Growing a business is hard. Growing a web design and development business can be a special kind of difficult.
Many of us are working in a job and industry that most of our customers don’t fully understand or even want to. They know that they need website, but they don’t understand all of the pieces that are so vital to making that website a success.
When you’re trying to market your own web design business, knowing how to communicate those values can be so difficult, especially when trying to put it back into your customers’ lingo.
Want to know a shortcut to improving your marketing’s effectiveness, increasing your leads, and getting a better connection up front with your prospects?
Inject some humanity into your marketing!
I know, this sounds a bit crazy. You’re selling a service to a business, right? Yes, but behind every decision is at least one decision maker who is, well, human.
In today’s episode, I’m going to walk you through what adding some humanity into your marketing looks like, how you can connect to those essential human needs, and how you can change up your own marketing to improve the leads you’re getting.
Let’s dive in!
What is Human-Focused Marketing?
No matter what we’re advertising – whether it’s a fancy new product or a service – there’s always a human on the other side of that interaction. Remembering that you’re speaking to a real-life person and aiming to come across as more as a person in a business rather than a business itself? That’s human-focused marketing.
Today, we control a lot less of the marketing infrastructure as a whole. In fact, many of the touchpoints that a customer will have with your business before they buy will be driven by other humans. Those touchpoints can include reviews, social media conversations, word of mouth recommendations, and more.
And frankly, we’ve gotten so deep into the cool gadgets that we can use to market to people – chat bots, texts, emails, funnels, data tracking – that we’ve forgotten that those buying from us are just people. (And you wonder why data privacy and tracking opt-outs are sweeping the world right now.)
Our Ability to Research is Unparalleled
Let’s go back to that research thing for a minute. Even just a couple of decades ago when I was beginning my freelance web services journey, the internet was a vast place but so few of the business owners that needed help understood how to truly leverage it. They just mostly understood that they needed to be online.
Then, business owners were far more comfortable taking the first recommendation or even the first person that sent a cold email offering to help them. Help had magically found them, right?
Now, however, we’re far less trusting. Business owners are weary of having dealt with bad actors in the web development industry (amongst others), but they’re also just tired. They want to have a good experience and they want to get results! How can they be sure who they’re going to work with is going to get them those results?
They’re going to research you!
Now, they have social media, YouTube, Google searches, your own website, and a whole lot of places that they can find whether or not you do what you claim you can do. They can reach out to past customers, look for mentions of your company throughout social (beyond what you’re saying) or even sign up for your email list to see what you’re saying in more private spaces.
They can and will research you in a variety of areas.
It’s All About Customer Care
The most important thing you can remember when it comes to human-focused marketing? It’s 100% about customer care.
95% say customer care is important for brand loyalty. That means the level of support they get when working with you will shape whether they stay and how much they tell other people about you. Whether they post about your business and create user-generated-content for you to continue your brand story on.
Keeping existing customers happy brings word-of-mouth referrals and those happy customers stay with your business. They then tell their own friends and those friends tell their friends and so on and so forth.
Not totally convinced?
Did you know that 68% of buyers will pay more for a product/service if the customer service experience is a positive one? And customers of companies that engage over social media will spend 20-40% more with that brand because they feel connected to them?
When someone feels connected to our businesses – because we’ve helped them and made their interactions with them feel like we understand that they’re human, too – they’re going to feel comfortable to not only spend money with us but also tell their friends.
Ways You Can Be More Human
I bet the wheels are turning just a bit with how you can already see changes you need to make in your business. I want you to pay close attention to this next step and get out your Notes app, because we’re going to start diving into how you can put all of this into action and come across as a more human-focused and human company.
You need to be solution-oriented. At the end of the day, we’re a selfish breed and we tend to only care about how someone can help us. That’s especially true when you’re an overwhelmed business owner or marketing director and you need to find the right company to build you a website.
For any of your customers, they’re going to be concerned about getting a return on their investment. If they’re going to spend $10,000 on a website, they need to get back at least twice that in increased leads and sales within 6 months to a year to make it viable.
Your customer will be worried about wanting to decrease time-wasting tasks and maybe add in some automations to make their lives and customer communications easier.
They want a solid sales funnel that brings in steady leads to their business.
Or they want a place to send people that they know reflects about their own business and the unique solutions they provide their customers.
Your customer doesn’t care that you build a custom website or that you build it in SquareSpace, WordPress, or anything else. All they care about is what that website is going to do for them and their business.
So tell them!
Which leads us into our next point. You have to be focused 100% on the customer. They need to feel like you care about them. That they’re not just a number to you or simply revenue to be acquired.
You need to showcase several ways that you’re customer-focused. It’s not just about the solutions you’re providing either, but the experience you provide throughout their time working with you.
How do you showcase to your current customers that you care about them?
What do your happiest customers say about working with you and what they loved?
Be focused on your customers’ pain points, their needs, and forget about the features of what you’re selling.
It ain’t about you, honey.
Be Honest & Authentic
I cannot stress this one enough. When it comes to sharing what your company is like, behind closed doors, you have to be authentic.
You cannot sell a false narrative that you provide excellent customer care when you have angry customers all of the time.
You cannot tell people that you donate your time to a local organization if you never show up for meetings.
You cannot claim to get leads and sales for your customers if that’s not actually what your websites do.
The internet has made the world a small place. If you lie about who you are as a company and as a person, you will be found out and you will be exposed.
Most consumers mistrust company narratives as it is. You need to be authentic to who you are and own that! If you’re working hard to improve an area of your business, show that you’re working on it.
Being authentic to who you are is just one way to build up that trust that your business will desperately need to get the high-value leads.
Changing Up Your Marketing Plans
Those are just a few ways that you can start adding human-focused marketing into your own messaging. Are your creative juices starting to really flow? Let’s talk about how can you actually implement that in a way that will increase your own leads and sales.
1. Focus on Your Benefits, Not Your Features
I cannot stress this one enough. Whenever you post anything within your marketing channels – social media, email marketing, podcasts, even in proposals – focus on the benefits you’re going to provide the customer over the features they’ll be getting.
Remember, people don’t care about what you do. They just care about how you help.
If one feature of your business is that you build a custom-coded WordPress website, then you instead say that you build a secure, easy-to-use site that is 100% customized to their business’s needs.
If you’re building websites on SquareSpace, then you talk instead about how you use one of the leading, user-friendly platforms so they can maintain their website going forward.
If you sell hosting and maintenance as an add on service, you say instead that you’re providing a secure place for their site to live where they get to call you instead of sit on Live Chat for 5 hours waiting for support.
Get into the head of your ideal customer and ask yourself what they care about most. What do your customers mention that they love most about what you do? Share those and almost never try to sell all the features you include.
2. Talk to One “Person”
I know this sounds a bit crazy, especially if you’re newer to the buyer persona concept, but it is 100% easier to market as a human when you imagine that human on the other side of the screen.
Drill down on that buyer persona (which we covered in episode 32, linked in today’s show notes). Get it down so that you’re imagining an actual person that you’re talking to. Change up how you speak like you’re having a conversation with just that one person.
It not only will help to improve your marketing copy, but it will help you to more easily get into your ideal client’s head.
You can make that easier by making pop culture references you think they’d understand, bringing up a very specific problem or pain point they might have, or by simply speaking it out before you write it.
I know this sounds a bit crazy, but when you talk to your one ideal client, you’re not going to turn away those that don’t fit that mold. You’ll end up catching the people that identify with the parts even if they don’t totally fit the whole.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Show Your Face
I see this a lot with web designers and web developers, especially on their social media. In fact, I talked about this recently in episode 39 and how it’s a common mistake web designers make on social. You have to be OK with showing your face, at least a little!
It’s the quickest way to humanize your company. It helps your ideal customer connect with you, know that there is actually a real-life person behind that offer, and gives them the ability to connect with you on a real level.
You don’t want your marketing to be all about you, all of the time either. You can sprinkle in stock photos, website before and afters, and other things where appropriate. But if you’re afraid to show your face throughout your marketing, your customers will begin to wonder just who is actually behind this business.
It’s a shortcut to being authentic and real.
4. Include Some Behind-The-Scenes
This is another easy shortcut! If you go to my business, Captain Coder’s, social media, you’ll see a lot of pictures and videos of my husky in my stories. Sure, my dog is cute, but he’s also my coworker. He often pops up on video calls (he’s not welcome, he just does it) and most of my clients love him. He’s got enough of a following that I often have customers remark to me about something they saw him do, even a week or so after I shared that. I work from home, and life with a husky is an authentic part of my business and my brand. It helps my customers to feel connected to me even though I’m sometimes 1,000 miles away.
Of course, your behind-the-scenes photos don’t have to be your argumentative pet. It should fit in with what you do as a business. Maybe that’s volunteering at a local school, teaching kids coding classes. Perhaps you take the team out to lunch to bond every Friday. Or you might take Fridays off entirely and you want to showcase how your team utilizes that extra day.
Don’t be afraid to showcase that behind-the-scenes stuff because it actually helps your customer connect to you far better than you’d ever imagine.
The Most Human Company Wins
As Mark Schaefer puts it in his amazing book Marketing Rebellion, we’re at a point in marketing where the most human company will win.
If you want to increase your leads, attract high-value clients, and grow your business, you’re going to have to change how you’re marketing your business. Our customers have more control than ever before and they want to get to know us as a business. Make that easy for them and connect with them! It’s the best recipe for long-term success right now.