No contemporary marketing strategy is complete without the inclusion of digital marketing. Today with 40% of the population of the world using the Internet in multifarious ways there is really no question whether digital marketing actually reaches potential customers.
However, with all businesses trying to outdo each other in communicating digitally with customers, they are tending to lose out on the personal appeal that conventional marketing communication used to have. This is primarily because in their haste to climb on to the digital marketing bandwagon they get focused only on the techniques of digital marketing and miss out on the human touch that is the base of effective salesmanship.
When digital marketers just focus on the mechanics of digital marketing tactics, they risk losing out the warmth and personal appeal that is responsible for earning respect, garnering viral followings or providing the very personal appeal that serves to connect with the customer on an emotional level to successfully commercialize the opportunity.
There is no substitute for a human touch or personal appeal, irrespective of the amount of money, innovation, techniques or marketing tactics.
How To Personalize Your Digital Marketing
It is simply not possible to effectively communicate with someone unless you know who he is. You need to know his demographics such as the gender, age, education, income, occupation, etc. as well as his psychographics that comprise his interests, opinions, and preferred or disliked activities. There are quite a few way of getting to know and understand your customer.
You can opt to create a marketing persona that is a real model of the target customer. The process of creating personas involves using a mix of raw data and approximation about the customer who is likely to use a product or a service. The purpose of creating these personas is to provide a reference point for creating content that is more relevant and appropriate. Creating names and backgrounds help marketers to relate better with actual customers with similar profiles.
Among the most accepted ways of gathering more information about customer demographics and behavior is surveys. A well-executed customer survey will be able to throw extremely valuable light into how and why customers behave as they do and yield correlations with their demographics such as age, education, gender, etc.
This personal insight can assist marketers to not only customize their products and services but to shape the contours of their marketing plan and communication techniques. Since personal gathering of information can be quite limited you will find successful brands making use of bulk email marketing services to send out survey questionnaires to their target audiences.
The Importance Of Meeting Customers in Person
Marketers can never be successful if all they do is to construct profiles and analyze the survey data without meeting customers in person. Most successful brands attribute the reason behind their popularity to meeting customers in person to understand them better regarding their behavior and aspirations.
Another good way of lending your digital marketing a more human touch is to involve actual users of your products into your marketing team. Invariably they will have certain insights into how the minds of customers work that will have escaped the marketers. There are quite a few companies that only consider candidates who are actual users of their products eligible for employment, as these employees instinctively understand better what the customer needs and desires.
Personalize Your Brand by Employing a Personal Spokesperson
The fundamental mistake that most digital marketers make is to completely dehumanize their marketing communication. Somehow they get into a trap of thinking that the medium being digital, customers will only appreciate a robotic approach. Nothing could be further from the truth as in the real world the person you want to impress is a real human being. Consequently the marketing approach needs to be human, approachable, down-to-earth, intimate and completely understandable.
The most effective digital marketing campaigns are structured around real people with real names and identities who interact with customers in the online media such as blogs and email. It doesn't really matter what you call them - they could be your brand managers, spokespersons, content creators or even customer happiness engineers - as long as they are real people reaching out to customers in a personal way, the foundations for marketing success are in place.
Instead of receiving an impersonal email, you would react far better if the person sending out the mail has a real name that you could relate to. The recipient feels that there's a real person taking to him directly. Even if your brand does not have a central figure like this, you can involve your existing customers to participate using guest posting. Many companies have found great success with this technique.
Don't Just Post on Social Media But Interact
A whopping 93% of businesses include social media in their digital marketing mix but make the mistake of just using it as yet another publishing platform than an invaluable opportunity for interacting with customers. Imagine a situation where a business uses its Twitter account just to publish 140-character posts a few times a day and another situation where the same business used the platform for replying to customer feedback, asking for user experience, retweeting announcements and news of importance, etc.
If businesses are intent on harnessing the power of the social media, then they should stop treating it as a platform for one-way communication and instead start interacting with customers and the public to create a platform that engages with them and touches them in a very personal and human way.
Connect With Your Customers
Customers simply love it when big businesses recognize them and connect with them in an individual and personal way. When a company does this consistently it is rewarded with a greater level of engagement and an enhanced level of loyalty. To create the personal connect, businesses should avoid referring to their customers as just customers.
Instead, they should coin a term that is unique such as "team", "fan" or even "tribe" to create more appeal. Use methods that are customer-centric on digital platforms like thanking them for retweeting, or publicly appreciating the contribution of fans, etc. When a customer is acknowledged by a brand as a real living entity, he connects with the brand as an equally real person and not an impersonal transactional entity.
Infuse Emotion and Excitement Into Your Communication
It is also a very good idea to infuse your digital marketing communication with emotion as human beings are emotional creatures that behave and transact using their emotions, instead of logic as most would automatically presume.
Marketing communication that infuses the elements of storytelling using action, excitement, relationships, education, etc., rather than just cold hard facts is likely to be more successful in achieving its aim.
Digital platforms have given businesses and marketers an enormous reach and the ability to connect with customers on an individual level. Businesses should not take this advantage for granted but try to mold their brand as if it is a human being trying to talk and engage with other real human beings in an open, transparent, friendly, and outgoing way. Businesses should not permit their brands to hide behind a digital façade and become impersonal and mechanical entities.