Building Relationships Authentically

Building relationships with an audience requires authenticity.

One of the inevitable effects of democratizing tools for sales and marketing is the increase in the amount of noise. Because everyone can sign up for a Twitter account or send an email, we see a much larger amount of web spam. The thirst for trying to sell has turned otherwise reputable products into spam factories that use gimmicks and direct marketing tactics to get attention. It’s vanity. We don’t like being sold.

Just because it’s easier to get tools and get set up doesn’t mean you are in the game. People don’t respond to inauthenticity. It’s still about building relationships. Relationships take time and require trust. It is the same as the pre-web 2.0 days. However, the strategies and means have changed.

We work hard at our craft – helping companies build relationships with their audience. Here are some things we have learned about what that looks like today:

  • Focus on value exchange. The question to ask is “How do I provide extremely high value to strangers to earn their trust?” This is different for each market, however, it is a critical piece. Transactional consumer businesses may need to have periodic incentives. Many of the B2B businesses we work with need to provide helpful information for executives and decision makers. The key is to focus on what your prospective customer is looking for before they ever talk to you.
  • Tone down the hype. Everyone has seen amazing graphics, software and salesmen. Trying to compete on hype only builds mistrust. Instead try and be real. Use a human tone. Empathize with problems and talk about what really happens in your business and for your customers. We want stories, not hype.
  • Connect one-to-one. Every buyer is different. Treat them different and ensure your marketing systems can support engaging at an intimate and relevant level. The more personal you can make each touchpoint of communication, the more engaged true buyers will be. There’s a large difference between those that broadcast and those that try to connect personally.
  • Be consistent. You don’t have to be on every platform. In fact, this can be detrimental. It is much more management. But the mediums you do use, be sure to commit for the long haul. Much of success is perseverance. It also helps your audience to come to expect and anticipate communications.

From the outside looking in, I can understand people looking for shortcuts and avoiding the hard work. However, at the end of the day, human beings are relational, not scripted. Building relationships requires authenticity and careful thought. The mediums have their natural rules and constraints. If you can focus on these tips, then your opportunities for connection will arise. Your audience can decipher value from the noise.

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