Every brand tries to take its relationship with its customers to a point where they’re no longer looked at as a commodity. In today’s media-engulfed world, your customers and prospects are being inundated with a never-ending stream of content and messaging. It is more important than ever that you build a real one-on-one relationship with them and lock them down! People like to buy from people they know, and even a massive company can build a personal relationship with their customers through content. It often just takes the right piece of content at the right time to resonate and build confidence and trust.
There are a lot of things you can do and a lot of ways to do these things. If you’re blogging, creating messaging for social or filming a video, you need to show your humanity. One of the most powerful marketing messages you can send to a customer or prospect is “I’m a lot like you.” However, you also need to prove that you know what you’re talking about. You are the authority, and you have to give your audience reasons to believe that (content examples: infographics, demos, reports, how-to videos and case studies). If you do, they’ll trust you and look to you for answers and solutions.
Make sure you’re being useful. It isn’t all about you. It’s all about the customer, remember? It is amazing how many businesses preach that idea, but then completely forget it when it comes to creating content. Business get so caught up in getting “their” message out – making sure they’re saying what they want to say. You know what this is like in real life, right? It’s that conversation where the person across from you is just “Blah, blah, blah, blah!” and only talking about themselves! They aren’t listening to a word you’re saying. They don’t care what you have to say. That stinks, right?! Don’t let your brand be that person!
Ask questions and listen! Ask your customers and prospects what they need. Ask your customers why they chose you. Ask your employees why they work for your company. You have to tell your company’s story, but letting others tell it for you, with your guidance, will reinforce a new prospect or customer’s decision to work with or buy from you without you actually having to do any of the talking.
In 2008, the U.S. Army launched ArmyStrongStories.com. With more than 200 solider-bloggers, this website gave soldiers a voice and humanized the U.S. Army. Soldiers, as long as they followed guidelines that didn’t put the Army at risk, were allowed to tell their stories. Soldiers could share their day-to-day, their victories and their struggles. Soldiers often talk about how the Army has helped them, improved them and grown them into the men and women they are today. The website showed a very positive side of the Army that we often forget about. This built trust, improved perceptions, and in the end, it did exactly what the U.S. Army hoped it would do – it boosted recruitment.
How do you build relationships? First and foremost, you deliver on your promises. You then continue to develop your relationship with your customers by listening to them and giving them what they’re asking for. Retain those customers by being useful and valuable. If you do all that, you’ll grow your customers into your advocates. If you listen and pay attention, your content creation will be the tool that helps you all the way through the lifecycle.