Let’s start with the marketing paradox.
Living in our pacey digital world has primed us to seek instant gratification. We want warp-speed results on all fronts. And we want them in less time than it takes for Uber Eats to deliver delectable fast food to our door.
So highly motivated business human, I get that you’re hungry for a rapid return on your marketing investment. You want warp-speed sales growth. You want to wow oodles of ideal customers who instantly flock to your business and stick to like toffee.
And YET … making a success of marketing your fabulous goods and services is a lot like making slow food. It takes top-quality, sustainably grown ingredients from trusted and often local suppliers. It involves careful preparation and attentive, timely cooking. It takes flair, commitment, and patience.
Because the truth is, marketing is a long game. It’s about so much more than promoting the brilliant stuff you make or do. Marketing is about making heartfelt connections and cultivating meaningful relationships that stand the test of time.
So, if you’re keen to serve up a sustainable marketing feast so tantalising and tasty that your customers keep coming back for more, read on.
1. Establish trust and cred
As consumers, we’re inundated with options. And YET your customers are becoming more discerning and choosier than ever. Welcome to part two of our paradox.
Legions of savvy, values-driven humans want to do business with brands they can believe in. They want to be part of something bigger than the traditional transactional relationship that once defined buyers and sellers. They want to connect to you and your story. They need to trust that you walk your talk, and they’ll do their research to check this.
Top trust-building tip
Be consistently transparent and (quietly proud) about how your business lives by your values.
Examples: If your materials are local and sustainably produced, give regular shout-outs to your suppliers on social media. If your packaging is plastic-free and minimal, add this information to your products. If you’ve improved the quality of something you do in response to customer feedback, say so.
2. Nurture current customers
Shiny new customers are one of marketing’s most energising, reassuring wins, and it’s perfectly correct to invest oodles of effort in attracting them. But lavishing love and attention on your current customers is equally important. Make caring for current customers one of your marketing mainstays, and they’ll reward you with loyalty, brand advocacy, repeat business and glowing word-of-mouth referrals.
Top current customer care tip
Treat them special (because they so are) and treat them often.
Examples: Send small gifts with handwritten notes. Seek their feedback and tell them when and how you change something in response. Direct Message (DM) them on socials (voice message if that feels right) to acknowledge their comments and support.
3. Connect authentically and emotionally
A sizable chunk of successful marketing is analytical and data-driven. Hello, part three of our marketing paradox. Purchase-making humans are principally emotion-driven. They may have done a deep dive into facts and stats to compare your goodies with your competitors, and let’s not discount that. But when purchasing push comes to paying up shove, feeling and intuition play a huge part in our decisions.
If potential customers sniff that something’s not real or not quite right about how you conduct or market your business, they’re loads less likely to choose you. Conversely, if they sense that you’re the genuine article – a decent human, a bit vulnerable maybe but doing your utmost best in and outside of your business, odds on they’ll go with their gut and with you.
Top emotional intelligent marketing tip
Be generous, genuine, and empathetic with your customers
Examples: Share your ‘shoes off’ story in ways that work for you. If you’re brave and confident enough to post short, funny, slightly self-deprecating videos, do it. Give grumpy, reticent, quirky customers the benefit of the doubt and be kind and patient. We can never know what’s going on in other’s lives or heads, but it may have little to do with us and what we’re offering.
4. Enlist brand ambassadors
If you’ve read thus far, you’ll have a fistful of handy tips on how to do heart-driven, human-centred marketing. Acting on any of them will help your marketing grow legs, cred, and longevity.
Enlisting the support of Brand Ambassadors - customers who feel a deep affinity for your brand and business will amplify your marketing effort and reach.
Humans with whom we have heartfelt connections are almost always happy to help. You’ll certainly have a number of these among your lovely loyal customers. These people believe in and love what you do and are willing to spread the word, share their experiences and engage with your social media audience to answer questions and confirm their choices. Brand ambassadors are brilliant referrers and powerful allies in your marketing journey.
Top tip for recruiting brand ambassadors
Create a way to identify and reward customers who refer others to you.
Example: As soon as you discover someone who’s referred a new customer to you, phone them or send a thank-you card and a small gift. Acknowledge customers who consistently support you on social media and tag them in posts or invite them directly to contribute to discussions and commentaries.
5. Practice patience and take the long view
So yep, marketing is a long game best played with passion, purpose, and patience.
In a digital universe dominated by fleeting trends, making heartfelt connections will give your business relationships the stability and depth they need to thrive. Building those connections takes time, effort, and persistence.
Build trust, nurture genuine, emotionally connected relationships, and empower your brand ambassadors. You’ll create a marketing strategy for a successful, sustainable business that enriches the lives of your customers and your community.
Top patience and perspective tip
Build your marketing strategy on a foundation prioritising authenticity, empathy, and creating relationships that stand the test of time.
Example: Make sure your marketing strategy has superb and doable goals.
Not sure how to play the marketing long game and build and sustain momentum?
Get in touch. Together, we’ll lift your game. Book a call.