“Our communications are falling on deaf ears,” said James, an MD I met yesterday in Bristol.
James explained that his company relies on their email marketing and website achieving click-throughs by rail professionals.
Worryingly, the current click-through rates aren’t great.
A Common Problem
Whilst certainly perplexing for him, James’ problem of failing to engage his audience fully is far from unique.
Owners and directors often approach me to help them achieve a more involved audience.
They usually tell me, “Sarah, I don’t know why or what to do to change this, I just know we need greater interaction.”
They add, “I’m worried that we’re burning time and money doing stuff that just doesn’t work.”
You may be suffering the same frustration too, but until now perhaps, haven’t realised just how much of a problem this is for you.
You’ll know if this is the case by taking a moment to consider if you hear yourself or your team members venting worries and frustrations, such as:
- “Our email open and click through rates are scarily low”
- “Few like, comment, share or favourite our social media posts”
- “Our web visits are paltry and don’t convert visitors that well.”
Whether speaking or writing, if your message isn’t connecting, you may as well just pack up your bag and leave.
But enough about the problem.
If you’re like me, you’re more interested in the solution.
When creating the conditions to enable our audience to engage, there are 4 killer questions that we must first ask.
I’ve included just a few here.
KQ1 Who Are You?
What’s your purpose, or mission, in your professional life?
What one thing must you achieve (hint: it’s not making money)?
Certainly, income generation is in there, but only as the end result of your purpose.
Below are some examples of purpose.
As you read them, ask yourself, what’s yours (or what could it be)?
“To provide wholesome entertainment” – Walt Disney
“To organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”
– Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founders of Google
“Create a better everyday life for the many people” – Ingvar Kamprad, founder of Ikea.
KQ2 Who Is Your Audience?
How would you describe them, in terms of their:
- Job title?
- Gender and age?
- What are their professional and personal fears and dreams?
- What would they love to know, that they don’t already?
- Who are their role models, influencers?
- What tone of voice do they best respond to?
KQ3 Who Are You To Your Audience?
Are you, for example, their:
KQ4 How Can You Allay Their Fears Or Help Them Achieve Their Dreams?
When you understand how your services or products do this, you can start to construct messages that your audience are motivated to respond to.
Within just 26 words, author Joe Vitale, outlines the secret to your audience hearing, seeing and connecting with you:
“People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions, and help them throw rocks at their enemies.” Joe Vitale, ‘Buying Trances’
Deceptively simple, Joe’s quote is worth breaking down to understand how you do or can relate to your audience in the context of each.
There are a whole host of tips and techniques to do this.
Here are just 4 of them.
4 Insights That Mean Your Audience Looks, Listens And Responds
The bigger your paragraphs, the less they’ll be read.
‘Chunking’ is how to structure your text so that your audience can more easily understand and connect with it.
Here are practical examples of how to chunk:
- Create paragraphs that are 2 lines maximum
- Use short sentences of ideally 20 words or less
- Employ sub-heads or other features, such as bullets and quotes, to create visual variety.
#2 Be Audience-Centric
The opposite of being audience-centric is putting yourself, rather than your audience, at the heart of your message.
An easy way of assessing if you do this, is to review how many of your sentences start with ‘We’ or ‘I.’
In copywriting terms, this is called ‘weeing all over the page.’
If you want your audience to connect, start sentences with ‘You’ or ‘Your.’
#3 Tell Stories
Regardless of our ages, we all respond to stories.
With the ability to be incredibly engaging, messages can be conveyed in stories in a way that deeply resonates.
Stories, when told well, have a high recall factor and are easily shareable.
If you’re narrating, rather than writing a story, remember to effectively employ pitch, pause, tone etc. to create auditory variance.
If you’re not already doing so, how could you too be harnessing the power of storytelling to connect with your audience?
#4 WIIFM (What’s In It For Me)?
One of the ways we can better understand our audiences is for them to complete a short survey.
When I mentioned this to James, the company owner who called me this morning, he said, “But my audience will never complete a survey.”
I agreed with James and added, “Unless you give them a great reason to.”
This could be a personal incentive, such as a link to free content of value, or inclusion in a prize draw.
Or, when they complete the survey, you could promise to donate to a cause that’s likely to resonate, such as a Children’s Rail Safety charity, in James’s case.
Your Audience Less Than Engaged?
If you need greater interaction with your audience too, then schedule a mutually convenient, free chat with me, Sarah.
I’ll ask relevant questions and provide at least one major insight you’ll find useful.
We can then explore how I can help you succeed in your role and decide whether we’d like to work together.