How to build a genuine online presence as a company
Have you ever come across one of those startups (or corporations) that feel personal within your first few online “interactions” with them? Or gone through your email and felt excited to open an email from a company?
Think of the internet like a crowded room full of people all talking at the same time. The one with the most charisma and ability to relate well to everyone is going to be the one who is liked the most… and followed. All the companies out there are like people yelling over each other. And despite being actual people, we seem to forget how to sound like actual people in front of potential customers.
The biggest marketing question your team should be asking is “how can we be a company people want to talk to?”
Like any other creative effort, this isn’t something that has an exact science or can be carried out by an algorithm. I’ve put together some commonalities and techniques employed by companies that are killing it. Maybe this will help spark some inspiration for your own team’s approach to your online marketing communication.
A conversational tone
This is the biggest difference between companies that seem standoffish and automated online, and companies that resonate with their target audience (or everyone). Failing to see any presence online as a conversation between you and your target market is a huge issue. Websites, posts, and emails are no longer just for general information anymore. They’re often the only interactions your target customers will have with your company. Some companies are great at this in their emails, but some of the most popular ones are conversational throughout their entire user interface, from homepage onwards.
A telling example: the sign-up popup
Sears is terrible at conversational and relatable:
Product Hunt is simple and universal, and the emoji? It’s their thing. We’ll talk about this more next.
Consistent imagery, tone, and graphics
As shown in the example above, consistent imagery and graphics create an expected, familiar voice from a company. I know Product Hunt will always greet me with emojis at every turn of their user experience. I fully expect Buzzfeed to greet me with a headline that sounds like a text from my 16 year-old sister (with a surprisingly beautifully photographed cover photo). They have their own voice that is always complimented by a consistent visual experience. Everything from colors, graphics, font, and writing style plays a role.
A consistent conversation
There’s a reason for such a great focus on user experience. From the moment a potential lead sees your blog headline, Google Ad, or homepage, the conversation begins. Using the same language style and tone throughout the entire user experience is key to having a charismatic company. Apple pioneered this with their consistent simple language and personal tone at every marketing touch point. There’s nothing worse than a company that is automated and cold in their emails but then tries an informal, trendy tone in their social media. There’s nothing relatable about that.
One way to make sure your target audience feel like they’re engaged in an ongoing conversation is to include greetings and simple jargon at every step of the user experience:
- A simple and welcoming homepage that gets to the point
- A conversational, kind popup
- Headings that get to the point and read logically
- Emails that are simple and personal
- Ongoing personalization throughout the user experience
Variability across platforms
Would you send an email worded the same to a colleague four times? Likely not, that would be bizarre and impersonal. It’s also strange when a company uses exactly the same phrases at every point of the user experience. Just like a conversation, there should be variety in verbiage and delivery across your various points of communication.
The biggest thing to keep in mind when creating and executing an online marketing persona is that you should always be engaging in a continual and natural conversation with your target audience. When customers feel personally connected and genuinely interested, it becomes a lot easier to reach them rather than relying on ads and email blasts!