2016 - the age where selfies have become an addiction and studies prove the correlation of this has resulted in an increase in mental illness and general dissatisfaction... an age where we - in a room full of interesting people - turn to beeping calendars and buzzing text messages instead of engaging in meaningful conversation or provoking a debate.
Have we forgotten how to communicate - exchanging "shoulds" for instincts?
Is trolling someone's posts on social media to argue with them the new way we are "supposed to" do things instead of sitting with them in their living room over a hot cup of coffee? Are we "supposed to" sit and beat ourselves up over how perfectly other people take pictures of what they are doing for their social feeds and self-masticate over our flaws?
Last weekend - I had to completely unplug.
- Ignore my phone.
- Ignore my email.
- Ignore my paperwork.
Running in the digital world stirs up discontentment.
- There are articles to weed through and read - most of them are regurgitated garbage.
- Interesting things to share with our audiences - that we have to find.
- There is actual work to be completed - and we face constant distractions.
It is exhausting.
While my husband let me try his new virtual reality (VR) headset I have to admit it was pretty cool. I got to "experience" an artist playing his guitar in his messy studio apartment. I honestly did feel transported - as much as I made fun of him for buying it.
I spent most of my weekend barefoot in the back yard on a simple wooden Adirondack chair, painting an ink portrait of my boys with water from their paddling pool, and listening to them laugh.
As a digital marketing expert (whatever that means) I have to ask myself - are my prospects experiencing the same fatigue?
I would argue - of course they are. How could they not? Who wants to be "out there" all the time?
Combating digital fatigue with tangible connections.
Our clients are looking for real, tangible connections. They are looking for these online, and from the brands they support. It seems counter-intuitive, but it is not. It is all about being honest with yourself and comfortable in your own skin. I'm going to share my secrets with you- but be prepared - they will change the way you position yourself in your market.
1. Understand your why.
I believe the best way to create content that your audience wants to consume is by understanding and embracing who you are as a business - understanding the "Why" you are in business - and the change you what to evoke in the world. Embrace your unique edge - the humanness of your company. Spend some time working on your vision, mission, and goals. Having a deep understanding of this, you and your team will create the brand voice you need to make a connection.
2. Understand your "who."
If you are blasting messages out into cyberspace with no understanding of who your audience is - you might as well shout into your pillow. Creating engaging, authentic content that leaves a tangible impact is hard work - why would you waste that effort? Don't do it. Think about your marketing like a conversation with your audience. How can you have a conversation without having a monologue? Speak to the things they care about. Have questions about this? Do some buyer persona research with this free download.
3. Trust your emotional responses.
I am about to get a little nerdy on you. The advances in neuroscience make for exciting opportunities in marketing. Neuroscience is the understanding of how the physical function of the brain works with psychology. For example, we know that the prefrontal cortex is responsible for decision making and is also influenced by emotional stimuli. We may think we are making "informed" decisions but the reality is that you knew what you were going to buy when you had an emotional reaction (to a sales person, a website, packaging) and you justified it with facts - whether you realize it or not.
What does that have to do with marketing? It means that if we engage our audience's hearts we will have buyers for life. Creating this connection creates brand authority. If something makes you feel gross, cut it out of your business - and be real with who you are. You'll attract a positive reaction in the prefrontal cortexes of your future fans (and get rid of those who aren't your ideal-fit clients). From there, let everything fall into place naturally.
4. Be vulnerable - be honest.
As an entrepreneur, YOU are the thing that is interesting and different about your business. Not everything comes easy. Share the struggles you have - it is refreshing. Share the achievements you have - it is uplifting. Share the things that inspire you - it is invigorating.
5. Cut the cheese.
Industry speaking - we're all guilty -but it can alienate your market. Speak in English. Have a conversation. Ask questions. Create platforms for engagement. Care what your guests have to say. Put your ego aside and engage with the PEOPLE you are trying to engage with.
Create tangible connections with your customers.
If you want to create a tangible connection - embrace your core values, your roots. How can you do this for your clients? I'm curious what you do in your business to engage your clients in a real way - online or otherwise. Let me know in the comments below.