If we’re to believe everything the marketers tell us, when it comes to growing our business, we’d be focused on the size of our audience far more than we would be focused on the people behind those numbers.
Rather than deepening our connection to our audience, we’d simply be focused on growing it. Our focus would be on our mailing list, our Instagram followers, our Facebook likes and our sales conversions rather than engagement, connection, service and impact.
The thing is, the tactics we so often hear from marketers about how to persuade (i.e. manipulate) people to buy from us have become so overused that many people are not only getting wise to them but they’re also sick to the back teeth of them.
For the conscious business owner who really doesn’t want to operate in this way, it can be tricky to know what to do. I’m here to tell you that there is another way.
In this article I want to share with you six ways to genuinely deepen the connection you have with the people in your audience. A goal far more worthy, for many reasons, than hitting some imaginary magic number.
The truth is that you can have thousands of subscribers and/or followers at the same time as having little or no engagement and worse still little or no sales. Which means that you and your business are not having the impact you want to be having on the world.
1 – Be of service to your people
Being of service has become a bit of a cliche in the online world lately, but when being of service is a place that you come from rather than a strategy you use to sell, it can, not only help you to connect on a much deeper level with your audience but also has you feeling good in your soul about what you do on a daily basis.
So, what does it mean to be of service to your audience?
- It means having a genuine desire to support the people in your audience and to see them succeed whether they buy from you or not.
- It means putting the person you’re engaging with before the sale. I.e. not selling to them when you know that your product or service can’t or is unlikely to truly help them.
- It means showing up for your audience with an intention to serve rather than to sell.
- It means sharing with your people the very best resources for their needs, even if they aren’t your resources.
2 – Stop manipulating your people
Effective marketing has become synonymous with manipulation. Most marketing techniques that we’re encouraged to use to grow our business are techniques in manipulation. If you truly want to forge a deeper connection with your audience, stop trying to manipulate them into buying from you.
So, how do we manipulate in marketing?
- We use false scarcity to get people to buy now.
- We play on people’s fear of missing out to get them to buy now.
- We use charm prices ($197 instead of $200) to make people think they’re getting a better deal than they are.
- We offer freebies and then ask for an email address in return (so not really free after all).
- We focus on and dig into our audience’s pain points as a way to get people feeling so desperate that their only choice is to buy our product to relieve their pain.
3 – Get to know and deeply understand your people
I can’t tell you the amount of times, I’ve had people ask me (as a business coach) whether or not their new product or service is a good idea. I’ve no idea is my first response. Have you asked your people if it’s what they want or need? My second.
Many entrepreneurs make the fatal mistake of failing to consult their audience before they spend time, energy and sometimes money creating a new offering. Build it and they will come is not a sound strategy.
Take time to regularly connect with your audience to better understand what it is they may need from you and your business. There doesn’t need to be any second guessing, you can literally come out and ask them.
One way I like to do this when contemplating the creation of a new offering is to offer up 10 x one-hour slots to my audience, half an hour of which we’ll use for Market Research (where I’ll ask questions about what they need help with and how my proposed product might support them with that) and I offer the other 30 minutes as space for the person on the call to ask me anything they like (in the context of business coaching) as a thank you for their time.
I’ve never had a problem filling these slots and what i’ve found is that people actually like to be consulted, give feedback and to be heard. Funny that.
4 – Create and share truly useful and meaningful content with your people
Content is another thing that can be used as a strategy to sell or that can be used in service to your people and therefore foster a deeper connection.
We can either create content that is genuinely useful for our audience or we can create content with the intention to sell on the back of it. We’ve all been on the receiving end of an email sequence or free video series which has been cleverly designed to leave us wanting to buy at the end of it.
Don’t do that if you want genuine connection with your audience. People are not stupid, we all know when we are being marketed to. We all know when content is genuinely useful.
The thing is these days that genuinely useful content is so rare that when we stumble across it, it can feel like finding an oasis in the desert.
Be that oasis for your people.
5 – Regularly check your intention
Whenever you take action to connect or communicate with your audience, I encourage you to check your intention first. Is your intention to sell something here or is it to provide something useful and free.
It doesn’t matter what your intention is (although of course we’re looking for purity in our intentions), what matters most is that you are aware of what your intention is and that you proceed with clarity and transparency about that intention as you communicate with your audience.
“When intentions aren’t pure in marketing, our conscience feels it — there’s a conflict within us that weakens the potency of our message — and our audience feels that something is off even if they can’t put a finger on it.”
~ George Kao
6 – Sell with transparency
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t sell to your people. On the contrary, I think making sure that you sell to your people on the regular is hugely important for your business and your audience. How else will you build a sustainable business and have the impact you want to have on the world.
What I am suggesting, however, is that you are transparent about your selling and you don’t try to mask the fact that you are selling under a guise of serving.
One way I do this is to have one email a month that I send to my subscribers that is dedicated to selling my products and services. It’s called “What’s on offer this month” and right off the bat, it’s clear to my subscribers that they’ll receive an email like this each month and that when they open the email, they know that what it contains are details of my paid offers.
Rather than trying to figure out how to subtlety mention my products and services in such a way that my audience won’t feel like I’m being salesy, I’ve found much more freedom and ease from simply separating out when I’m creating content to serve, educate and empower and when I’m selling to my audience and then clearly communicating this.
Fostering a deeper connection rather than going after the numbers and the sales helps you to grow a meaningful, impactful and deeply satisfying business that is much more likely to be sustainable in the long term.
About the Author
Our Business Club expert Caroline works with inspiring individuals who want to change the world. She supports inspired people who have a track record of taking action, a vision to create something of impact and a desire for a straight-talking coach to help them get where they want to be, in business and in life.