Do you either struggle to sell or find selling leaves you cold and empty? Then you need to build a better connection with your customers!
Building a connection with your ideal customers, not only helps you make more sales, but it feels more natural and less ‘icky’. Find out the two things you can start doing today to build a stronger connection with your customers and make everything flow more easily in your business…enjoy!
The two things you need to do are:
- Build a brand with meaning
- Nurture your customers – by example by emailing them regularly
Listen to this podcast episode or check out the transcript below for the full tutorial.
Hey there. So today we’re going to talk about one of my favorite topics. And that’s how to connect better with your ideal customers.
How do you make that connection with your customers that’s so strong that they buy from you without hesitation and they feel good about it?
That connection helps you to feel good about selling because you know you’re serving them. And there’s no icky kind of you feel like you’re selling your soul. You just don’t feel like that. You feel like you’re serving your customers and they love you so much. They recommend you to all their friends. And that’s how deep the connection is.
Isn’t that all where we want to be? We want to be at a place where we are selling something that feels good for us, but also we know that it’s enriching someone else’s life. We know we’re helping someone. And having that kind of connection with your customers can really make everything flow so much more easily.
But how to get that connection?
Well, I’m going to talk about two ways in this podcast episode that you can get that connection and really build that connection with your ideal customers.
The first one is to build a brand
Don’t turn off when you hear the word ‘brand’. Bear with me. Yeah, you can just make a product and sell it. It doesn’t have to be about emotion. It doesn’t have to be about connection. But there’s no meaning to that. It won’t make you truly successful as a seller, and it also won’t make you truly successful as a human being. You won’t feel right – it will feel so transactional. It will feel empty. If you really want to truly feel like you are serving your customers and you want them to keep coming back time and time again and love what you do, then you need to connect with them on a deeper level.
So first of all, let’s talk about brand. Now. I get it. Brand is something that so many creative people, so many small business owners are resistant to. And I completely understand why. We hear the word ‘brand’. And automatically our mind switches to huge brands, huge faceless brands that we might or may not buy from. But we don’t want to be like them. We’re artists. What individuals? We’re not a brand. You’re a person, a real-life person who has passions and quirks and a personality. And I get that, I really do.
But there’s a lot of misunderstanding about the word brand, because it’s not a word that’s solely reserved for those big, huge companies.
Yes, they have brands. They are brands. But so are you and me. Even on a personal level. You and I are brands in our own right. Your business is a brand. And that’s because a brand is simply a feeling. Brand is simply a feeling that people have about you or your business or whatever it may be. So whether or not you want a brand, you definitely have one.
This isn’t something that you can shy away from
It’s not something that you can hide from. And actually, it’s something that’s really powerful that you can use to your own advantage. You just need to be really intentional about it. So that’s probably going to take a little bit of time to get your head around, if you’ve never thought it that way before.
Just think about the brands you know. And I’m not just talking about those big faceless corporate brands. I’m talking about the people that you buy from, maybe someone you’ve bought from an Etsy, someone you’ve bought from on Instagram, someone that’s handmade a product and you felt connected to it and you bought it.
Why did you buy it? How did you feel connected to it? Why did you feel that connection? A great example of this is a brand I saw the other day where it was someone creating handmade sewn products to make people feel better. And the whole ethos around their brand is making people feel better. That’s a great brand value to have. That’s something that people connect with because it’s a feeling. It’s making you feel better, and raising awareness about mental health. It’s about making us feel more positive.
There needs to be a deeper meaning to your products, to your brand, than just someone buying a product.
Someone’s not going to get emotional about buying a product. They’re getting emotional about buying into a brand, into a feeling. They don’t get emotional because they’re buying a Tunnock’s Teacake to chomp on, they get emotional because it reminds them of when they were 6 years old and their Nanna used to always hand them one from a big flowery biscuit barrel when they went to visit. They want to feel a certain way, and that’s why they buy from you. So what is it that your customers get from you emotionally when they buy from you? Have a think about it.
The other misconception people have about brands is that a brand = logo
“A brand is a logo”. And, “A brand is a colour palette”. I hear this all the time. I hear this all the time in communities, in Facebook, groups, on Instagram, everywhere. People say, “I’m sorting my brand”, meaning “I’m sorting my logo”. “I’m getting my logo designed.” Or, “I’m getting my colours designed”. Brilliant. I’m so pleased because they really are great things to do. But here’s the thing. They don’t mean anything unless you’ve thought about what’s underneath them.
Think of your brand like an iceberg. We all know icebergs are huge, and we only see a tiny little bit at the top of the water. But what’s really going on? The foundation is right underneath, and that’s where most of the brand is: the mission, the purpose, the values. The tiny bit you see on top? That’s the logo. That’s the colours of the brand, and the visualisation of the rest of the brand. It’s basically the visual representation of all that stuff under the surface that you can’t see.
So when you see a logo or brand colors, they should be there to represent the rest of the brand. They’re the bit of the brand iceberg that you can see.
What’s in the rest of the brand? We’re talking about your brand purpose. What is your purpose? What are your values? What’s your mission? What are you there to do? So, for example, with the business I spoke about a second ago, a handmade business that creates products to promote positivity, positivity is going to be one of their values. You really need to get clear on why you’re here, what you want people to feel, what your purpose is, what your values are before you can create that visual identity.
One of my values is to energise. I want things to be fun. I want to give people energy. So lots of my brand colors are vibrant. They’re bright, vibrant, punchy colors that I want to use to give people energy. Now, if I’d have just gone away and thought, oh, my brand colours. I quite like minty green, which I do. I quite like pink together. They’re going to be my brand colors. That’s brilliant. But it doesn’t say anything about who I am. It doesn’t say anything about the feeling I want to portray with my business and what I want to achieve, which is to create energy and help people to be positive about their businesses.
That’s why I have lots of bright, vibrant colors. Are they my favorite colours in the world? No, but they are colors that I feel resonate with my brand, which is why I’ve chosen them.
So first of all, you need to really think about your customers. Think about what they get from you. Why do they truly buy from you? And no, if you create pens, it’s not to buy a pen. It may be partly to buy a pen, but if you sell pens with positive statements on them because they want to feel positive as they start work every day, that could be your purpose. To bring positivity to people in their working days (not necessarily to just provide pens) which is a useful thing to do, but it needs to be more than that. If you really want to connect with your customers on a deeper level, you need to provide more than that.
So, have a think. What do you truly give your customers?
And that’s the first way to really connect is to really go away, think about your brand, think about your purpose. Think about your values. Think about what your customers get from you emotionally and then create a logo or create colors that represent that purpose and just create that foundation.
And this is not something that’s one and done. No, this is something that constantly evolves. It’s something I keep looking at every so often just to refresh myself. And it’s good to keep back and go re-evaluating because the first time you sit down, you might not get these answers. It might take a few times of sitting down, and then you might be in the shower or on a walk and suddenly say, oh, yes, I know what my purpose is. I know. But these are things that you have to think about.
If you don’t think about these things, then you’re never going to get that deeper connection with your customers.
Another great exercise is to look at the brands you love. Look at the businesses you admire. What is it about them that their customers connect with?
When you see a business that does really well and its got hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram, it’s generally because they connect with their audience in some way. They are providing some kind of emotional support or connection with their audience and just have a look and see what you think that may be or how they are doing that, because I find it absolutely fascinating.
So that’s the first way to build a connection with your audience – to have that brand foundation in place, have that purpose, and those values actually stand for something in your business.
And the second important thing to do is to nurture your customers, to build a relationship with them.
It’s so important to build a relationship with your customers because the first time they see you, they’re probably not going to buy from you. Most people need to see you or have contact with you seven times on average before they make a decision to buy. Which is fine, except if they just see you on Instagram once, they’re probably not going to buy from you. And if you don’t build that connection, then they’re never potentially going to buy from you. It’s really important that you build and nurture that trust. And how do we do that then? Because we don’t have control over the algorithm. We don’t have control over how many people see our posts. We might put something out there once, but we have no guarantee that they’re going to see it seven times.
The best way, the easiest and the simplest way to nurture your audience and your customers is simply to email them.
I always say that there’s no email list algorithm. You have complete control with email. I don’t want you to switch off because email is not as hard, it’s not as complicated as you might think it is. I email my customers every single week, (apart from last week when I had Covid, and I think they can let me off because of that). And it only takes me half an hour a week, half an hour to write an email. Now try telling me you spent less than half an hour a week on Instagram and I won’t believe you because it can be a time sucker.
Email marketing doesn’t have to be hard
But email is all about connecting. It’s about building that connection with our audience. It’s so valuable, and we’ve got complete control over it. Instagram could go down tomorrow. Facebook could go down tomorrow. The algorithm could change. So we would never get a chance to see our customers or our audience would never get a chance to see us. But we could still email them. We can still email them. All we need to do is to build our email list with our ideal customers on and speak to them regularly.
Emailing regularly is really important because so many people start email lists and then say, “Oh, it’s too hard. I’m not going to email. No, I’m not going to email. I’m not going to email.” But remember why we’re doing this. We want to build a connection with our audience. We want to nurture that relationship with our audience.
You have to email regularly.
I email weekly, and I recommend you do that. If you really struggle with that, then try to send an email twice a month. And it’s totally doable. I’ve had students I’ve taught to build their email list and to write emails really simply. And they’ve come on my course being terrified of email, hating email, not wanting to do it, putting it off. They come on my calls and I’ve had people by the end of it love it so much. They’re regularly weekly, emailing their customers weekly every single week.
Even when they set out at the start of the course, and they said, “I’m going to set a target to do it fortnightly.” They love it so much, they started doing it weekly. Not only that, they gained sales and they gained people responding to the emails saying, “Wow, thank you so much for emailing me. This is brilliant.” Which is not the image we have of sending emails, is it?
So many people think of emails as something that bugs people, something that bugs our customers. We don’t want to send emails. They annoy them.
But if you’ve got the right people on your email list and you’re sending the right emails, it won’t bug them.
It won’t be difficult to write emails when you know how to do it. It’s dead simple.
Using email marketing is absolutely imperative if you want to build a relationship with your audience. And why should you build a relationship with the audience? Most people aren’t ready to buy the first time they see you. Most people aren’t going to buy from you the first time they see you at a show. They might not be ready to buy for you. It might just not be the right time. They might not have funds available. It might be that they want to treat themselves at some point later in time. If you keep emailing them, not only will you build that relationship up, you also help them to keep you in mind when they are ready to buy.
So actually, by sending your customers emails, you are SERVING them, you are providing a free service!
If you go out of the door on your street and ask someone to buy from you and you’ve never met them before, they’re not going to buy from you. They’ve never met you before. They don’t know who you are. But if you’ve got to get to know them and it’s a friend and you’ve spoken to them several times, you’ve met them in the street, you’ve got to know them. And you go and say, oh, I’ve got this thing for sale, there’s a more chance that they’re going to be interested because they know you as a person.
I’ve heard it said that Instagram’s like a cocktail party. It’s very busy. There are lots of people moving around. Can you sell on there? Yes, you can. But move them onto your email list and it becomes like a cozy, intimate chat over coffee. It becomes much more intimate, much more special, and you feel much more of a connection with your customers. So that’s the power of email, and that’s how it can help you connect with your audience and help sales to flow.
And I’ve had people say to me, okay, we need to nurture our customers. But is email really the best way of doing it? Well, it’s not the only way of doing it. I’ll give you that because you could create a podcast. This podcast I’m doing right now, I’m connecting with you on a level that I couldn’t connect with you by writing an Instagram post or an Instagram story. And I can serve you really well. However, is a podcast a lot more work than writing an email? Yes. Let me tell you, a podcast is a lot more work than writing an email.
If you want an option that is relatively low on work and time but big on impact, email is the perfect choice – you will build a connection with your audience like no other.
But you have to do it regularly. Put it in your diary, and you have to do it at least fortnightly, maybe weekly. It doesn’t have to be war and peace. And it doesn’t have to be everything that you want to say to people. It could just be that you saw something inspirational on a walk. You took a photo and you send it out to people saying, “I wanted you to see this because it inspired me so much.” It could be that simple. It just needs to align with your brand values, which we talked about earlier, and serve your audience.
Yeah. And sometimes you’ll want to be selling things to your audience as well. But first of all, focus on building that connection and serving them and that’s won’t only bring you more sales but also make the sales feel good, make your customers love you and make them keep coming back and recommending you to other people.
It’s all about connection.
So, those are the two things you need to connect with your ideal customer on a deeper level – build a stronger brand and get that email list going.
These are the two things you can do to really connect with your audience and help you build more sales and a stronger, more resilient business. A business that actually means something.