Brands are interacting with customers on a more intimate level than ever before. Companies can no longer spread empty messages to consumers and expect a zombie like response to go buy their products and services. The consumer now expects to be able to have open conversations and a relationship with the businesses they support. Simply being cheaper or having more advertisements than the competition isn’t enough. Earning a sale takes relating with and properly serving the needs of customers.
So how can your business relate with and engage customers?
Social media is often the first choice and seems to get all the credit for businesses building meaningful and long-lasting relationships with consumers. Sharing bite-sized pieces of content is great, but 140 characters doesn’t allow for much insight. Engaging followers on Twitter and Facebook is important, but if your only media strategy is social networking, you’re missing opportunities to grow your voice and brand just as a company that only advertises on television is missing those of us who have ditched our TVs.
How writing engages customers
Storytelling isn’t just for soap operas and movies – storytelling sells, and the stronger the story, the stronger the engagement. The next time there’s a commercial break during your favorite TV show, consciously look for the story within each 30-second spot, you’ll be surprised with the level of storytelling in a short ad.
Think storytelling doesn’t impact you as a consumer? Ever watch six seasons of a television show? You stayed with it because they were able to tell a compelling enough story to grab your attention and engage you. There is a reason good movies can gross $500 million in a year. Writing, whether a novel or a series of well-written articles from your voice, if done correctly, can accomplish this as well…not $500 million in a year, but building an audience that will come back time and time again.
Putting Your Name Where Your Logo Is
Your logo helps define your brand, but your face and name is what consumers care about. Door-to-door selling was effective for decades because of the interaction between a buyer and seller, not because of the product offered. The product was often cheap in quality and more expensive than that found in a local grocery store.
Consumers are more conscious about their spending decisions and want to know that they are supporting a responsible company with a positive vision and mission. Being relatable as a founder and connecting with consumers can be your strongest and most effective marketing effort. Companies with great stories and missions have been able to gain massive followings and loyal customers. Put your name, face, and voice out there, and customers will be able to connect with you on a personal level and buy into your vision and mission.
Why customers want to hear from you
As mentioned above, we want to connect with the brands we buy from. As someone involved in the startup world, and after getting to know entrepreneurs; the entrepreneurs I have a strong relationship with, I want to hear from on a regular basis and I’ll buy whatever it is they are selling. Building relationships is not easy, but it can be done through writing. Some of my favorite people are authors, screenwriters, and entrepreneurs who I have never even met, but they’ve told a convincing story and I want to hear more from them.
Sharing is caring
All entrepreneurs and small businesses have information that can help consumers, but many choose against giving away their ‘secret sauce.’ Mike Veny, entrepreneur, speaker and professional drummer recommends that entrepreneurs give away their secret sauce to build relationships and help potential clients. Some time ago, Mike provided information and a guide to an event organizer on how to host a drum circle and specifically, how he does it. This instance of giving away the secret to his business resulted in the event organizer still hiring him to come and do it for them.
Sharing your knowledge and advice with current and future customers will help you earn their respect and build rapport, making it more likely to result in a purchase in the future.
Ready to get started writing for your business? Here are some great resources:
Michael Luchies is the Founder of TrepRep, Director of Content Programming for Pursuit, Interview Editor for Under30CEO, Entrepreneurship Lecturer at Illinois State University, TEW 2 contributor, and writer of all things entrepreneurship. Connect with Michael on Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.