"If you throw all your eggs in the basket of relationships, you are still gonna succeed." ~ Wade Harman
On his journey smalltown coal miner to a Social Media Examiner top blogger, Wade has learned a thing or two about relationships. He's not afraid to talk about where he went wrong, the changes he's made, or even the secret to relationship marketing. You're going to love this one.
What is Relationship Marketing?
Wade has a canned answer he pulls out when necessary, he's not really one for canned responses: In relationship marketing, your customers get the same small-town feel that grandpa's country store had back in the day. You know each other's kids names. Show a little bit of the real you - when you open up, you form lasting relationships that benefit everyone.
Is Relationship Marketing a Manipulative Trick?
I do like to stir the pot a little. Thinking about a guy with an advanced degree in psychology working in marketing - is that fair? Wade likes to call relationship marketing "heart marketing." It's not really a bag of tricks, it just means you need to be yourself. Very few people are good at this, so you can stand out!
Key is to make sure the end result you have in mind is of benefit to both of you.
Where He Went Wrong
Wade confesses that when he started, he was thinking of himself and wanted to make money (understandable in his situation!). He didn't have a goal to help others. He learned pretty quick that when he started helping others and stopped thinking of himself, things started to happen. He's burned bridges - giving himself a crash course in relationship marketing which he's willing to share with those he now coaches.
How Many Businesses Disengage Without Realizing It
Many feel like as a business owner, they need to be on a slightly higher level than individuals when it comes to presenting themselves online. Remember that you are marketing to one person at a time - no matter how big you are. You don't have to post photos of your cat (or even your lunch) to make a connection. Be interested in someone else. When you do that, people will talk to you. Feature your fans - make them feel special because they are!
There is a bridge between you and your target consumer - learn how to build that bridge.
That relationship you build today could be with the person who clicks the "buy" button tomorrow.
Why It's So Hard to Be Yourself Online
We sell what we think people want to see. For example, people want to buy a marketing course from a marketing "expert" - so why not call yourself an expert even if you're not? It's hard to be a nobody when the rest of the world is screaming, "Look what I did!" Show what you are good at by proving it every week. You might think your skill is boring, but someone out there wishes they had it - and they need your help.
Be OK with starting at the bottom rung of that ladder. If you try to jump to the middle, you are going to end up with a sprained ankle.
What About the Haters?
I poured some salt into a gaping papercut by asking if anyone ever judges him by his accent. He's been told, "You're writing just like you speak!" We don't think there's anything wrong with that, but it drives him to do better.
We all care what people think of us, but do you want to do business with someone who doesn't respect you for no good reason? You can't work with everyone on the planet anyway, so reveal a bit of yourself and embrace those who appreciate you and forget the rest. Find positivity where you can.
Surprising Benefits of Relationship Marketing
In many industries, the idea of "competition" is fading. People are learning that they can't do it all themselves. When you create relationships with those in your industry, you might be able to partner to do even better things.
Why You Need Relationship Marketing - No Excuses!
Carve out 15 minutes a day if that is all you have. You can use listening platform such as Hootsuite and Octopost to find a conversation to join. Stop in and be helpful or even just say hello! If you keep showing up, people will remember you.
Find conversations where you can be helpful. Offer a tip if you can (Twitter's character limit can make it tough) OR send them to a link with a helpful article - preferably on your site, but if you don't have it, send them somewhere else and then go write an article that is even better for next time. You will likely find the same questions come up over and over again, so it's worth the investment!
The Fine Line Between Helpful and Creepy
Let's say you're the owner of a clothing company. You wouldn't overhear a conversation on the street between two friends discussing wardrobe choices for an upcoming event and jump in to sell your line, but when someone tweets to the world that they're trying to decide what to wear to an event, they are inviting comment. Here's your chance.
Rather than jumping in with something too intimate (Laura doesn't want you asking kids going to the prom where they live :) ) or too salesy (here's a link to a dress to my site), start with a simple conversation. Ask where the wedding is going to be, ask about the style or time of day - just like you would with a friend of acquaintance.
More often you'll see these opportunities in service industries. Before you respond, ask yourself how you would react - would you view the response as a sales pitch, too big-brother, or helpful?
The Secret to Eliciting an Emotional Response
We put the pressure on, and Wade finally spilled the beans. His first suggestion is to use images! When you use images with a person looking right at you - that can evoke a powerful reaction like this Pepsi ad.
Take it To Your Site
Starting relationships on social media is a great first step, but make sure you keep it going once they get to your website. Wade mentioned three ways to do it:
- Mood - color plays in to the emotional response you'll create.
- Attitude - design and layout should be appealing and welcoming.
- Experience - inform new readers, but reward current readers as well (think smart content).
Check out Wade's site, wadeharman.com for an idea of ways to get people comfortable with who you are. It's welcoming, friendly, and builds trust. He also tells you straight out what he can do for you.
About Wade Harman
Wade lives in Virginia with his wife Erica and two sons. He has a passion for building relationships and StarWars. He's a coach, writer, speaker, and pal.