Digital Engagement: first you get the trust, then you get the loyalty and then you get the women – Dating tips inside!

5 mins read
April 1, 2013

At the heart of marketing a product or service is the need to connect the idea with people. A successful campaign in our ever connected world will increasingly require developing personal relationships with customers. This is where Digital Engagement can work as the cornerstone of your marketing efforts – especially if you don’t have much advertising budget.

I find building connections between your business and customer is analogous to dating. Success in both regards requires a careful study of what you have to offer and who you can potentially get. And so I will use dating analogies as tips throughout the rest of this post. I’m also currently building a dating site so it’s all I have on my mind at the moment.

What is digital engagement?

To me it is simply “the use of digital technology to connect with people.” The emphasis being on “people” and the relationships you build. The technology is the necessary platform to deliver the emotional fireworks you intend to set off. It is the initiation or continuation of a relationship with a potential customer. It should go without saying that your approach should be based on who your audience is, where they hang out and what they might need from you (and what you have to offer).

Consider for a moment that you’re a single guy and lonely (and for some of us no imagination necessary). The best strategy to find a date would be to hangout in places where the ladies are (sorry but let’s face it, most DailySocial readers are probably dudes). You should also try to hangout in places where you would have more in common with the other people there. Once you have struck up a conversation and built a rapport you can then ask for a number, pin, email, twitter, facebook, etc.

Regardless of platform, the objective is to keep the conversation going.

Bonus dating tip #1:
To make an impression your best bet would be to AVOID talking about yourself and what you have to offer. Instead focus on her, what she likes and (if intelligence is not a priority) the latest twilight/vampire/werewolf garbage that’s hot at the moment. Sometimes painful prep work on what’s hip can help you break the ice.


Potential objectives

There is no rulebook but if you like a bit of structure I propose choosing from the following set of objectives to help you formulate a plan.

1. Build awareness of your ideas and values
2. Develop personal relationships with your audience
3. Gain trust, credibility and loyalty
4. Inspire and mobilise people to act
5. Turn insights into new opportunities

Having objectives help define what you’re going to do and more importantly what you’re NOT going to do. Limiting the scope of your campaign keeps you focused and in a world where attention is expensive it pays to be focused and niche.

Bonus dating tip #2:
When courting someone it is best practice to have a purpose as there is nothing worse than being ambiguous and directionless. The ladies love surprises but you must first gain their trust to deliver surprises effectively. I would also recommend listening to what she says (or doesn’t say) and use these insights to creatively show you were listening intently all along. Yeah, the ladies love this more
than they love pasty vampires who decide not to eat them.

What people do on the Internets

Although it seems infinite it typically boils down to:

1. Searching content
2. Consuming content
3. Creating content
4. Sharing content and
5. Having conversations.

The types of content going around may include:

 Articles
 Emails
 Photos
 Podcasts
 Videos
 Apps
 Games

While some people like to say content is king, I look at it more like bullets. Your website, blog and social media presence are the guns. And your insatiable audience is the massive apocalyptic zombie hoard you need to slay. You often have limited ammo and so you should make them count.

Bonus dating tip #3:
Buying a girl random expensive gifts in no way trumps a thoughtful, personal and more likely cheaper gift (effort trumps price like sincerity trumps arrogance). Try telling stories and vary your approach to give her access to your mind (through allegories), your heart (through anecdotes) and jokes to show you don’t take yourself too seriously. Touch her heart as well as her mind. Just make sure to highlight who you are rather than what you think she wants to hear.

Getting your stories across

Content delivery is now easier than ever. There are lots of tools (many free) that are at your
disposal. Knowing these tools, learning how to use them and interpreting their use creatively can
help you attract a following.

Some areas to consider in your arsenal include:

 Web and/or mobile apps
 Blogs and news sites
 Social media
 Search engine marketing (keyword optimisation and pay-per-click ads)
 Email marketing (permission based)
 User and behaviour analytics

In the digital space you have more access than ever to track, analyse and study the behaviour of your users. Seek this data whenever possible and use it to bring about new ways to help your audience achieve their goals – or to simply make them happy.

Bonus dating tip #4:
Learn to know the appropriate communication channel for every situation, for instance avoid breaking up over SMS. Sometimes a cheap date works wonders but other times you’ll need to spend more to get more. Learning from your mistakes and fine-tuning your approach can do wonders and can even make or break your relationship.

Expanding your sphere of influence

With the expansive proliferation of content and seemingly infinite noise in the digital space the ability to command attention is a rare commodity. It should be one of your top priorities to expand your sphere of influence. There is no definitive rule on how to do this or a guarantee of success but a combination of the following may help organize your approach.

1. Build a portfolio of digital assets
2. Create, curate and share interesting content
3. Participate in relevant conversations
4. Support like-minded causes and communities
5. Analyze and refine your approach

I find the best approach is to genuinely help your audience. Focus on what they care about and maintain only subtle links to your business objectives. If your business sells fixie bikes then perhaps you can share cool places where people can ride them, arrange an offline meet up for fixie lovers and publish helpful hints on how to choose the right fixie bike.

Don’t hard sell – we get enough of that walking through a food court in a Jakarta mall, it doesn’t really work there and it doesn’t usually work online.

Bonus dating tip #5:
Don’t lie, cheat and abuse a girl’s trust. When a girl really likes you (especially for the first time) her imagination will make her think so highly of you at the beginning that it’s as if you can’t do wrong. If you like her back then it is at this moment you should take full advantage by cementing her trust (as well as the trust of her family and friends). It is inevitable that you will disappoint her but by
constantly working to gain her affections you will protect yourself from relationship fallout. Once you lose her trust it is often impossible to get it back.

As a product owner you understand that building profitable connections would be near impossible to do without aligning your product’s value proposition with your ideal customer’s needs. In addition it is also important that to pique people’s interest requires creative and outside the box thinking.

It is purpose, imagination and effort that can take you far. In the end there isn’t an “expert” who can potentially do this better than you because there should be no one who knows your product and customer better than you. Aim high, expect rejection and keep tweaking your approach – don’t let your product be forever lonely.

Razi Thalib has been working in digital media for the last decade. He currently runs a digital management consultancy bbda.co.id and started an online dating site called setipe.com; previously he lead digital product management and marketing at Zalora Indonesia. You can read his brain farts on twitter @RaziThalib but he recommends instead that you get back to work!



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