Northwest Business Magazine

Engagement is Best When the ‘Ring’ is Genuine

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Small-Business Marketing Strategies: Romance and business relationships aren’t really so far apart. Follow the metaphor: Both require a genuine connection.

Romance and business relationships are not far apart when it comes to making connections. In both cases, engagement is best when the connections are genuine.

Follow my metaphor. Wooing a friend or romantic partner is similar to wooing a customer. Demonstrating your finest in appearance, talent and service makes engagement more likely.

Business leaders seek to engage clients through many outreach methods. Social media, direct mail, personal sales, telephone calls, billboards, broadcast and, of course, print media all work to communicate a message.

Combining multiple channels of media in your campaign can exponentially increase your impact and elevate the frequency with which someone experiences your message.

Outreach strategies for business often neglect a critical factor necessary in engagement – one that’s critical in relationships, too: authentically understanding and connecting.

Robo-call techniques use area codes and exchanges that match the prospect being called. The expectation is that the person looking at the unidentified number decides to pick up because the number might be someone known. The “ring,” however, is not genuine; it’s a fake “friend.”

Blanket direct mail promising prizes, extreme discounts and offers too good to be true are found to be misleading.

Social media contacts, posing as friends, can influence purchases. It is important to know if those who influence you are authentic or paid for their endorsements.

Authentic outreach to customers may take more effort, yet the results of genuine engagement usually create connections that endure and bear fruit.
Cultivating a business partnership that both sides will value requires two components. First, understand the mindset of your target audience; then, demonstrate your true interest in serving their needs with real solutions.

Try engaging someone who solves problems professionally by presenting them with puzzles. Engineers, attorneys, accountants and researchers embrace word puzzles, find-what’s-in-the-picture, and Sudoku. Toss a typo at any writer and they can’t resist telling you about your mistake… another engagement device. Once attention is garnered, deliver a message of value.

Babies and puppies are irresistible to most people. Companion Animal Specialty & Emergency (CASE) Hospital in Crystal Lake discovered an annual pet calendar multiplied its social media activity by 300 percent.

CASE Hospital invited Facebook followers to submit a photo of their pet for a “people’s choice” pet calendar. Precious images of canines and felines were submitted and voted upon by each pet lover’s posse. The result on social media was more than 300 percent more than any previous engagement. And, many new visitors “liked” the page and stayed on long after the contest concluded.

Be more deliberate in engaging your clients and prospects. Dig deeper into your creative mind to discover what your best clients need and want. Deliver a message that truly connects with what’s important in their business life.

There is always another vendor that is cheaper, faster or better. Tell your audience a story that clicks with them, because that is a genuine message about why you’re in business and what you care about.

People can buy products from anyone and anywhere. Yet, they prefer to make purchases from real people. People they trust. People who care to give great service, sell a great product and forge an enduring relationship.

The right media message provides the opportunity to expand awareness, build your story, and connect with a geographic network of businesses and community leaders.

Get engaged with your best customers, clients and prospects. When you reach out to connect, be sure you are genuine.

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