Great. You just got your sales funnel going. Those new leads are being generated via paid advertizing, organic search and social media. People are window-shopping. What next?
You even got your product pricing right. You managed to figure what it will cost you to get clicks on your ads and still add value to your business. If they buy, that is..
Let’s get to the bottom of the buying process and build on the aspect of marketing that is least considered in online business.
In the past decades, top marketers like David Ogilvy, academics like Philip Kotler and copywriters like Joseph Sugarman will tell you there is one element behind any brand that makes it stand out from the rest – personality.
How does a brand build personality? Read on and allow me to explain.
What’s in it for you
So you’re an online marketer or a business founder. What can you do to give that cold setting of the Internet a personal feel? How can you build on all the aspects of the human brain and buying mechanism that influence decisions?
Firstly, you need to understand. You need to comprehend what has been working for you in your buying decisions since a long time ago, and observe what aspects of this are generalized to all people. This need not be on the Internet – decision triggers have evolved only slightly in time.
When you bought that car, what was it that made you feel comfortable and exchange a few thousand dollars for it?
Was there anything different going on in your head, when you bought that book for twenty bucks in the bookstore fifteen years ago? What was it that made you buy on Amazon last month?
It all comes down to the 2 T’s: Traction and Trust.
You buy from people that have proven their worth in the past. At the same time, they make you feel so much confidence in them, it would be irresistible to say no.
You’re probably asking by now – how do I make people trust me, if they can’t see me? How do I get endorsed on a webpage and build my track record?
Once you get it, take action
There is no such thing as mass marketing anymore. Courtesy of social networking and advanced customization algorithms, people now expect you to be personal with them.
Fail to deliver and make them feel like part of a herd, you’re as done as dead meat.
Begin taking seven simple steps. Leave them out or underestimate their impact at your own peril.
1. Get your people out of the office: There is no traction like the one you get in a conference or other social setting you attend. Your potential customers will love seeing the people behind the brand and keep that image in their heads for a long time. You’re already at a head start.
2. Give everyone a name and a face: At Soocial, the company I work for, our support monkey Bart is a celebrity. People keep telling us how much they love his avatar (it is pretty cool by the way..) and refer to him by name. If I happen to reply myself some times, they will almost be insulted that Bart didn’t talk to them. I guess I have to work harder on my personal brand..
3. Number two doesn’t mean just your own employees: When you have a good personal conversation, it usually involves two parties. You tackled your part, now fix the other part. People don’t like being represented by a username. They want their real name and their face up there.
Is it too intrusive, you ask? Well, if no one feels comfort in your product, of course they won’t like being associated with it. So start building on that product trust and see the results! Whenever it makes sense for your product, treat people as exactly that. Not one more username.
4. Never, ever, let a customer’s question go unanswered: So many times have I been neglected online. I can tell you that feeling of distrust never goes away. Every time I see the logo of brands whose people sucked at caring for me, I feel personally offended. What are the chances I’ll buy from it or endorse it to others?
5. Make it easy for people to reach you: A support email, a support community and a Twitter account are the absolute minimum. Make it easy for people to talk to you in their own setting. If you can, go as far as having support staff always stand-by for answering questions people ask live on your site. There are plenty of tools to make this happen today.
6. Blog. And then interact: I cannot emphasize this point enough. Blogging has been heralded for a while now and there’s a good reason to that. People love reading from experts. Be that expert in your field and they’ll never forget you.
Once again, use a name and a face. And when you’re asked something, follow up. Give that answer.
7. Show your endorsement badges: We all love making things simple in our head. Once we know someone we trust loves something, our tendency is to follow that person we respect, and love that something too. Actively seek endorsement from your customers, whether they are a brand or a person. Show your badges on your site and brag about them in your social groups. It only makes you more loveable. One pitfall here – do NOT forget to deliver on your (their) promise.
I hope these seven steps give a first understanding on what has to be done to build the mentioned two T’s for your online customers.
Remember that the unfriendly, impersonal setting of the Internet is no excuse nowadays. The big players out there have been ingenius in making their communication as personal as possible.
Follow that path consistently. Deliver on your promise and the results will be amazing.
If you like reading about online marketing and other aspects of human engagement, you can follow me on twitter @dtsakos.