The most successful businesses in the world, large and small, have something in common: They build relationships with their clients on an emotional level and then nurture those relationships.
Many small business owners get this wrong. They use their marketing channels almost exclusively, to send sales messages to the marketplace. You are more likely to find them on Twitter sending out links to their sales pages, than reaching out to clients and future clients, with help and ideas. They are so short-sighted that they see social networks simply as a free way to push sales pitches and broadcast.
The money is in the relationships
The enlightened small business owner has figured out that the money is not in “the list.” The money is in the relationships. They know that before they can expect the marketplace to care about them or their business, they must first earn that privilege.
- This means communicating rather than broadcasting.
- It means understanding that when you refer to your COMMUNITY as your LIST, you have just transformed them from PEOPLE into ITEMS on some database.
- It means offering your marketplace independently valuable information (like this brief blog post), rather than sales pitches.
- It means listening.
- It means understanding, really understanding, that behind every name, handle, photo and avatar, is a fellow human being.
- It means understanding that you need to play the longer game, if you want to stay in business long term.
- It means humanizing what needs to be human and automating what needs to be automated AND knowing the difference.
- It means understanding that the process of giving and receiving starts with giving.
In short: Business is all about people, so keep it as human as possible.