In today’s digital world, we can immediately reach hundreds or thousands of people, increasing efficiency and improving our marketing ROI. It may be tempting to rely on digital marketing strategies, websites, online advertising, social media accounts and email marketing blasts to communicate with customers and prospects.
But sometimes, adding a personal touch to your marketing efforts can be the difference between success and failure. We’ll explain why a personal touch is important and highlight five situations where it benefits your business to apply a personal touch to marketing efforts.
A personal touch means communicating directly with customers or prospects one-on-one. It often involves face-to-face meetings, phone calls, thoughtful gifts or “analog” communication, such as handwritten notes.
You can use a personal touch in marketing to create and strengthen relationships with customers and key accounts. It’s crucial to personalize your communications to address the customer’s or prospect’s specific experiences, needs and history.
Adding a personal touch to your marketing plan greatly benefits your business and relationships. Here are five important benefits to emotionally connecting with customers.
Here are examples of using a personal touch in five specific marketing situations.
If you sell many low-value products to many people, you won’t have to use this approach. However, if you sell high-value products or have several customers or prospects who need a large number of your products, a personal touch can help you close the deal and maintain the client relationship.
Because each customer is responsible for a significant chunk of your sales revenue, sending a thoughtful birthday gift or periodically inviting them to a nice dinner can show them you value their business.
Action items for ensuring a personal touch for high-value clients include the following:
Selling a business on a new product or service can be an unbelievably bureaucratic process. You might reach a decision-maker searching for information online, but decision-makers tend to delegate research to team members.
Few things can beat a personal connection to a decision-maker when closing a sale with a large organization. Participating in a fun activity together can create a comfort level that makes it easier to do business. For example, the decision-maker may enjoy a game of tennis, a round of golf or an invitation to an entertainment event.
Action items for ensuring a personal touch when reaching decision-makers include the following:
While entertainment and gifts can be part of sustaining and growing customer relationships, be aware that some buyers can’t accept gifts. Ensure you know the policy ahead of time to avoid awkwardness.
In crowded markets, leveraging a personal connection is critical to differentiate your company from the competition. With the shift toward social media marketing, digital advertising, and email marketing, companies that embrace a real-world connection with their clients stand out from the competition.
A personalized, thoughtful holiday gift or a handwritten follow-up card after a meeting are excellent ways to establish an emotional, personal bond with current and future clients. You want to go above and beyond generic “season’s greetings” messages on social media.
Action items for ensuring a personal touch when differentiating yourself from the competition include the following:
In some target markets, the ideal consumer may not have tech experience or interest. If you rely solely on digital advertising, your customer must have a smartphone, computer or another digital device to access the information you want to share.
For example, according to an AARP study, 45% of adults age 70 and older say that technology is not designed with all ages in mind. Additionally, some people, such as those in rural areas and lower-income individuals, may not have as much access to technology as those with higher incomes who live in urban areas.
Action items for ensuring a personal touch when connecting with low-tech audiences include the following:
Business owners’ COVID stories demonstrate that personal touches are more important than ever. The pandemic made customers feel isolated and unappreciated, so businesses that expressed care and concern ended up thriving.
If you’re selling a can of soda, the buyer doesn’t have to trust you much. It’s a straightforward transaction. But what if you’re selling this family business? In this situation, trust would be a significant factor. You’d need to ensure the buyer follows through on various aspects of the deal and that they can be trusted to preserve your family’s reputation.
In return, the buyer must trust that the business has the customer base, expertise and financials you’re representing.
Both parties should incorporate personal touches in their interaction. Without a personal connection in this type of situation, the deal is at risk. Neither party wants to look untrustworthy or appear that they don’t value the deal.
Action items for ensuring a personal touch when trust is a condition of doing business include the following:
Ahmad Raza contributed to the reporting and writing in this article.