Dale Carnegie wrote the book on getting people to like you (literally). It’s called How to Win Friends and Influence People. The name says most of what you need to know. The fact that it’s been being read, referenced and quoted by some of the greatest business minds the world over should tell you the rest.
Now, the book was written in 1936, so he wasn’t specifically writing about digital marketing but he may as well have been.
Six tenets within it are exactly what it takes to build a successful, data-driven strategy for digital marketing that focuses on the user experience, on personalization, and on brand development.
If you want to build a user-focused online business (and you should if sustainable, scalable growth is your goal) then you need to care about those users people.
Find out what is motivating them. What the real pain point is that they’re solving. How they are actually using your product.
Ready to layer in hyper growth? Find out what else they need help with.
What does this take from you?
It takes time and energy. You’ll need to talk to your customers, your users and your target customers.
Surveys on your site: this is really your best chance to get a response from people that aren’t on your email list. Whether you do it through surveys or through chat, these interactions are gold.
Also, pay attention to things like site search terms (what people are actually searching for when on your site) and the search query that brought them to your site. Both of these can be found through Google Analytics for free.
Email surveys: a great way to get more in-depth feedback. In on-site surveys you are going to be basically limited to a single question at a time. With an email one you can ask a few and go more in depth. You can also ask follow-ups. Bonus: taking action on the feedback and closing the loop with people makes them feel heard, included and like they matter.
Interviews: you can also call these a less intimidating name like conversations. You want the chance to ask follow-up? Here it is. You want to really get an in-depth understanding? Here it is.
Conversations are super powerful. Just be careful not to have it be a sales meeting...you need to follow Carnegie’s rule. You have to genuinely be interested.
Be supportive. Whether your product/service is solving a problem or is a luxury good, you’re doing something positive for them.
You’re looking to add value to their day and to their life.
Be a force of optimism, of good and of positivity.
Make every interaction enjoyable.
Aim to delight, even during the painful conversations like a customer service complaint.
Your goal should be to have every person walk away delighted by the experience they just had.
Before we get into what this does mean you should do, let’s start with what you should not do.
DO NOT plaster in their name all over the website.
Personalization is great. I am a huge evangelist for it. Being weird and creepy about it is not. People want to go to Cheers not be followed by Big Brother.
What I am telling you to do is personalize your emails. Personalize your offers. Personalize your messaging.
Apart from the responses you’re getting as through following Rule #1, you’re pretty limited in terms of actual responses people can give you. But have you ever heard the phrase “actions speak louder than words”? Luckily you have an analytics platform that allows you to see exactly what actions people are taking.
This rule is telling you to get your data-life in order, and spend some time analyzing your data. Build behavioral segments for your email. Set up automated flows within your email. Use a personalization tool (low-fi like Google Optimize or high-fi like AB Tasty) to give people the relevant content. Push info to your ESP with Google Tag Manager about the blog categories that people are reading.
Whereas Rule #4 says to get and analyze data. Rule #5 says to make use of that data. Collecting data for the collecting’s sake is, for lack of a better word, dumb. Using this data is how you get to actually personalize the experience.
If you understand what blogs people are reading, and what brought them to the site, then you can make educated guesses on what problem they are trying to solve. That means you can message specifically about that problem. About your solution to it. And about what life looks like once they use your solution to solve their problem.
This is a great way to end this set of instructions. It brings us right back to where we started.
The goal of this is to build a really incredible user experience because you care about your users. A user-focused digital strategy is a powerful way to build a brand because it does have the power to build a strong emotional connection.
That’s what brand fanaticism is.
You’re creating this relationship because you want to serve them. You believe in your solution and believe that it will solve real problems. A powerful connection, fueled by Dale Carnegie’s strategy of personalization, is the way to do that.
Go forth and delight.