I sincerely hope you’ve all had a fantastic Christmas break and enjoyed whatever it is you enjoy! For me, that was making gingerbread houses and cookies with my pre-teen daughter and soaking up the festive spirit with classic movies and getting outside!
But like all good things it must come to an end and with that, we look to the road ahead.
As we move into 2022 with our businesses, you might be thinking about the highs of the year that came before and the things you’d like to improve moving forward.
If you’re unsure about why brands are focussing on customer experience and retention, as well as bolstering their digital presence, it essentially down to a couple of things.
Firstly, since GDPR came into effect, users have the option to opt-out of third party marketing and data collection tools. Many businesses and advertisers relied on this info for their campaigns as it could tell them more about their customers’ habits than they likely knew themselves.
Another thing that pushed the digital frontier was of course Covid-19 locking down storefronts and forcing them online instead.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing though. It just means we have to change our tac a little.
Getting to know our customers directly (rather than indirectly, like through third party ads and data mining) will ultimately benefit you and your company in the long run.
You’ll create more personal connections from people that actually want to hear from you.
You’ll have warmer leads (because unlike ‘cold’ outreach, these users have chosen to keep in touch) and better qualified leads means higher conversion rates.
But if you sit back and wait for things to naturally evolve and take off then you’re in for a rude awakening. You get out what you put in, the same as anything else.
With that in mind, I’ve compiled key areas that will help take your business to the next level and some resources to find out more.
Here we go!
1. Own Your Audience
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are all great for growing our audiences and brand awareness. The only downsides are, everybody is doing it and you don’t own the content, they do.
There are literally millions of ads going out every day on these platforms which means your messages can lost on the crowd or they can become impersonal and generalised to try and catch as many people as possible in your ad spend net.
Take a look at this image showing Facebook’s annual gains:
In 2020, Facebook generated over $80 billion dollars in revenue, solely from ads!
What I’m suggesting when I say, “Own Your Audience” is that you think about more personal ways to massage your fanbase.
As mentioned earlier, GDPR has meant that a lot of us simply unsubscribe or reject companies from interacting with us; so the ones we do decide to allow contact have an opportunity to encourage our passion and retain our business.
Have a strategy for those people.
Newsletters and blog post like this one are a great way to reach your audience and grow your brand. The results won’t be as fast as spending a ton of money on advertisements but in the long term it will bear fruit.
Similarly, try and personalise your content. What works on one channel might not be the case for another. So if LinkedIn is a platform that encourages long-form posts, do that. For Instagram you’ll find that video has a much higher engagement so think of ways to utilise it and appeal to your audience depending where they are.
2. Look To Educate Instead of Trying To Sell (constantly)
There’s a famous adage — “Be the nail, not the hammer”. What this means is that if we only have one tool (the hammer) you can only get so far.
You need both to complete a task successfully.
Most of us have become resistant to hard-sell tactics over the years. The methods have long been exposed and even trivialised in film or by the media in general.
The hard-sell is all about convincing customers they need the hammer to get things done. That it will change their life. What they don’t offer is the nail, the part that holds it all together.
As a copywriter I might suggest tactics for growing your business or tips on how to make attractive headlines or USP’s. But what I’m really doing is offering you the nail. I’m saying, “Hey, if you do these things it will help your business exponentially and here’s why.”
In my world, you the reader, is the hammer.
When you look to upgrade your phone or computer or even your telly. You’re not actually being sold to in so much as being told why you should think about it upgrading.
Companies like Apple, Microsoft or Sony are excellent examples of brands educating their audiences rather than ramming it down consumers’ throats.
I own an iPhone 12 (sorry Android readers) and I have no real desire to upgrade at this point but sure, I’ve browsed Apple’s site and scanned through the blurb.
I didn’t buy but that blurb stuck with me. I understand what I’ll get with the new model, its camera and processor improvements. So even though I didn’t make a purchase (sorry Apple) they’ve done their job.
They’ve educated me and when I eventually upgrade, because they made an impression, I’ll likely go to back to their product.
Apply this thinking to your own products/service and choose to educate your customers.
3. Solidify Your Brand Image
Find out who you really want to be and start building that image for your customers.
I’ve mentioned tips on how to develop your brand in previous posts and to reiterate here, I’m talking about how your customers perceive your brand and business.
What do you want them to think when they see your name?
What are your morals and company ethics?
Are you appealing to your specific demographic or is a wider audience?
Does your brand identity and tone of voice align across multiple platforms like your website, socials and blogs?
These are the sorts of questions you’ll want to be asking as you seek to strengthen or refine brand image.
In terms of market impact and success, brand image is a huge component.
It’s all about first impressions, authenticity, consistency in your messaging, customer service and building trust with your customers. Oberlo give an excellent breakdown for exactly these attributes.
True, it’s challenging and sometimes daunting thinking about all of these things.
But it’s important to remember the why in all of this.
You want to own and operate a successful business that’s at the top of its game.
You want to build something magnificent that embodies your ideals and company vision.
You hope that one day the hard work will pay off and you can take a step back and enjoy the smaller things with more freedom, both personally and financially.
These goals are the why and it’s why we keep pushing to be better.
Embrace it, get excited, and put one foot forward.
Let’s annihilate 2022.