This does not always come naturally to most business-minded people. It shouldn’t. When you decide to be an entrepreneur, your first responsibility is to survive. This is also known as “make money.” It takes time to build up a steady flow of revenue so you can keep the lights on. Then you can slow down to remind yourself that to be successful, you must be authentic.
Here are some quick tips to inspire you and your organization to engage with your audience:
Offer customers value beyond what you are selling them.
People love to buy things, but no one wants to be “sold” anything – a service, a product, an idea. They want to feel like they have made an investment through their own research. In order for them to trust you, they must value your opinion. Think in terms of what you or your team are an expert in and share that knowledge. You’ll quickly become a thought leader, instead of a salesman.
Believe it or not, you are probably already doing this. It’s the causes you support, the groups you sponsor, the events you attend, and the people you network with. When you and your team support and attend these intentionally, you are building community. You want to build relationships with these people – you want to know their families, their dreams and passions, and want to support them in reaching them. You are likely doing this inside your company as well, caring for and partnering with your employees.
You remember those Apple commercials showing how FaceTime can help keep families connected when overseas, in the military, and during some of life’s most memorable moments. Apple was inspiring us to stay connected. Throughout the Winter Olympics, Toyota inspires all to not give up on their dreams. What do cars, Toyotas, have to do with the Olympics? Nothing, but they want you to associate the Olympian Dream to the innovation of a Toyota.
Connect through genuine interest and entertainment.
Google does this every day with their clever and educational logo. A lot goes in to this – the research, the design, the write-up, and most have an interactive game or puzzle. You don’t have to have an entire team dedicated to entertainment but having something, one thing, that’s fun will help gain organic interest.
Encourage feedback and a conversation.
There are several ways to keep an open dialog with your customers, clients, and community. If you have social media accounts, you are heading in the right direction. Most people will only comment on something if they feel strongly in agreement or disagreement. Try posing questions to your followers or connections, to help some of your passive audience to share. You can also make people feel directly impactful by emailing or texting a survey. Make them feel inclusive by tailoring the survey or questionnaire based on certain facts you already know about them. These could include geography, industry or interest.
Chances are, you are already doing some of these. Hopefully with some of these ideas you will keep your customers “dancing” with you for the long haul.
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