Get Personal – Humanize Your Brand

March 31, 2014 | Don Pottinger

Humanize your brandA great new article just came out on “How to Humanize Your E-commerce Business with Personalized Messages.”  This article gave practical examples on how you can set yourself apart by “friending” your visitors and customers through humanized branding. We hear it all the time, don’t we: “You’ve got to go above and beyond your competitors by getting personal with your customers if you want your eCommerce store to succeed.” That statement is great in theory but how, in the midst of all your ten thousand other things going on, do you actually do this?

Humanized Branding:

‘Humanized Branding’ is not a new concept but the execution is often missing from eCommerce stores. Too often we treat our brand as a “thing” rather than a person. Whether you realize it or not, your brand does have a personality and reputation. Audiences pick up on the tone of voice, messaging, content and style of your brand. This ‘personality’ is often what draws, or prevents, customers from buying from your store.

In order to be effective in creating a more human side to your brand, you need to reflect on your current voice and how it can change or be enhanced.

Take a look to culture and brands you think are succeeding in attracting website visitors and gathering customers. Here are some easy ways you can better Humanize your Brand:

  • Humorous articles and pictures
  • Opinions on news, pop culture, and society
  • Memes
  • General questions about life
  • Insightful quotes, images, and recommendations

In the article I was reading the author gave a great example when Ben and Jerry’s capitalized on a recent new law that passed in Colorado.

“Breaking News: We’re hearing reports of stores selling out of Ben & Jerry’s in Colorado. What’s up with that?”

Pretty funny, right? And I bet it made you want a bowl of ice cream. That’s the key, producing content that draws people to your site and gets them thinking of, laughing with and talking about your brand or products.

example

Tailoring your Messaging:

Another type of humanized communication that eCommerce stores need to master is the ‘conversational email’. Starting an email with your customer’s name (%%name%%) is a great start, but not enough anymore.

Does this look familiar? “Dear %%first_name%%” – we’re having a 20% off sale on the entire store!….”

It should, because this is a common and, at times, effective use of email. But consumers want more than just to be a part of an email list. And lets be honest, you would prefer loyal customers to coupon-chasers any day. So how can we engage? Create emails that not only pull in a customer name, but also uses important order data and past purchase history.

Mention their previous purchases and and suggest other items based off past purchase data. “You may also like” or “Thank you” emails will go a long way in cultivating relationships.

Snail Mail Shouldn’t be Dead:

Another small effort that actually works (shocking – I know) is good ‘ol fashioned snail mail. Many eCommerce marketers believe that email is superior and have put snail mail on the back-burner or simply assume it’s dead. There’s a huge advantage for you here! Since most marketers aren’t sending real mail anymore, when a consumer gets a piece of personalized mail from you, it stands out.

thank you

Remember the joy you experienced as a child when you opened up your mailbox to find not junk, but a piece of real mail – for you!? Same concept applies these days for your buyers. Sending an offer in the mail that includes a coupon code or even a free product that is complimentary to a past purchase would not only shock your customer and strengthen the loyalty they have to your brand, but ultimately drive them back to your site to cash in on that awesome promo.

This is something I think Etsy store owners have nailed! Anytime I’ve purchased something from Etsy my purchase always comes with a hand-written thank you note that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. But it does more than that, it entices me to share my experience on social media and makes me even more loyal to this seller.

Tailoring your Webstore Content

Tailored content can result in drastically higher ROI, especially if you make them forget they are on an eCommerce site and instead just enjoying a funny video or piece of content.  Your consumer will start visiting your site more frequently to see similar content. If they continue to find high-quality and entertaining content, they will start brining friends to your site. This in turn sets you apart from competition and helps you increase SEO, site traffic and even customers. 

With the proliferation of social media, it is easier than ever to create specialized and humorous content that drive traffic to your website. The article mentioned earlier says “Memes tend to get more Likes, Shares and Tweets than promotions. However, they usually convert less than promotions.”  So remember, tailored content might not always result in an immediate sale, but it will get people thinking about your brand.

The bottom line is “Quality, service and friendliness” should be the goal when visitors and customers think of your brand. Whether you use memes, personalized emails, funny videos or a combination of multiple outlets, audiences will begin to notice your care and in turn, be more likely to purchase. Don’t be afraid to try something new. If it works you can reap the rewards and if it doesn’t, you can move on to something else. Finding the right fit for your audience may take a little time but it will be completely worth it as you notice you are no longer screaming to an empty audience, but engaging in dialogue with an excited crowd.