For those who may not know, I used to be a relationship coach for single women over 40. You could say I’m a student of relationships. I’ve observed them for years, especially focusing on how communication either builds them up or tears then down.
Every relationship has a beginning and some of those beginnings are magic. Those are the ones that feel as comfortable as an old shoe. You feel as though the other person “gets you” and you’re both on the same page.
What creates that magic is as mysterious as why cilantro tastes delicious to some but like soap to others. But there are a few things you can do to start a relationship on the right foot. Your prospect will appreciate it.
A relationship starts with friendliness
The majority of my clients ask me to create copy that has a “helpful, friendly” tone.
What does that mean?
It means avoid the stiff, formal, “business-speak” language that many companies still use with their content marketing. For example, does this sound familiar?
We provide robust, added value with our integrated solutions that achieve a distinguished consummation of quality and passion
Yeah. That kind of talk just makes me melt.
Instead, write your copy to sound as though you’re talking to a good friend. You want your friend to understand you. If you started using five-syllable words and spoke with a stiff upper lip, your friend would laugh and ask why you were acting like a Monty Python skit.
So here are a few tips:
- Use language that doesn’t take a dictionary to decipher.
- Use the pronoun “we” responsibly: instead of “we’re great at what we do, look at us…blah, blah, blah,” say “We know you’re overwhelmed. We want to help.”
- Use the pronoun “you” twice as much (or more) as “we”
- Be humble. Admit that you get confused/frustrated/overwhelmed, too. It makes you sound human and allows your prospect to connect with you.
You may wonder how you can smile with your copywriting and content marketing.
It’s fairly easy.
You develop content that says, “Hi, there. How can I help you?”
A smile is welcoming. It lets another person know that you’re happy to see them. Transfer this to your content marketing by telling your prospect you’re glad they stopped by. Make a point of “smiling” at them after they leave.
For instance, if you have an opt-in offer and someone signs up to receive a free download, make sure to thank them for signing up. Thank them for reading. Thank them for taking the time to hang out with you.
Smile. It’s a great way to build relationship.
Dress up for the occasion
My dad absolutely loved the 70’s book, Dress For Success by John T. Molloy. He was actually obsessed with it. Before my brother and I were allowed to walk out of the house, my father inspected us to see if we had any loose threads hanging from our clothes.
If he found any, he immediately whipped out a pair of scissors and cut off the offending fiber while lecturing us on always looking our best.
He was just as picky about shoes. If they were unpolished (heaven forbid), we’d get a lecture on how people looked at shoes and if they looked shabby, then it reflected poorly on us.
The point is, taking the time to dress nicely is a way to show respect and courtesy to the person you’re meeting. It’s a nice gesture. It also shows the other person that you take that meeting seriously.
You can apply the same principle to your content marketing. Show that you care enough to “dress up” by offering content that is properly formatted, devoid of typos and grammatical errors, and carries a touch of elegant design.
Add tasteful (or fun, depending on your brand) images to your website and PDFs. Use helpful headlines and sub-headlines. Include emphasis with bold, italicized or underlined words.
The more professional and classy your content marketing looks, the more your prospect will take you seriously.
Use breath mints and don’t overshare
Have you ever chatted up someone at a networking event who obviously had garlic bread for lunch? Or maybe they had three cups of coffee before talking to you.
Then there’s the stranger who shares their life story within the first five minutes of meeting you.
Breath mints come in handy for those moments, but it’s also something to keep in mind with your content marketing.
Don’t let your prospect know too much of what goes on behind closed doors.
For instance, one of biggest mistakes you can make as a public speaker is to go on and on about how nervous you are. Many new speakers do this, hoping to eliminate their jitters. But all it does is focus the audience’s attention on the speaker’s insecurity and lack of confidence.
With your content marketing, you don’t have to let others know how grateful you are to have finally found “your passion” or that your product took so long to bring it to market because your credit was spotty and you had a tough time finding investors.
There is a difference between “being real” and just sharing too much information that doesn’t serve you well.
Always put on a confident face. Your prospects want to trust you but if you act neurotic on the first outing, chances are they’re going to pass. It’s definitely a relationship-killer.
The most common places I’ve seen this in action is a business’ “About Us” page and a few videos.
Your company’s “About Us” page should showcase its expertise. A prospect doesn’t care that much about you wanting to stay at home more with your kids or that you’ve always wanted to help people. Of course every business wants to help their customer.
Instead, share information that will make a difference, such as how many years you’ve been involved with your industry or your achievements.
Stay positive and upbeat. And don’t talk about your surgery.
Do these things and you’ll make a great first impression. And if you’re lucky, maybe… just maybe, your prospect will ask you for another date.