Whether you dedicate hours every week to your social media content, or you’ve outsourced marketing completely – you may feel lost when trying to strategize your overall message. How much time should you spend “selling” your product or services, versus more general “brand awareness” marketing? Should you invest in an influencer marketing campaign, or try Facebook Ads? Is direct mail still a thing?
Before deciding how and where you will invest your time and money, remember who you are trying to reach – people. Amidst global pandemics and political unrest, it can be more difficult than ever to get – and keep – people’s attention. In essence, connecting should be your primary goal. Creating relationships between people and brands by demonstrating shared purpose and commonality can create connections that LAST. Your target audience may not be able to buy now, but by making genuine and authentic connections, when they can purchase, they will purchase from you. By simplifying and humanizing your marketing to your clients, you’ll ensure that whatever you’re doing on whichever platform you choose will make lasting impact.
It’s about connection.
In an era of social distancing and quarentining at home, we are seeking out person-to-person contact to remind us that human connections still exist! Your only interactions with friends may be on a weekly zoom happy hour, and many are spending more time than ever on social media just to interact with others. This is a HUGE opportunity to insert your business into day-to-day conversations. When we are able to interact with brands the same way we interact with our friends & family, there is an opportunity to connect on a much deeper level. Try posting more content that’s interactive and that fosters conversations with your audience. Ask them what they are watching, reading, cooking… ask what their biggest struggle is right now. You may find more engagement than in previous times, because people are hungry for interaction.
Serve before you sell.
In order to be relatable and not totally tone-deaf, you do have to acknowledge the current climate. If you don’t, your marketing will miss the mark. Telling moms to “treat themselves” to a spa day without acknowledging that some mothers don’t have childcare for work hours, let alone free time, won’t have your overwhelmed audience booking any appointments. Research what is going on with your target audience and speak directly to their experience. A campaign for a local spa or salon designed around acknowledging mothers’ hard work and sacrifice, reminding them that they are worthy of self care – and perhaps partnering with a local babysitting or caregiving group – shows that you are trying to serve your audience, not just sell to them. Travel is another industry that has been deeply affected by the pandemic, but companies who are leveraging their brand’s voice to acknowledge the situation, but still provide content that’s educational and engaging are the ones who will be flooded with inquiries once it’s feeling safer to fly. Be in the moment with your audience, showing them that you care about what they care about.
The beauty of marketing rooted in humanity is that it does not have to cost much. Grassroots, raw campaigns will be much more relatable than over-produced, curated content.
For example, Influencer marketing campaigns can replace big ad spend campaigns by taking the broader message and making it more relatable. Getting “old school” with your marketing by remembering your local communities, and simply showing up to support and serve others is an often overlooked marketing tactic. You will always get better ROI when your marketing campaign is based on genuine human connections – placing an ad in the paper without establishing a community presence might fall flat, but if you spend time on social interacting with local businesses and local community members, inviting people in to your business, connecting others and sharing like-minded businesses, the ad in the paper will reinforce your hard work.
It can often feel exhausting trying to think of the next big great marketing idea. I’d challenge you to stop thinking that way, and think instead about what your audience is currently going through, what they need, and how you can help. How can you show up and show your humanity?