At the core of content marketing – and much of the rest of modern online marketing strategy – is one of the most vital concepts: connecting with your visitors on a human level.
Why Connecting Matters.
This may seem pretty obvious, but to understand how best to connect, we need to know what the best path in doing so is if we’re going to accomplish it. And in order to do that we need to know why we’re doing it. Connecting with your audience goes beyond just having a paying transaction.
After all, a stripped-down relationship may make you money right now – today – but will you see positive word-of-mouth spread from such an interaction? If your product or service falls behind the competition, will you have a loyal core to keep you afloat until the next iteration? And if something goes wrong, will the customer seek to correct the issue, or jump straight to asking for a return?
Your relationship with your customers will determine the outcome of all these issues — the type of connection you have with your audience.
So how do you start off on the right foot, building the first layer of a connection via your website content?
Going Behind the Scenes
One of the best ways to let your audience get to know you is through transparency. Let them see the people who are making the content they enjoy, building the products they depend upon, and yes, occasionally messing up and botching an order or blowing a deadline.
When customers are able to put a face on the faceless business, they start to empathize, to understand, and to ‘like.’
Idioms aside, people actually love to see how the sausage is made. There’s a reason so many shows exist solely to show how things function behind the scenes. People get really excited to see the machinery behind the curtain, and the men and women working the levers. So use that to your advantage.
Show off the who of your business, the how of your business, and most importantly, the why. Get guests invested in you and what you do, and make them understand that their purchase isn’t just a purchase – it’s helping your company do the exciting things it does.
Honesty and Authenticity
Good connections are born of an authentic desire to connect, an effort to provide value to prospects and customers, and transparency in who you are, what you’re aiming for, and what you expect from your customers.
Of course, honesty is not without its downsides. You’ll often find that when you produce authentic content, you’re limited in who you can appeal to, what you can sell, and how broadly you can expand.
This is not, however, as serious a problem as you might think. As your reach expands, what you can offer without losing authenticity will expand as well, giving you the tools you need to connect deeply with an increasingly wide range of potential buyers.
Recognizing the Perils of Inauthentic Outreach
Wondering why I keep talking about authenticity? It’s because being recognized by your audience as inauthentic doesn’t just weaken your brand, it can destroy it completely – along with the relationships you’ve built with your customers. When people get the feeling that they’re being strung along with nonsense in the hopes that they’ll fall into the ‘trap’ of buying, they leave and they don’t come back.
And when that happens, you’ve paid to make it happen. You’ve invested the time, resources, and personnel necessary to put together the content that drove them away – you’ve spent money damaging your own reputation.
The problem becomes even more intense when your fraud occurs with a behind-the-scenes glimpse. Customers expect some degree of marketing spin when they visit the site of any company, but when you start changing up employee biographies or claiming to support causes no one at your corporation really cares about, you’re playing a very dangerous game – the kind that destroys empires.
So now you’ve seen some of the possibilities of transparency, of authenticity, of making real connections with your website visitors. And it should be clearer than ever – why leverage weak, generic nonsense when you can fill your content with emotion, with value, and with things that will resonate with your visitors long after they click away? That’s how real brands are built, and that’s how real success is cultivated.
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