speak face to face about your brand in a casual and laid back atmosphere. In fact, 65 percent of consumers said live events help them have a better understanding of a product or service. While you don’t have to have a huge gala to get your business known, even going to other meetups or networking events is a great way to get the word out.
Who doesn’t like free things? Communists, maybe. I jest, but sometimes offering free things is a great way to get your audience to engage with you. Of course, you don’t want to bombard them with bogus warm lead calls since as mentioned before, but some businesses have succeeded in offering things to get the consumers to engage. If you’re a new restaurant or business, for example, offer a free gift card and ask people on your business facebook to share what they would use that gift card on. Not only does this gain traction and interest in your product, it also allows the consumer to fantasize about all the great things your brand has to offer – and even if they don’t win they still might decide to go out and treat themselves (Heads up! Treat Yo’ Self day is October 13th this year).
Why Can’t We Be Friends?
While most advertisers say you should try to reach everyone (and okay, we admit, we’re guilty of this, too) stretching yourself too thin and trying to appease everyone is the easiest way to burn you, your brand, and your consumers out. Sure, everyone needs a smartphone, food, water, and a roof over their heads, but does everyone need that $33,500 HERMES Togo Crocodile handbag (and no, we’re not kidding about that price tag!)? I bet you HERMES would give a resounding “no”. Why? Because part of their allure is that only the very, very rich can afford a very, very overrated handbag (seriously, if that thing can’t fit a family of four in its confines and survive the nuclear holocaust then who the F is buying this thing?) because it has status, and that says something for someone willing to buy it. My point is that sometimes, not trying to reach everyone is okay. If you have something meant for 20-somethings, stick to their demographic (but don’t go all “Fellow Kids” on us). If you want to reach people in their 40s, don’t be posting memes about your totally rad wallet that can #YOLO its way through a hurricane. As we like to say here: stay in your lane.
Branding is an important part of any new business, but one can argue that that being genuine, giving consumers a personal and relatable experience, and reaching the consumers that will help your brand the most is equally important. We all want to be Walt Disney, but having something genuine speaks volumes.
Written by: Lauren Anderson