We live in an automatic world where we’ve grown accustomed to receiving auto-replies and digital status updates, order summaries, invitations—without communicating with a real person.
And while automatic certainly is convenient and efficient, it can also be impersonal. Along the way, we’ve lost the human element in many of our everyday interactions. And if you’re a business owner or a brand manager, that shouldn’t be the case when you’re connecting with your customers.
We know that customers want to feel connected to the brands they support.
Humanizing your brand is essential to creating that customer-brand bond. But, if that sounds like an intimidating task, worry not. Humanizing your brand simply means being personable and intentional in communicating with your prospects and customers. It requires reviewing and realigning your content approach.
Here are a few tips to help you humanize your brand.
Prioritize Keyword Research.
Start with the golden rule, never assume that you know what your customers and prospects are looking for. Instead, do your research, finding the topics or questions your customers are searching for most. Then identify how your product or service can answer those questions, meet their needs, or solve their problems. And finally, shape your content plan accordingly. Instead of merely promoting your product, address the issues that are most important to your customers, and you’ll work toward building credibility and brand trust. After all, 50% of US consumers have left a brand they were loyal to for a competitor that better met their needs. (HubSpot) Don’t be left behind—do your legwork first!
Share Valuable Content.
A recent consumer loyalty study showed that almost two-thirds of buyers surveyed could not recall the last time a brand exceeded their expectations. At the same time, a staggering 87% of marketers believed they deliver an engaging customer experience. (Acquia)
To be sure your content is hitting the mark, do your research. And then, after you know what your customers are looking for, write for them—not for Google. Staying up to date on the latest Google content rules and algorithm guidelines is smart content strategy. But the rules are constantly changing. So, you might be rewarded one month only to be penalized the next due to changes.
While we all need to heed Google’s guidelines to help our content rank well, it’s best to steady your strategy by simply writing for your customers, not stuffing content with keywords. Providing authentic, valuable content that resonates with your audience will create a better customer experience and help you build a loyal following.
Be Transparent in Sharing Your Story.
Success in business boils down to relationships. But, again, consumers want to feel connected to the brands they support. So, work to make an emotional connection with your audience by using storytelling and narrative that draws people in and makes them feel like an insider—part of your brand family.
In an Inc. magazine article, John Hall talks about the importance of making connections and earning trust, “When people don’t know who you are or what you do, they are (understandably) hesitant to talk to you, much less do business with you. These barriers prevent individuals and companies from building relationships with their audiences. To overcome them, brands must learn to develop trust from scratch.” There’s no better way to build trust with your customers than to be honest and transparent—to provide a human element to your brand marketing.
Using storytelling is a great way to build that trust. Hall says, “In an age of irrelevant pop-ups and interruptive ads, great stories stand out from the branded crowd. Be honest about the value you can offer your audience and what your company stands for.” Read the entire article here
Using video is the easiest way to put a face and voice behind your brand. Not only is it simple (you can’t record and post from your mobile device), but it’s also incredibly practical. Here are a few recent stats.
- 78% of people watch online videos weekly, while 55% view them every day.
- 59% of executives prefer watching a video over text.
- 92% of users will share videos with others after watching them on mobile phones.
On average, video content is shared 1,200% more than text and image posts combined, making it an excellent marketing tactic for businesses that want to boost organic reach and engagement. Video brings a uniquely human element to your marketing by bridging the gap between in-person connections and static brand content.
Engage & Interact with Your Audience.
77% of consumers say they favor brands that ask for and accept customer feedback.
(Microsoft) So, start the conversation—and keep it going. Personally respond to questions, comments, and messages on social media, repost customer content, promote comments and reviews, send personal emails—not just automated replies. Making that extra effort helps create relationships with your customers and brings a uniquely human element to your brand.
Be Your Authentic Brand Self.
We know that consumers gravitate towards brands that share similar values and will even pay more for brands they trust or support causes they prioritize. Being authentic is good for business. Brands that are meaningful and viewed as making the world a better place outperform the stock market by 134%. (Vivendi) So, as you work to bring a human element to your marketing, be sure it’s consistent with your brand values. Your customers are watching.
Like most everything else in life, effective marketing requires balance. Tempering the efficiency of auto-reply customer contact with personal, humanized brand connections requires some give and take. Of course, there’s room for both in your content marketing program. But to make real-life, authentic customer connections that can help build brand loyalty and establish trust, prioritize the human element.