“The most human company wins.” -Mark Schaefer
I’m a big fan of Mark Shaefer. I read his book “Marketing Rebellion” and was instantly enchanted by his message.
His emails link me to posts on his website. His articles stress the importance of customer engagement.
How can you keep the humanness in your marketing? Mark’s latest directive is simple. “Hire some real people, folks.”
That seems impossible for small businesses and mom-and-pop shops just trying to stay afloat while they simultaneously wear all the hats in their company. Between product creation, order-taking, shipping, and customer service, who has time to reply to comments and tweets?
The suggested answer is to either take the time to engage with your customers or hire someone who will treat your customers like family.
The homeschool industry is full of delightful people who feel like family. In my 20 years of interacting with countless numbers of business representatives and homeschool advocates, I made many friends. I often experienced “the warm fuzzies.”
That’s the goal of customer interaction. Even when someone isn’t thrilled with you or one of your products, it’s an opportunity to be a caring human.
So how do you accomplish this in your business?
Give your customers more of what they love: genuine warmth and human interaction.
From the first time a potential customer lands on your website home page to the moment you send the thank-you email for their purchase, you can be their guide and confidant.
When people trust you and your solutions, they willingly hand over their payment information.
Here are a few ideas you can implement in your business:
1. Greet your website visitor gently. No flashing neon, no wall of text, no leaping GIFs. Just a warm hello and a clear statement of how you can help them with whatever problem they’ve brought along.
2. Show your potential customer how to find what they seek. Your website copy should flow from one idea to the next and avoid confusion. Confused visitors will click away.
3. Give your visitor rich, relevant content that answers their questions, solves their problems, offers support, or inspires them to try something new.
4. Be prepared to give them something valuable in return for their email address or other personal information. You can offer downloadable content in the form of e-books, checklists, or how-to guides.
5. Be more than just a list of products with prices. Show how your products are the perfect solution to whatever problem brought your customer to your site.
6. Use videos and audio clips whenever possible. Put a human face and a human voice on your company to make people feel welcome and understood.
7. Be responsive to questions and answer them in a timely manner. Set up notifications so you know when someone needs attention.
8. Reply to social media comments and questions. If you think you don’t have time for this step, make time. Followers crave direct company responses. It’s human nature to enjoy being recognized.
If all of this seems overwhelming, and you feel you simply do not have the time to incorporate genuine personal interaction into your business marketing strategy, let me make a bold statement…
Do it anyway.
I had a wise mentor when I was younger who made the obvious statement, “If you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business.” He didn’t say the customer is always right, but he did say the customer is always important.
If you intend to spend any money on marketing your products and services to homeschoolers, or anyone else, set aside a portion of your budget to be human.
Find time to respond to comments and questions personally, whether on your website or your email, or your social media channels. If you can’t do this, hire someone who will be friendly and answer just like you would.
Find time to promote your solutions and offer help instead of simply putting your products on display.
Find time to turn customers into friends.
Find time to share your story, your thoughts, your struggles. Your customers will embrace your humanness and trust you for your openness.
Sometimes businesses feel they have to show a perfect face to the world. Take a chance, show your personality in spite of imperfections.
You’re more than just a catalog of things homeschoolers could buy for their home classroom. You care for your customers.
Show them. Be human.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.