Want to know how to connect with your target market, online, offline and in person?
Whether you’re writing on your website to draw in customers, or to spread a message – to achieve your goal you must be able to make a real connection with people. People buy from people – and people remember stories.
This isn’t an article about storytelling, though.
Why you need to make a real connection
It’s incredibly hard to make a genuine, real connection with someone over the internet – after all, the content on your website is likely a one-way street. You’re talking to your visitors, but it’s a talk from you – it’s like they’re in an audience, listening to your speech and they can walk out at any time. There’s not much of a conversation going on – yet.
The best way to achieve your goals is to get your audience to know, like and trust you – whether your goal is to grow your business or increase awareness for a cause – people have to know, like and trust you in order to buy from you or listen to your message. It’s the reason why celebrities get such big advertising deals – so many people know, like and trust their opinion that if they make a recommendation on a product, it will sell – and it will sell well.
How to become known, liked and trusted
Think about the people in your life that already know, like and trust you.
I’m guessing there will be a common theme going on – they’re people you know well and have a good relationship with, aren’t they?
The major key to becoming known, liked and trusted – and becoming successful online – is to develop a real relationship with your audience.
There are a huge number of ways you can do this (from going out and speaking to people on social media, getting involved in conversations on relevant forums and speaking at events to name a few) but I’m hoping to go a little deeper into what you need to say to them, rather than where you need to say it.
The first step is to build trust – you must do everything in your power to help people understand you are a trustworthy business, a trustworthy website and a trustworthy person. They won’t want to listen to what you have to say, and sometimes won’t even click onto your site if it doesn’t look trustworthy.
So how do you begin to build trust?
It’s shockingly simple. Be vulnerable.
If you want to find a way to develop a real connection with your audience, the most powerful way to do it, is to tell a true story about your life where things didn’t go well. Where you went through a bad patch. Where you didn’t meet expectations.
Sound weird? I’ll explain.
People like to find common ground with other people – it makes us feel closer and makes us trust the other person more when we’ve been through a similar experience. The other thing about people is – no one’s perfect. We’ve all been through bad times in our lives, where we were filled with self-doubt, were embarrassed or ashamed – it’s part of being human.
Using your worst days as your best content
If you’re willing to be vulnerable and tell your story, good and bad, people will be drawn to your refreshing honesty, and they’ll be much more likely to reach out and share their story with you. We’re programmed to empathise with people going through a similar situation (trust me, I used to be a neuroscientist).
Ultimately, if you can open up enough that they feel comfortable, and maybe even compelled, to reach out to you, you’ll become the top choice for that person when they come to decide which business in your industry to work with. And it’s for a simple reason – they will trust you more than others that they don’t know – that they have no relationship with.
My worst day
I know it’s hard to open up and be honest about failings – so I’m going to encourage you to do it by sharing a story with you about when I was my own worst enemy, and how I changed my mindset and overcame it.
When I was 17, I went through a particularly rough time – my parents had divorced, and I was really insecure and had even developed an eating disorder. I felt completely lost and was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. That was when I went to my school counselor and asked for help.
I started going to a therapist, and each week I’d go in – sunny and smiling, because unlike what many people assume, if you’re truly depressed and broken, more often than not you try harder than anything to hide it from others with a big smile – and each week she’d have me in tears within 5 minutes. It didn’t take much to scratch the surface and see the true pain I was in.
One day she said something that entirely changed my view – and ultimately, my life.
She asked me, “Amy, who’s someone in your life that you look up to, that you respect and admire?”
And I replied, “My big brother. He’s charismatic and smart and always knows just what to say.”
She then asked, “So tell me – if he failed an exam, if he got fired, if his girlfriend broke up with him – what would you say to him?”
Of course, I replied, “I would tell him not to worry, that he was amazing and smart and that he should try again because I know he can fix all of those things.”
Surprised, she replied, “So you wouldn’t be ashamed of him, and tell him he was ugly, he was stupid, and it was all his fault?”
“So then tell me – why do you don’t you do the same for yourself?”
It shocked me – but it was so true. We are so willing to be our harshest critics – when we should be our biggest supporters. From then on, I’ve tried my best to remember this and stop thinking “You can’t do this, you’re too stupid/ugly/fat” and instead decided to replace it with, “You ‘re incredible, and you’ll never know what you could achieve if you don’t try. What’s the worst that could happen after all?”
And guess what?
I was courageous and went for what I wanted – and now I’ve done some amazing things like modelling, being on podcasts, writing for big websites and even starting my own business.
If I can leave you with any piece of advice from this entire website, it would be this:
You are much more amazing than you give yourself credit for. If you want to do something, just go for it, because you can do it. Don’t let anyone ever tell you, “you can’t” – especially not yourself.
An incredible, inspiring TED Talk every human should watch
Finally, if you want to find out more about the power of being vulnerable – just watch this incredible TED talk video with Brené Brown (it’ll be one of the most fascinating 20 minutes of your life!):
If you have any questions or comments – please just let me know below. And feel free to share this with anyone you think it might help.
And have a wonderful day, whoever you are, wherever you might be.