“Trust is earned in drops but lost by the bucketful.”
(Security and privacy expert Fatemeh Khatibloo, Forester Research)
Do you want to be a consumer-first marketer?
You need to earn people’s trust – and to keep it. When you do this well, it creates a series of encouraging relationships that translate to profits and sustainability. But violations of trust can sabotage your business.
When it comes to marketing, brands tend to believe more is better. If customers have started a relationship with you, it seems obvious that more texts, print ads, or emails will entice them to spend more. But no one wants to be known as a target. Over-marketing puts your company at risk because it expends your goodwill.
Marketing begins by establishing a relationship between brands and consumers. But over-marketing kills that relationship. The Social Break-up study provided clear evidence of this phenomenon. Did you know:
- 91% of consumers have unsubscribed from permission-based marketing emails
- 81% of consumers have either “unliked” or removed a company’s posts from their Facebook news feeds
- 63% of followers have “unliked” a company on Facebook due to excessive posting
- 54% of customers said they unsubscribed from a list when a brand’s emails came too frequently
When you overcommunicate to customers, eventually, you’ll find you must put out greater effort only to receive less dynamic results. Before you hammer people with content you must calculate the long-term cost of the messages you send.
Allow Customers to Manage the Cadance and the Channel
Are you over-marketing?
There is a fine line between “just enough” and “too much,” and your customers may vary on what they appreciate. To find the right balance, you may want to allow clients to control the content flow of your marketing spigot.
Preference centers are customer-controlled portals that invite users to select the types of messages they would like to receive and the preferred times. A tech publication, for example, might provide options for newsletters about business tech, consumer tech, product reviews, and new gear launches. Papa John’s pizza divides its preference center into sections centered around food preferences, delivery options, payment types, and marketing preferences.
Empathetic brands work to delineate preferences across three dimensions: communications channel, content type, and desired frequency. Some people may prefer weekly text messages, while others request a monthly print newsletter.
Here are three ways to hone preference strategies for each dimension:
Ask your customers
Streamline systems that directly allow clients to share the style, frequency, and mode of communication they prefer.
Follow your brand from an outsider’s perspective
Want a crash course in communication optics? Opt-in to your own promotions and put yourself in a prospect’s shoes to observe where authentic and helpful morphs into overselling and chaos.
Streamline your processes
If you have multiple sectors in your business posting emails, Tweets, and ads, things quickly become chaotic. Set some boundaries or place one person in an oversight position to avoid over-promoting.
Treat permission to market as a gift
While most people have favorite brands they’d love to see more of, for most companies the best approach is “less is more.”
And messages tailored to a client’s specific needs or pain points are certainly more relevant and welcome than generic mass marketing. Treat permission to market as a gift, and allow people to have a say in when and how they would receive from you – no strings attached.
Respectful empathy positions marketers to act less like piranhas and more like friends.