Want to Better Engage Your Patrons? Listen First.

To be truly successful at connecting with your patrons, you have to really know them. There are a few ways to accomplish this, as MarketingProfs points out in its article about making your marketing copy more engaging. Read author Nick Usborne’s two tips below, and then view his entire article.

Get the language right by listening first. Imagine you’re a nutritionist attending a conference of your peers, but you [accidentally] join the wrong meeting and find yourself stuck with a group of sanitation engineers.

I’m guessing you’d find it hard to engage in any meaningful way with others in the room: different vocabulary, different concerns and priorities.

You’ll find a similar disconnect between many companies and their prospects and customers, simply because the companies never bother to listen carefully and figure out the vocabulary, concerns, and priorities of their audience.

That’s odd, because it’s super-easy to listen to your audience online.

Here are four ways to get started:

  1. Encourage more interaction through your social media channels, and then study the language of your most enthusiastic commenters.
  2. Publish more surveys, and include open-ended questions. Study the most-detailed replies.
  3. Invite visitors across all your digital channels to ask you questions. Get a feel for their priorities and their use of language.
  4. Read relevant reviews at Amazon, and check out questions and answers on Quora.

Collect, collate, and study all the data, and you’ll be in a much better position to truly engage with your audience.

You’ll be speaking their language.

• Leave space for your readers with questions and stories. The old-school way was to write both editorial and marketing materials in lecture mode: writing at the audience.

Writing in this one-way style is a terrible way to engage anyone.

A couple of simple ways to correct this are to…

  1. Ask more questions in your headlines and within the body text. A question signals inclusion. It makes space for the reader and his or her feelings and opinions.
  2. Tell more stories that are relevant to your audience. That’s another way to make them feel included. They’ll feel you get them. They’ll feel more engaged.

Either way, you increase engagement by leaving some space for the reader.”

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