Why Connecting With Clients Authentically Has Never Been More Important
BY BLUERUSH | PERSONALIZED VIDEOAs a marketer, one of your main goals is to reach new customers and, to do this, creating content is often your clearest path to success.
At first glance, this seems like a tidy equation. You create content and you get new customers. But how much traction does your content really get outside of your first circle of influence?It’s easy to congratulate yourself for popular content when you ‘re only interacting with fans, subscribers or people who have chosen to get updates on your brand: your content is going out to those who have already raised their hand and said, “Yes please!” When you see all the likes and comments from your core audience, you can convince yourself that your content strikes a chord with everyone. But what you are actually doing is preaching to the choir, to people already biased in favor of liking your content, and so those likes and comments, while flattering, do little to reach a wider audience.
Finding your true audienceThe danger here is thinking your first circle is your only audience,Instead, the measure of success for your content needs to be how deeply it can penetrate the second circle, and then the third circle, and so forth. Anyone can connect with people who already love what you do, but how do you get beyond that first circle, to reach further degrees of separation? Simply, your content needs to be relevant not just to your core audience, but well beyond. And if you’re having difficulty reaching new audiences and attaining growth, you’ll need to have a serious look at your content strategy. Whether for your most rabid superfan or the customer who has only just heard of you, your marketing efforts should be focused on creating a more authentic connection with them. But how do you do make content that is relevant enough to connect in this way?
In short, people want to be talked to in a language they understand, about real, authentic experiences that tell compelling stories that they can immediately relate to, and on channels that they use.
Making that authentic connectionCustomer expectations have changed dramatically in recent years, and a public that is increasingly digital-savvy have turned their backs on traditional marketing tactics and channels, suspicious of overreaching, generic messages that treat them like numbers and not people. So part of making that authentic connection is knowing how and where to deliver your content in a way that will resonate with your audience; in other words, crafting messages they prefer to hear, on channels they prefer. Take banking, for instance, an industry that has access to vast amounts of information about a customer’s personal life and also one of their most important concerns – finances. With so much data at their disposal, financial institutions could easily create personalized content that addresses each of their client’s current financial needs and concerns in a way that would resonate with them; that is, content that reflects their real, authentic experiences. And yet banks, hampered by institutional lethargy and outdated mindsets, continue to bombard the public with clunky tactics, from impersonal “one-size-fits-all” messages so broad as to not resonate with anybody to flimsy envelopes with your name printed on it; neither of which screams “authenticity” or satisfies people’s preferences.
People don’t want to be talked down to. They don’t use or care about old channels. Unrelatable, fake stories and impersonal messages are met with distrust.So now that you’ve decided on the channel and have the good sense not to be impersonal, what about the substance of the content itself? What else “goes in” to your content to create a more authentic connection with your audience? Easy. The answer is you.
Authentic self, authentic contentWhen you try to be something you’re not, people smell it from a mile away. On the other hand, when you are your authentic self, you have no competition. This may seem paradoxical for, say, a large brand to have an “authentic self”, but what it really means is acknowledging and acting on your values; that is, being true to yourself. Once you do this, you get a better sense of what kind of content can reflect that authenticity: content that aligns your values with the people – both employees and clients alike – that make up your brand, and then with the real stories these people can tell about their lives, stories that also reflect your same values.
And here is why you’ll stand out: no other competitor will have the same stories that come out of aligning your values and your people.This is what makes you unique, and your first job as a marketer should be finding those authentic stories. Whether it’s a story that showcases the everyday life of executives, warts and all, or the common struggles of a particular client, you can curate, create and share content that’s not just a blatant commercial, but that shows the uniquely human side of your brand. The key to making authentic content that resonates is people. People connect more to other people than to inanimate objects or intangible products, and by focusing on human stories – with all of their pain and joy, hope and suffering – you’re letting everyone know that you value people as more than just wallets, that you can relate to them on a deeply personal level. People are your brand, because people generate great stories simply by living authentically; and great branding, at the end of the day, is just a great short story.