It’s All About Others: How to Add Value to Your Customers’ Lives
Are you like me and 91 percent of all other consumers who check their email every day?
Notice I didn’t say we read all of our emails every day. We scan the subject lines first and delete anything that isn’t personal or doesn’t look interesting, helpful, or potentially lifesaving. Those few marketing emails that remain, we click on. But if they haven’t spoken to our inner psyche within the first 11 seconds, they go into the trash as well.
“The greatest investment we can ever make is to invest our life in the life of someone else.” — Scott Lee
Whenever we meet someone new, we exchange names. What exchange do you make with the new contacts coming to your website? If what you offer interests your audience, they will usually submit their name and email address in return. Just as in everyday life, common interests lead to some of the best, longest-lasting relationships.
Send introductory emails to your organization’s personal profile.
Just make sure to keep these personal, simple, and straightforward. Also make sure you provide contact information, so that if the recipient’s interest is piqued, they know how to get more information. And don’t forget to follow up once or twice. This offers a little more information as well as developing trust; the contact will see that you aren’t a hit-em-once, fly-by-night scammer.
Be active on social media channels.
There are 2.3 billion active social media users in 2016. And the number is only growing. Get yourself out there and make yourself heard with regular content. Use your own unique brand and voice. Use relevant hashtags. Interact with your audience.
“Friendship is like a bank account. You can’t continue to draw on it, without making deposits.” — Author Unknown
Now that you’ve made a connection, it’s time to know your constituents. This requires both data mining and data tracking.
In face-to-face friendships, you don’t just exchange names and then miraculously become BFFs. There has to be a “getting-to-know-you” phase that includes an exchange of information and a building on the commonalities and synergies of the relationship.
Mine the data.
There are many ways to glean information about your new friends. But, as with all friendships, it’s going to require asking questions that show you’re interested and then listening to the answers. You might think this digital relating makes it hard to do this personably. Here’s some ideas to get you started.
- Offer choices — a variety of topics this person might wish to hear more about via email.
- Ask for more info — age range, job description, education level.
- Create a survey that would match contacts’ interests with yours.
- Offer to reveal personalized information based on a “learn-more-about-yourself” quiz results.
- Watch for a certain type of response on Facebook — likes, shares, comments, or questions.
- Monitor the click-through responses from emails you have sent out.
- Track who responds to certain calls-to-action on your website.
- Remember information you have gleaned through a phone conversation.
Track the data.
Just as in your face-to-face friendship, it’s not going to progress if you forget everything your new friend tells you about themselves. You could show all kinds of interest in their likes and dislikes. But if they tell you they like tacos and you buy them a burger . . . if they tell you their birthday is June 7 and you forget it . . . if they tell you they hate the color orange, and you buy them an orange scarf, then chances are, it won’t be a lasting relationship.
Don’t just store names and email addresses in your CRM. Every time you interact with a contact, record anything relevant. There has to be a history there, and that history needs to grow the longer a contact remains active.
Then categorize by tagging specific characteristics and grouping your contacts according to their similarities. You can start with major categories like geographics, age range, organization type, product-purchase type.
Then drill down to lesser (but sometimes just as important) special interests. This might include their favorite pet (if you are a “Rescue Stray Animals” org), their birthday (if you are a “Cards and Affection for the Homeless and Helpless” group), or the specific type of shampoo they bought (if you sell healthcare products).
As a relationship matures, we too often put less effort into it. In a way, it makes sense. We’ve reached a level of trust and understanding that doesn’t demand the same intensity of connection we started with. On the other hand, we can easily hurt ourselves and others at this point in a relationship. Don’t let anyone you’ve built trust with fade away into a neglected-till-forgotten category while you seek out new leads.
- Say thank you.
- Send out product or service or event updates.
- Ask for input.
- Don’t forget to celebrate the holidays with them.
- Offer something special, just for being a long-time, tried-and-true friend.
- Say thank you—again!
“It takes a long time to grow an old friend.” — John Leonard