Looking for a better way to engage your audience? Get personal.
After thousands of conversations with hundreds of brands, I’ve noticed something strange: Small brands are always trying to look big, while big brands are often trying to look small. I understand where each is coming from, but my advice is the same: It’s more important to make your brand seem human.
The more personal your marketing, the more likely the audience is to feel a connection to the brand, to care and to know what matters to you. Big or small, the brand that feels most human is likely to win the business.
There are so many areas to add a personal touch to your marketing, yet so many brands miss these opportunities.
1. Social Media Content
Social is a good place to start making personal connections. As a data-rich environment, the impact of engaging users is also easy to measure.
The LinkedIn marketing team does a lot of testing. Whenever you see a post by the LinkedIn team, you’re looking at either A or B in a test. They test everything and are generous about sharing results.
They tested the effects of images on social engagement and found that images with people had a 160% higher click-through rate than images with objects. People and faces make a huge difference in the ability of a social post to drive traffic to content.
Image source: How to Find Influencers on Social Media (Orbit Media)
2. Email Marketing
As you read this sentence, your target audience is receiving email. If you sent something today, your message is in the mix. But whether the recipients open it depends on three factors: the sender name, subject line and preheader text.
The sender name is another chance to be human, yet a lot of brands choose to use a company name instead of a person’s name. It takes only a minute and costs nothing to update the sender name in your email service provider. Doing so can have a big impact on your open rates.
It’s easy to delete email from a brand. It’s psychologically a bit harder to delete a message from a person. Deciding whom to name as the sender might be a challenge, but it’s worth considering. Our clients have seen an immediate 20% increase in open rates just from making this one simple change.
3. Sales Pages
Websites can feel like the empty shop in that mall that no one goes to anymore. Some sites have no faces anywhere, or—almost as bad—they’re filled with stock photos of people who don’t seem real, like mannequins in a department store.
Sales pages are some of the most important places to be human because they’re where your audience is making decisions about working with you. Here, personal connection is more important and more powerful.
Testimonials with faces of clients will guide visitors’ eyes to that part of the page. Those faces add color, emotion and visual prominence. The testimonial itself adds supportive evidence to the nearby content. A sales page without evidence is a pile of unsupported marketing claims. And a separate testimonials page is simply evidence without context.
4. The ‘About Us’ Page
I have access to hundreds of Google Analytics accounts, giving me a glimpse into the behavior of a wide range of visitors. Almost all websites have one thing in common: The “About Us” page is one of the most visited pages. Why? Because visitors want to make a personal connection.
The “About Us” page helps to tell a brand’s story, beginning with the characters. It’s the most personal part of the site, but it’s not just a “we love us” page that’s focused only on the positive. It’s not a bland mission statement, like a plaque on a wall.
Use the “About Us” page as an opportunity to showcase your organization’s personality:
- Tell the story of how the business began, including challenges and failures. Why does this business exist?
- Explain what the founders and employees believe, and what their deepest passions are.
- Show the faces and interests of key team members, going beyond what they’ve posted on LinkedIn.
Upgrading the format—from text to video, perhaps—makes the personal touch here (and anywhere) more compelling.
5. Articles and Blog Content
There are two kinds of articles: collaborative and single point of view. Unless the content is a strong opinion, original research or true thought leadership, single POV content has a natural disadvantage.
Content that features experts tends to be higher quality. Content that features influencers tends to have greater social reach. So, collaborative content that features both—also known as organic influencer marketing—is more likely to attract and engage with readers.
The difference is as simple as a contributor quote with input from an expert. To make it human and personal, add an image of the subject’s face along with a few of their credentials. This makes the content more visual and personal, two elements that help build connections with readers.
A journalist wouldn’t write an article without a source. Why should a content marketer write an article without a contributor quote?
You Are Your Difference
The other thing that all brands have in common, regardless of size, is the drive to differentiate. It’s common to complain about standing out, but one of your differences is in plain sight: It’s you and your people.
You are the only company that has your team. Proving that you’re different is a matter of showcasing who you are.