Toby Moore takes us through the psychology of making your marketing strategy more human, and what difference this will make to your brand…

TobyApplying psychology and a human touch to your marketing is something that can seem complex and often as an activity reserved for large brands with big budgets. However, I really don’t believe this to be true. There are in fact some very simple things you can do with your everyday approach to marketing, which will unlock the all-important ‘human’ aspect within your brand and help you to sell more products and services. This can be as easy as changing the words on your website, or as strategic as shifting your whole approach to how you talk about your company publically. Either way, EVERY business – big or small – should be looking at the human qualities their brand represents and how it then goes about using this to create competitive advantages.

Realistically, what sort of difference can this make?

Brands are more successful when people trust them and people trust brands when they recognise likeable and genuine human characteristics in them. As markets become busier and more saturated, the vital elements required to compete in those markets change. In small markets, sometimes something as simple as availability of a product or service can be the greatest competitive advantage. As the number of suppliers in that market space grows, more competitive elements are introduced and move to the forefront such as; price, reliability, quality and trust.

So why is trust actually important and how do you use it to get ahead of your competitors? Let’s look at a real life example: About 6 months ago I decided to take on the services of a new accountancy. My needs as a small business owner are pretty straight forward, but I also know that the right accountant can do a huge amount of strategic good for my business, so it was a decision I wanted to get right first time. As with most things, I started with Google and searched for all the accountants in my area. Within a few minutes I had a short list of people and businesses to research and my main goal was to establish ‘who can I trust?’You may not think that is an easy or possible task just from Google, however I can confidently tell you that some firms had the odds strongly stacked in their favour and others definitely did not. Every accountant had a website, some of them had a full Google places listing, some of them even had Twitter and Facebook profiles and however small it might seem, this is how I made my choice. About 6 out of the 10 of the firms I researched had a simple website with a list of services and how to contact them. Another 3 had pages such as ‘meet the team’ and ‘follow us on Twitter’ (with mixed results as to how well looked after Twitter was) and so on. But the company that floated to the top a greater deal higher than the others had a website full of great advice and a strong call to like them on Facebook. So off I go to Facebook, where I found a host of videos they had made while interviewing their clients, discussing their own businesses and what made them successful. All of sudden I felt like I knew this company, I could picture the conversations we might go on to have. And as they had with the customers in the video, they would take the time to really understand my company.

This is the power of trust. Of course genuine trust takes a long time to gain, but in today’s busy online market spaces, it is so important to give yourself the very best chance of introducing your business’ personality and forming a relationship before any phone calls, emails or meetings take place.

How can you get started on improving how your online content builds trust?

It is so easy to begin marketing your company with great intentions, only to then let it quickly slip into the background. I know I am certainly guilty of this and I own a marketing company! The trick to getting past this is to ‘think big and do small”. Take the time to know where you want your brand to go in life and how your customers will perceive you against your competitors. But then also ensure that all your plans to get you there are made up of small, easy to manage steps, starting with what you are going to do tomorrow.

To get you started, here are a few ideas of different areas of your business you can begin making simple changes to in order to quickly build better customer relationships online.

Look at the language

student-849825If the goal of your website, social media or email marketing is to help customers get a better idea of who they could be buying products and services from, then what are you doing to ensure that the tone of voice you are using actually sounds like you? Think about some of the most positive and engaging customer interactions you have face-to-face. What are you doing and saying to make the discussion feel natural? How are you making the customer feel at ease, and giving them confidence in your abilities? Now read your website and work out whether the language you are using reflects these great interactions. For example, if you find yourself asking customers lots of questions when you’re working with them face-to-face – in order to learn more about them and make them feel like you care – how have you gone about replicating this as a ‘brand value’ in the content on your website? And if you haven’t, where are the opportunities to now do so?

Who are the people that make up your brand?
People like to buy from people, especially on a local level. Lots of businesses have ‘meet the team’ style pages on their websites these days, so how can you go one step further to help gain an edge on your competitors online? By bringing the voice of both the people who work for the business and your customers to the front of your online presence, you are providing your prospects with a far more genuine understanding of what choosing to buy from you really looks and feels like. Not only will this attract more customers, but it will attract more of the ‘right kind’ of customers for you. Social media is a great place to start with this; simple things such as sharing photos of the team, commenting on your customers’ content or posting short success stories you have had from your clients. If it’s something you would like to tell someone in person, then go ahead and share it online.

Ultimately, genuine trust is built through relationships. However, in today’s competitive climate, many businesses are using digital and social channels to begin that journey of trust way before any kind of face-to-face interaction. If you would like any support in putting some of these steps in place for your business, my team at Yappa all specialise in the strategies and technologies required to make it happen and we’d love the opportunity to help you become more successful in your approach marketing online.

Contact Toby via or @yappauk