When you see an old friend, do you give them a handshake or a 'bro hug'? Of course, if you’re under 30 years old, you give them a hug to let them know that you’ve missed them and you appreciate them. It's more intimate than a traditional handshake.
What's a 'bro hug'? It’s a visible sign of an ongoing relationship. You give one to a close friend or family member, someone who you know fairly well. It also carries with it the implication that, "I'm on your side. I’ve got your back. You can count on me!"
Have you ever considered giving your customers and prospects a bro hug to show them how much they're appreciated? I'm not suggesting that you literally hug them, but to do so in the way you communicate with them.
Think about it... many companies still do the functional equivalent of standing on a chair and shouting at their customers and prospects. They make very little attempt to maintain ongoing relationships with them, but instead focus on transactions – closing the sale. In today's world of empowered customers, that antiquated model of communication is simply too formal and non-personal.
So, what's a successful way to communicate?
Consistent, ongoing, helpful communication that builds a relationship and establishes trust over time. Content that educates, informs and inspires is an awesome example. This customer-centric style of communication improves the odds that when a prospect is ready to buy, he or she will consider your company first.
To solidify a back and forth dialogue with their valued audience, successful marketers arrange events: open houses, webinars and training sessions, or they use surveys and focus groups.
How can you reach out with both arms and give your target audience a big 'ol bro hug? Here are several ideas:
- Ask your audience for feedback regarding their needs on a regular basis. Look for opportunities to have one-on-one conversations and build relationships with them at industry events. Get them involved in contests, crowdsourcing campaigns and surveys.
Here’s a great example of communicating with your audience that John Deere engineered:
At a trade show, the global equipment giant debuted the "Chatterbox," a portable structure styled to resemble a piece of heavy equipment where customers could "talk back" and really give a piece of their mind to the company. This strategy was wildly successful, and was followed with an extensive marketing campaign that proclaimed, "We listened to you. Here's what we did with what you told us."
- Make it easy for your audience to ask questions. One of our clients has a website with an extensive knowledge center that is highly valued by its customers worldwide. One key to its success: A search form centered at the top of their web page, inviting interaction. Other companies add a live chat feature to their website, enabling potential customers to talk to a human being and get answers to their questions. It's all about initiating dialogue!
- Use a conversational style of writing and communication. It's okay to be a little bit informal and conversational because it makes your audience feel like they’re dealing with real people who care – not a faceless brand.
- Provide a consistent, ongoing and helpful stream of communication to your audience, focusing on their needs, preferences and aspirations – not on your company’s new product and service enhancements.
If you need help creating this type of customer-centric communication, please contact us. We’d love to chat with you.
(See how that works, bro?)