Make it personal, make it meaningful

I was asked to write a short post for a marketing company and came up with this piece. It’s a little more of a marketing piece that my usual writing but was partly a product of some thinking I’ve had (and seen online) lately about how blogs and social media services can work together quite nicely.

Your customers are bombarded with an increasing amount of marketing material. As a marketer, your job isn’t just to deliver a message to potential customers, it is to capture their attention and persuade them to take more of an interest in your brand than the next. The challenge with conventional spray-and-pray marketing campaigns (you know, the ones where you point your email campaign at a massive database and hope 0.something percent of them receive and open the email?) is that it all just looks like spam unless you have somehow distinguished yourself from the rest of the maddening crowd.

Social media is based on the premise that “markets are conversations” and represented a departure from a marketing style which offered “any color, as long as it is black”, metaphorically speaking. Social media promised a different, more meaningful way to engage with your customers: involve them in the sales process, offer them more personal service and options and reap the benefits of a loyal fan base.

Blogs introduced a more authentic voice, a sort of rebellion against corporate-speak. Twitter shortened your posts to 140 characters and, in return for giving up room to expand on your ideas, you gained the benefit of Twitter’s immediacy. Facebook didn’t confine itself to Twitter’s short post length but it brought you even closer to your customers because you could talk to people who had already expressed an interest in your brand. Since then, various other services have offered you ways to connect through images (Pinterest), convenient multimedia sharing with easily customisable blogs (Tumblr) and branded chat (WeChat). In the decade and a half since blogs broke the marketing mould, marketers have gained numerous other ways to connect more personally and more meaningfully with people who have told you that they are interested in what you have to offer them.

Content remains the most compelling option for engaging marketing campaigns and blogging experienced a digital renaissance in 2014 because it is a perfect medium for your content. Your social media channels have become extensions of your blog, personalized to suit your customers’ preferences based on how they want to connect to you and your content. You are perfectly positioned to engage more meaningfully with your customers and the best way to ruin what could become a sustainable relationship is to fall into the trap of dumping generic content on them, hoping for that infinitesimal conversion rate.

Your key to a successful engagement with modern consumers is to make it personal. You know who your customers are, talk to them directly and keep it relevant and interesting. Don’t become just another spammer, build relationships.

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