With automated sales and marketing more common these days, we’re bombarded with messages that don’t connect. Marketing bots may be efficient, but they’re not into relationships. And it’s people – and the relationships you build with them – that help create a successful marketing campaign.

I call it ‘bringing the human back to marketing’. 

A prospect needs to feel a connection to a brand before they’ll buy. They have to want the products and services, sure, but they also need to feel that a brand’s values and personality align with theirs.  

And until AI and automation have completely taken over, here are some ways to improve your small business marketing, with more human connection: 

Build relationships 

Your customers aren’t numbers or statistics. They’re humans, with needs, interests and pain points that your products or services can help with. So, when you understand your prospects’ needs, you can create more targeted, personalised marketing campaigns that resonate. 

Try it: Ask people what they need help with, in a social post on your business page or by email. It invites engagement, and shows you care, which builds trust and rapport.

Use storytelling

People love stories – think about your favourite song, book, movie or TV show. They’re all stories, and they move us, motivate us and help us feel connected. 

Marketing can, too. By telling stories about your brand, your customers, or even your employees, you create a more emotional connection with your audience. This helps them see your brand as more than just a product or service, but a company with values, personality and purpose.

Try it: What stories can you tell? Maybe a video behind-the-scenes look at how you create your products or services. Client testimonials work well. Or share something vulnerable – how human is that?

Empathise with your customers

When you understand their needs, frustrations and challenges, you can create marketing that addresses them. This also shows you care, building trust and loyalty, which can lead to long-term relationships and increased sales.

Try it: Create an empathy map outlining your customers’ pain points and what they might think, feel, say and do around each, so you can target those concerns. Run a survey or focus group to learn about your customers’ challenges, what they need, and how they view your brand.

Personalise your messaging

Instead of sending generic messages to all your customers, personalise your marketing by tailoring your messaging to the specific needs and preferences of each customer. 

Try it: Send personalised emails with a conversational writing style. Create customer personas (avatars) for your different market segments and offer targeted promotions for each, with separate landing pages that speak directly to them.

Engage in two-way communication 

When prospects interact with your brand, they usually want a reply. This helps create a sense of community and demonstrates that you value your customers’ input.

Try it: Engage with prospects and customers on social media, respond promptly to enquiries and feedback, and actively seek out customer opinions and suggestions.

Use emotional appeals

Humans are driven by emotion. Using emotional appeals can motivate prospects, and build trust and a deeper connection. This creates a more meaningful relationship between your brand and your customers.

Try it: Use storytelling to inspire and engage, humour to be remembered, or a client testimonial, for social proof of how you’ve helped someone.

Try our Brand Personality Quiz to understand your brand better, so you can connect with your customers.