Do you ever get nostalgic for the good old days when business was just so much more personal? When you chatted with the cashier while they bagged your groceries, or when your movie rentals were handed to you by a human instead of a giant red box?
The missing human element can seem even more obvious online. And that’s a real problem. Because your customers are searching for that personal touch—for a connection. No matter how much we love the convenience today’s fast-paced business world provides, we all still largely prefer to exchange our time and money with people we know and trust.
But just because you run a business online doesn’t mean your company is doomed to make a faceless, robotic-like impression on your audience. You can build genuine, meaningful connections online. Here’s how.
Make your website an easy place to stay
If you want to build an authentic connection with your visitors, you first need them to stick around long enough to actually read any of your copy. Just as in real life, people make instantaneous assumptions based on visual elements. If you want to snag longer than three seconds of connection-building time with your website visitors, get these elements under control:
- Design. You don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars in order to have a professional-looking website. You can if you want to, but WordPress and a nicely designed premium theme can make you look great—without spending a lot of cash.
- Navigation. Make sure your website is easy to get around. If people get lost, or are unable to locate the information they want quickly, they might just leave. We’re all such an impatient bunch!
- Formatting. Make your website easy to scan. Did you catch that? Make your website easy to scan! It’s so important to include a lot of white space between blocks of text, to use headlines and sub-headings strategically, and to break things down into bulleted lists or sections. People love to scan.
Use a conversational tone
One of the best ways to show people the real person behind your brand and your website is to write your copy the way you talk in person (minus a few run on sentences, and plus some basic grammar and punctuation).
Using a conversational tone (read: no third person, no buzz words or jargon) is one of the quickest ways to build a connection. Your visitors want to feel like you’re talking directly to them.
Don’t worry about trying to sound “big”. Small businesses are very popular these days, there’s no need to hide the actual size of your cozy little enterprise. If you’re the sole employee of your business, or even the boss among a small team, don’t shy away from using “me” instead of “we”. You don’t need to pretend to be larger than you are—in fact, it can actually backfire by making you sound less personal.
Make it all about them
You have to ditch the theory that your website is about you. It’s actually about your prospect. They aren’t interested in hearing about you; they are interested in hearing about how you can help them. That’s how you create the connection.
Talking about yourself is a big turnoff. You’re going to have to share details about who you are and what you do—but it’s essential that you do it in a way that focuses on your website visitors and makes them feel connected to you.
All about you: I held positions in some of the most prestigious firms in Manhattan, where I gained loads of business experience and developed a very impressive portfolio.
All about them: I know you need someone who can perform under pressure and get things done. You don’t need yet another thing to worry about. Because of my experience working in some of the most prestigious and high-pressure firms in Manhattan, I’m equipped to push through stressful situations and get your job completed on time. I’ve been there, I’ve done that. No hand-holding necessary here.
Find common ground
What do you and your website visitors have in common? In most cases, you meet at a very distinct and compelling point: your website visitors have a problem, and you have the solution.
What does your product or service accomplish for your customer? Do you sell a revolutionary diet program that helps people get healthy and fit in six months or less? Are you a personal accountant that reduces migraine-inducing stress for small business owners?
Reveal the solution you provide for your customers, and then use that to build a connection. Let your visitors know that you deeply understand the fear/anxiety/stress/whatever that their problem causes. After all, you’ve most likely experienced the same problem yourself before finding the solution. This common ground can help you build an instant and strong connection (it’s also the perfect time to let people in on how your product or service solves their issue—cha-ching!)
Money is almost always personal. It’s tied to all sorts of emotions, so it’s no wonder people don’t want to part with it unless they feel safe and confident. Building a connection is an essential step towards creating that confidence in your customers.
How do business leaders create a sense of connection and shared passion in their organizations? How to Create Connection in the Workplace: A Review of “Fired up or Burned Out” by Michael Lee StallardFeatured photo credit: chuckp via photopin cc