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American businesses spend between 8% and 10% of their revenue on different types of marketing each year. Marketing is a significant expense and one of the most important investments business owners can make in brand development. Optimizing the impact of your marketing budget on your company’s bottom line is critical to maximizing this investment.
One of the most effective ways to increase the impact of your marketing activities across the board is to humanize your brand to create stronger connections with customers. In this area, small businesses have an advantage over larger brands.
Related: 5 Things You Can Do to Humanize Your Brand
What humanizing your brand means and why it matters
Humans are social creatures. We love connecting with other people and forming relationships in our personal and professional lives. This desire to connect doesn’t stop when customers are choosing where to shop or investors are deciding which businesses to back.
Building relationships with customers is one of the keys to successfully and sustainably growing a brand. Customer loyalty and loyalty is based on this initial connection and relationship between a consumer and a company.
However, most people see brands as entities rather than personalities, which can create a barrier between customers and the company. Humanizing your brand is one of the most effective ways to break this barrier. Humanization helps make business more personal and easier to use without compromising professionalism.
As a result, companies become more recognizable and memorable, which is especially important in busy industries. Impersonal brands are more easily forgotten in favor of others that left a positive impression and managed to connect with consumers on a deeper level.
Related: Build brand loyalty by humanizing the digital experience
How small businesses can humanize their brand
Humanizing a brand allows customers to feel like they’re dealing with another person rather than a faceless business. A company’s communication style is one of the keys to achieving this transformation from an impersonal business to a relatable brand. Highlighting a brand’s services also helps humanize a brand.
Small businesses have an advantage in this regard. Because many have recognizable founders and a limited number of team members, they often find it easier to offer that personal experience. Despite this advantage, small business owners must recognize that a credible brand must be cultivated in every communication to create meaningful connections with the target audience.
So how do small businesses begin to humanize their brand? Here are five strategies business owners can implement today.
1. Choose a brand voice
How your business “speaks” to potential and existing customers is perhaps the most critical aspect of humanizing your brand. Too many small business owners make the mistake of adopting business jargon to sound professional. Rather than conveying professionalism, jargon artificially creates a distance between small businesses and customers.
The most powerful tip for humanizing your brand is to address customers the way you would want your business to address you. Friendly, relevant communications greatly impact the relationships your small business builds with customers. It just doesn’t need any additional formality.
2. Let the audience look behind the scenes
People are curious by nature, and allowing your target audience to look behind the scenes of your business is another great way to connect with them. For example, if your small business is a restaurant, cafe or bakery, you could show customers how some of your products are made. If you build something, maybe you can share some of your process.
Introducing your team members to potential clients is another great option. By allowing customers to meet the people behind the brand before they walk through your doors or send an email inquiry, you’re already laying the foundation for a long-term relationship.
3. Increase transparency by admitting mistakes
Every business makes mistakes. These happen to businesses big and small, whether it’s a wrong order at a restaurant or a poorly written post on social media.
Trying to brush them under the rug rarely works. Admitting mistakes and telling customers what your business is doing to prevent them from happening again is a much better approach. Discussing what led to the mistake in the first place increases transparency in your communications.
Customers appreciate transparency and your business benefits from building trust and credibility.
Related: 5 Lessons You Learn From Your Business Mistakes
4. Build social media relationships
Social media started as a way to connect with friends and family. Since their inception, these platforms have also become powerful marketing tools. Even so, social media marketing has never lost its focus on human-to-human relationships.
Small business social media posts work best when they read or sound like someone talking to another person. There is no need for overly formal language. After all, your business wants to connect directly with social media users.
5. Choose a cause to support
Consumers are looking to brands to do more than sell products and services. Small businesses with a purpose beyond generating revenue tend to stand out from their competitors.
By finding a cause to support, perhaps with a percentage of the company’s profits, small businesses can show that they care about their community, their employees and, of course, the company’s bottom line.
Humanizing a small business brand maximizes the impact of all other small business marketing efforts. Because of their limited size, small businesses have an advantage over larger companies in this regard, as companies tend to be more closely associated with their owners or key personnel. Optimizing your company brand voice, giving your audience a behind-the-scenes look, owning mistakes, building social media relationships, and supporting a worthy cause all help humanize your small business brand even more. .