Communicating to Customers Authentically
Communicating with our customers is vital in order to help them understand what we can do for them, how our products and services can improve their lives and why they should buy from us. When we communicate, the two most important factors are the recipient and the message.
In a business, it’s vital to identify your primary target market. Who has the biggest need for your product or service offering? The marketing gurus recommend identifying a narrow segment and addressing them first.
Delivering Your Message
Once your primary target audience is identified, your message must be delivered in a clear, concise way that resonates with them. While it might be obvious to us what our offering is, remember that your customers are not in the business, or your head, for that matter. It’s important to be very clear about what they will experience when buying from you. Factors to consider are as follows:
- How do they see your product or service?
- How will they use your offerings in their business or personal lives?
- What benefit will they receive in buying your offering?
- Why is yours better than offerings from your competitors?
Standing in the shoes of your customer will help you to differentiate yourself from other, similar offerings in the market and enable you to customise your message effectively. Sometimes, it’s useful to ask friends and customers questions about how they view your organisation and its offerings. There are free tools you can use to obtain anonymous feedback that can really deepen your understanding of your brand and the segment you serve.
Now, it’s time to construct the message. There are a few things to consider, such as the tone of your message: will it be fun, humorous or is this a serious offer? It’s important that the tone of your communication matches what you offer.
The platforms you use to communicate are also an important consideration. Social media offers a variety of mechanisms for you to get your message out there. Instagram is a great way to promote products, to really let your customers get a feel of what you have on offer.
It’s a good idea to understand where your primary target market hangs out online. Let’s say you are appealing to working mothers between the ages of 30 and 50. Which social media platforms are they using? Who do they follow: maybe Crossfit, Parkrun or Pampers? Platforms like Twitter allow you to follow brands your customers follow, giving you the opportunity to connect with potential customers. Once you’re connected, you are able to communicate your message directly with the right people.
Consistency is also key. Regular communication with a theme that connects your various forms of communication together, weaves a picture for the customer of what you offer. Customers trust your brand when they hear from you in a consistent tone, format and platform. Trust can be damaged by going off the radar for a few weeks. I use an online tool to schedule posts so that I don’t get stressed out about needing to find something unique to say every day. I use Google alerts on the terms that relate to my offering and I use those articles to share with my audience.
Video is really big at the moment and it’s important to have at least a few videos, addressing your audience. Personally, I find this very hard and when I record a video, I tend to do many takes before I’m happy to release it. If you don’t like to be centre stage, it may take a little courage to put yourself out there, but it’s well worth it. Video helps your customers to get a feel for who you are and what you’re all about. It’s an excellent opportunity to build your brand and to connect with your audience.
Vision and Authenticity
When marketing your brand to an audience, it’s really important that you have a clear vision for why your company exists. Why did you start this business or why do you work there? This is a crucial aspect to maintain since it will come through in all you do relating to your brand. Do you love your company and what it offers? If you don’t, it will become obvious to your customer base in time. Sometimes we start out loving our company and we get bored. It’s important to find new ways of delivering fresh content that makes you feel connected to the reason you started the business in the first place.
How you communicate must also come from the heart. We often try to put forward our best selves and that can become a mask of sorts. I’ve received communications that seem quite fake and incongruent with the person sending them. That erodes trust and can seriously damage your brand. People tend to buy from people and authentic brands that communicate a sound message. It’s okay not to be perfect or to be a little off the wall sometimes if that’s who you are. Sometimes our uniqueness is what attracts customers in the first place. Make sure you send an authentic communication that is aligned with who you are and what you believe in.
No matter what or how you communicate, passion is key. If you have a genuine passion for your business and offerings, it will come through and your audience will love it.
Kathy Mann is a writer and speaker, based in Johannesburg South Africa. She’s passionate about building a happy life, on purpose using the tools of positive psychology. Kathy guides people towards living their best life possible through what she has learned in becoming very sick from stress. Women often feel so stretched, trying to be everything to everyone. Kathy’s here to remind you that being true to yourself, connecting with your strengths and talents, is the best way to serve the world.