An open conversation helps build trust, firm-up loyalty and both sides to learn from each other.
This article is about reaching out to your audience and to get a dialogue going with them, rather than thinking you can read their minds and you know all the answers.
Nobody asks to see blog articles, or searches just to see your site or scrawls through everyone else’s name on Twitter just to get to yours. What people want are the experiences they can’t get elsewhere. In return, businesses exist to serve others.
Getting closer to someone else is more than an email where it says ‘Dear (your name)’ in a Helvetica font while the rest of an email is in Arial. Adding a name to a generic email send, does not make the world more personalised.
If you want to find a way for others to get closer to you, it is time to tailor your message to what a person wants, rather than throwing a net as far and as wide as you can.
In other words, talk to the right people.
What MoneySuperMarket Have Done
MoneySuperMarket have made that step to cull volume for relevance. They are sending 200 million fewer emails and at the same time increase revenue by 12%. They are sending to people what they want. As chief customer officer Darren Bentley said in Marketing Week, “If you focus on relevance the revenue tends to follow.”
MoneySuperMarket has moved its strategy and will only communicate with a customer when there is a clear signal of interest.
It is easy to lose sight, when you have a person’s name in front of you, who has given permission and then you completely ignore them. The fixation becomes on the collection, rather than participation.
If you want to go fishing, you have to fish where the fish hangout.
However, to many businesses, reaching out for the answer that sits within the four walls of a company looks to be the answer.
The fish don’t hangout in the fishing tackle shop.
Talking To Others Seems To Be Not Cool Anymore
Studying the recent 2019 B2B Content Marketing, Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report from the Content Marketing Institute, it looks like talking to others is becoming a thing of the past. According to the report, over 70% of B2B marketers use sales teams and web analytics to research their audience. At the opposite end of the scale, under half of companies surveyed (771 respondents) talked to their customers. Only 42% reached out and spoke to others.
In fact, the empowerment for people to participate doesn’t seem to be on the business agenda of others. When it comes to nurturing an audience, whilst email sits at the top of the medium to collate (87%), encouraging participation and involvement from others is not important (23%).
Interpreting this statistic, perhaps there is more focus on getting people through the door. When people are in there is no wallpaper on the walls and it’s crispy pancakes, not a tray of mini toad in the hole and the fish and chip on a stick and there are a pair of slippers by the door.
This presents such an opportunity to make people feel involved, whilst other businesses are more fixated on thinking they know best.
I’m sticking with this. Many businesses are more focused on getting people in, rather than making them feel as though they made the right choice and create a sense of belonging, have a read of this article where I go into more depth. When it comes to content marketing success, the report highlights that brand awareness (81%) and educating an audience (73%) are the top measurements of success. At the bottom end of the table, building a subscribed audience is less of a priority.
Let’s get people in and make them feel like they belong to something that they can’t get elsewhere.
If businesses are focused on reach but still educating others, the missing ingredient looks like the ability to make things more conversational. It can be done.
Talking & Listening Bases
Conversations happen when you build bases for people to interact.
Let me share from my own experience and what happened this past week.
The 2019 You Are The Media Conference (next May), something had been niggling away at me.
This related to offering workshops either the day before or after the conference. These would be three workshops taking place in the middle of Bournemouth. Should I go ahead with workshops, or are we not quite there yet? So, I asked the You Are The Media community (we have a YATM Facebook Group), what they thought and what they would like. The consensus was that a conference should not be diluted by asking people to do more, by giving them more choices, particularly as next year will only be year two. The end result was to make a great conference, concentrate on doing one thing well, before introducing new ‘products.’
To get good, you have to reach out. If you’re not listening, you’re not there.
If you want to fish where the fish are, you have to make sure that you have the right equipment and the appropriate fishing rod for the water you’re spending some time in. I spent a huge part of my childhood sea fishing, the rod never worked when I went to a smaller lake near my friends.
Rather than always asking within your company or become comforted that the answers are always within Google Analytics, set up conversation bases.
How Does It Work?
Rather than thinking we are always the experts, it is the act of participation that can help you get a bit closer to others.
Conversation bases are all about listening in and having those moments to make things more fluid, rather than relying on industry data.
It is this:
– Your website becomes the home. This is for others to see that you are equipped, are relevant and the basis for any relationship to be formed. It is a place to signpost others and to build association.
– Social becomes social. These are the places where people who may not necessarily be too familiar have the opportunity to build a dialogue. From the train of thought of a twitter feed, to being part of something within a Facebook Group, these are the spaces to take from for our own advantage of connecting on someone else’s space. You listen and communicate faster.
– Email makes it personal. This is where the interaction becomes one to one. For instance, I receive the most emails within a four hour window after the weekly You Are The Media email has been sent. The email becomes a currency.
For others to get the most out of what you do, so they want to spend more time, you have to question, listen and converse with others. That way you can make better judgements and the outputs are from taking on board the inputs from your audience.
When you create a real experience, the conversations we make are central. This helps garner insight, encouraged feedback and makes people feel as though their input is valued and worthwhile.
When you own the conversation and not a robot telling others what to do, this is what can help make others connect in their own way and become an ally you can both turn to. Interaction, not wanting to be seen as an expert, becomes the glue for others to stick with you.
There is empowerment in participation. Conversation is a trait that flourishes when you have the right people on-board.