If you want to connect with your audience, you have to put yourself in their shoes.
Your customers are people, first and foremost. They’re individuals with wants, needs, desires and pain points. Once you understand these, understand who they are and what they want, everything else becomes so much easier.
If you have a genuine passion for your niche, the subject matter and engaging with like-minded individuals, that too shines through.
“Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life”Confucius, Twain, Anthony and lots of other annoying people
It’s still work, but if you’re lucky enough to love your work, it shines through.
I used to love going to a certain outdoors store because the attendant loved to geek out about climbing equipment. We’d trade stories, discuss products and I refused to shop elsewhere because of this connection.
He’d give honest reviews, sometimes to the point of losing an individual sale, but he made it all back tenfold as I’d return again and again.
Another excellent example of this is a friend of mine, Nazima. She manages a Cat Boutique, FurCats, in Manchester, UK.
As a small business owner and entrepreneur, she quit a steady job to follow her dream. She’s fascinated with all things feline, and so decided this was the life for her.
I’m more of a dog guy, and I’ve been in thousands of pet stores all over the world. The majority are smelly, non-descript buildings peddling the same merchandise.
Nazima didn’t want that. She knew there was a thriving community of cat lovers in her area and wanted the shop to be a retreat – somewhere like-minded people could go to share, vent and feel special about their little pets.
She wanted to connect with her audience on a deeper level.
I remember once going to the shop for a photo shoot. As I was setting up my equipment I was blown away that people would stop in just to talk about their cats. Some bought items, some just wanted to share a cute photo and then leave.
Each, regardless of purchasing, was greeted with the same warmth, enthusiasm and curiosity.
It wasn’t a deliberate marketing tactic… Nazima just loves cats. While it may not be deliberate, it is genius. From a genuine passion for her work, she’s managed to create a community. They may not always buy, but she’s now positioned herself as the go-to person for all things cat-related in the south of Manchester.
Another fantastic tool for engagement is ‘The FurCats’ Hall of Frame’.
Located on a wall near the counter, Nazima asks her customers to submit a photo of their pet. I asked why, and I loved her response:
“You know how when describing someone we love, it’s always helpful to have an image of what they look like.
When people are talking about their cats, they like to point out who their cat is. If their cat isn’t on, I’ll often ask what their cat looks like, and it’s lovely to see how accurate people want to be about their cats!
It encourages people to tell their stories.
A lot of people post pics of cats they’ve lost and, when they come in, there’s a genuine joy, catharsis, release. We mourn their loss and celebrate their lives.
People love their pets and people like to share them in a space they find safe.”
She’s built a community of people who love her shop, enjoy sharing their personal stories and who keep coming back. No heavy-handed marketing, no selling her soul… just passion and curiosity.
How can this help you?
How can you connect with your audience on a similar level?
Nazima provides value. She’s an authority in her niche and people trust her advice.
Whenever she has a new product or service, they’re more than happy to buy it. They know she’s not peddling snake oil because she’s built a level of trust that’s priceless.
How can you do the same? How can you become the person people go to when they think about X, Y or Z – that they recommend to their friends and family?
Think about the content you create, your blog, newsletter and social media.
- Are they safe environments where people go to ask questions and share their own stories?
- Do you ask questions and engage with the responses?
- Do you have a genuine curiosity and desire to help people?
Incorporate these ideas into your own content and marketing strategies and you’ll see genuine, recurring growth.
If you don’t know where to get started or you need help implementing it, you can book a free 30-minute consultation call with us where we can discuss if a VA is right for you.