Episode #249: Deepening Audience Relationships
TAYLOR BRADFORD: You are listening to episode number 249 of the Boss Girl Creative podcast. Today I’m back with pillar number six in the 8+1 Pillar Series, and we’re talking about deepening relationships with your readers and customers. On to the episode.
Today’s episode is brought to you by the Inner Circle of Boss Girl Creative. If you’re not in it, what are you waiting for? You can get entry for as little as $10 a month, and that gives you access to the community of the Inner Circle. It also gives you access to the resource library that I’m growing and also a monthly live Q&A session, which, if you’re not able to make it live, no worries, I record them all and then send you the replay. So you still have the opportunity to send me questions or get feedback, and I will answer that in the monthly live chat, and you can catch up when it’s convenient for you. But obviously, I would love it if you were live with me because that’s how we grow. Level two unlocks, you’re receiving a Boss Girl Creative mug plus a handwritten thank you note from me, you also get access to the template library, and we do a monthly co-working session where we get together once a month and work on our to-do lists together through my Zoom channel. And also, I have monthly office hours for you through my Voxer app. So that’s level two. And I’m still working on making changes to level three haven’t quite decided what those are going to be. You’re welcome to jump into level three, which is currently advertising through Boss Girl Creative, and you get access to all of the things in level one and level two, but I am going to be making some changes. I still don’t know what those are going to be yet. But most people are choosing level two because it’s kind of a no brainer. 25 bucks a month. So I hope to see you in the Inner Circle soon. bossgirlcreative.com/innercircle
Hey guys, welcome to this episode of the Boss Girl Creative podcast we are still working through the 8+1 Pillar Series today is pillar six, which is deepening relationships with your readers and customers.
Before I dive into that, though, y’all this Coronavirus pandemic is scary. Scary and a lot of uncharted waters, especially for small business owners, and especially in the event industry. You guys know I have an event rental business that primarily services the wedding industry, and with all of these mandated bans on gatherings, it is literally crumbling our industry and the livelihoods of so many vendors. Professional individuals running professional businesses that are basically losing everything in this time and it’s more than just, I don’t even know, you guys the wedding industry, the live events industry. Yes, it is a luxury thing, but it is also real business. It is also a place that people have built their livelihoods on, and it’s falling apart minute by minute. I have been watching cnn.com the legit like running feed of updates for the coronavirus and watch press conferences from the White House, although I’m gonna choose not to do that anymore because while I can just wait for the updates to come through on the CNN feed and watching the press releases for my state and local city governments. Most recently, at the time of this recording, the city of Dallas has closed all restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and gyms and has banned gatherings over 50 people. The city of Fort Worth has not taken such extremes. They have reduced all businesses to 50% of their certificate of occupancy unless that is more than 125 people at a reduction of 50%. So they are trying to save small businesses to the best of their ability, but still putting some guidelines out there. Whether or not this will actually work is to be seen. But our world, as we know it, is currently in this unknown zone, and especially the United States, where gathering is a pastime. I mean, let’s go all the way back to even the Great Depression. Gathering is a pastime, and it’s how we handle stress. It’s how we handle, I mean, I don’t think there’s anything other than stress at this moment, and it is devastating the live event world. It is devastating small business. And I totally understand all of these mandates. I get why we are trying to slow this crazy, crazy, crazy sophisticated virus. It is unmatched, unparalleled to anything that has ever been seen before, and we don’t really have the answers. We’re literally throwing spaghetti noodles out the wall and, and I do think we are going to have to take some really extreme measures, but it’s literally crushing people. It’s more than just soul-crushing. Actually, it’s way more than soul-crushing. I wrote last night because I just, I see the extremes. I also see wedding vendors being bullied by clients for not either responding in the way the client expected them to respond. But I think what is failing to be noticed is that we’re not playing Barbie Dreamhouse over here as event professionals. While it may look like that, because of all the pretty pictures, it is absolutely not the truth. And it’s really frustrating. And I see extremes, you know, not only as you know, stay home, stop going out, like being really big bullies about that, and I understand that. But on the flip side, how are we supposed to feed our families if we can’t work? If we can’t go and do these things, and there’s nobody backing us out of this situation. We don’t want the federal government giving any live event industry aid. We’re asking for it, but I doubt that it’s going to be something that’s granted.
I posted last night on my Facebook:
“Photo to make you laugh, hopefully. But in all seriousness, I’ve been watching the press conferences and reading the press releases and legit keeping tabs on every single live update posted to CNN related to the coronavirus. I’ve got two notifications to check as I’m writing this. I’ve seen extremes in the conversations related to an all-out let’s rip the band-aid off already and just make everyone stay home and then the complete opposite. I’ve seen people get bullied because they are trying to run their small businesses (usually of one or a small team) in the best interest of themselves, their families, and their clients. Trying to keep normalcy in some pretty uncharted waters. For those that don’t know, I have a business in the wedding industry. An industry that is literally falling apart at the seams For every forced mandate related to gatherings, ten plus businesses per wedding per event that is canceled or postponed is now operating at a near loss, if not already a loss. Nearly all of my April brides have rescheduled thankfully, waiting on the final few to make some decisions that have not been easy to make. Some have been forced by local governments to cancel or postpone because now their venue is no longer open due to mandates, and some because they do not want to jeopardize anyone’s health. Weddings are this magical thing that turns dreams into reality and those best day evers. Weddings don’t just happen. They take a talented bunch of professional vendors to make all of that magic happen. And right now, that magic is dying. The event industry is trying really, really hard to rally and be strong, but our livelihoods are crumbling, and the worst is yet to come. Some clients are taking to the extremes because we have *gasp* contracts, protecting our businesses, and because of that are taking to social media and review-based websites and bashing vendors because we do have those contracts. We are pros. We aren’t playing Barbie dress up over here. This is our professional job. We are small businesses. There is no one currently trying to bail out our industry. Some of us have signed a petition to try and get some aid for our industry, but we are likely to not receive aid. Live events, aka weddings, concerts, SXSW, trade shows, conferences, etc. is a thing with so many moving parts and support staff to create the magic. So how can you help? Actually support local business, including your local wedding vendors. We all do more than just weddings. We can be hired for a slew of things. Hair and makeup artists can be hired for a virtual consult. Bakers and confectioners can make cakes, cookies, pies, candy, etc. Florists can whip up some of the most stunning bouquets and wreaths. Venues can host more than just weddings. Book a private family photography session and hire your favorite photographer. Photographers that primarily shoot weddings can do couples sessions. It’s like engagements, but married sessions. And let’s all just start planning our “Party like it’s 1999-After-Corona party.” I can recommend some of the best pros around, and if you aren’t in my market, I’ve got connections all over. But please, please, please, actually support small business. We are the boots on the ground, trying to feed our families in such uncharted territory.”
And it’s not just the event industry. It’s the travel industry. It’s the restaurants. It’s the breweries. It’s the you-fill-in-the-blank. Anybody that’s running a small business with a storefront that just got told to shut down for however, who knows long, those people need our dollars. Now, if you can’t work, I get it, so share about that small business so that maybe somebody can support them. We have to work together in this. We cannot just completely isolate ourselves and hope this problem goes away and hope somebody else’s fixing it. Because we’re gonna have to be the ones that actually fix it, which goes into deepening your relationships with your readers and customers.
This pillar could not have arrived in any better of a time at like. I couldn’t have put this pillar in the lineup any better than it showed up. We have to humanize our brands. And this is a perfect time to do that. We have to be authentic. So here are nine things that you can do to deepen your relationships with your readers and customers.
Number 1: Be of service to them. If you can’t physically gift, anything, you don’t have to just be of service to your readers. Figure out how that can work in your scenario.
Number 2: Get to know them and understand them. This is the best time to start asking questions, to spark conversation, to get to know who is listening, who is reading, who is purchasing from you. Start that conversation with them, get to know them, get to understand them better.
Number 3: Create and share truly useful content with them. Especially in these times, but even beyond. let’s say you’re listening to this in a time where there is no coronavirus anymore, we’ve figured out how to stamp that out. Create and share truly useful content with them. I talked in the last two weeks, last week’s episode is how to market your content and a previous week’s episode was how to create that amazing content. Create and share truly useful content with them. It truly matters.
Number 4: Regularly check your own intentions. Listen, if you’re not in this for the right reasons, you’re not going to grow your business. So you have to constantly check in with yourself. Because if you realize you’re no longer in alignment, it might be time to pivot, or it might be time to hang up the hat. And it’s okay to make those decisions. It’s absolutely okay. This is your business. Nobody else is making these decisions for you, albeit outside of government at this moment. But this is where you either buckle down and lace up your bootstraps and hunker in, or this is a time where maybe the writing’s been on the wall for you. My best friend’s mom said, “You know what? Those that are going to actually weather this out were meant to be in business. Those that this is going to actually crush them completely were not meant to be in the business.” And maybe it’s just not smart at this moment. There’s no shame, no shame whatsoever, in the decisions you’re about to make.
Number 5: Sell with transparency. I love this. We shouldn’t always be in sales mode. I am baffled at the ads that I’m seeing running right now, like absolutely baffled. And I’m like, “Is that really necessary right now?” I mean, obviously, if it is something that’s going to help out in these times, yes, but let’s just be non-smarmy about sales. We all have to make money. We all have to figure this out. But just don’t be smarmy. And like let’s be strategic, be authentic in how you can help people, how your product and service is going to help people. So a way you can do this through your email newsletters is maybe a once a month email, that’s what’s on offer this month. Or another great example is Talking Shrimp. She sends out three emails a week on average, and one is dedicated to sales, and it’s always the same one on the same day of the given week. The rest of it is content or just having a conversation. Be transparent with your sales. Be honest and upfront. Be authentic.
Number 6: Figure out how to connect in person or face-to-face. Obviously, we are in a period of time where in-person contact is being recommended to stay apart. Social distancing, that’s the word that everybody’s using. But you can still do Zoom chats, Facebook Lives. Get in front of your audience. Have those conversations in your Facebook groups. Figure out how to connect on a deeper level with your audience, with your readers.
Number 7: Communicate regularly and be consistent. One thing that I have really fallen off the wagon with is emails to the Boss Girl Creative community, and it’s just a season that I’m in with trying to have this new business launch be like we’re just all in right now with this new business launch, which means that I’m dropping some balls elsewhere. And one of those is writing a weekly newsletter to the Boss Girl Creative community. I haven’t stopped the podcast, the podcast is still important, but getting the time, finding the time to continue my day job and focus on Ivory and Ink and all the things that are a part of Ivory and Ink right now. It is such an infant at this moment, the stage of infancy that it’s got to have legs before it will walk And so there’s a lot of attention going into Iran ache at this moment. And so some things just are being pushed to the backburner. And unfortunately, the Boss Girl Creative newsletter is one of those. But outside of that, you’ve got to communicate regularly to your readers to your audience, and you’ve got to be consistent. So, if that is through social media, or through your newsletter, or through blog posts, or through your zoom channel or through the Voxer app, you know, figure out how you can communicate regularly and be consistent with your people.
Number 8, this is important: Building community around your brand. Super important, especially in times like these, but even outside of times like these, building a community around your brand, that is how you build a lasting brand is building community.
And finally, number 9: Respect and reward your loyal, your regular, and your current customers. Figuring out how you can do that because that is how you’re going to deepen relationships with people. They are going to be your natural cheerleaders, your regular megaphones of your brand. That is what you need. And it will help you deepen those relationships. When you can respect and reward those people, they are going to be that much more encouraged to share about your brand.
I hope these nine tips give you some food for thought, especially in the time that we’re in now, so that you can focus because I think now we have more time on our hands than ever before. We’re in this very weird analog state, where we have to figure out how to get creative with our families, with our friends, and with our audiences. And I hope that you take these nine tips and make them work for you because you can still build a really strong foundation of your business with this pillar, even during these times.
Thank you so much for listening to today’s episode. Shout out to everybody who’s in the weeds with this. I feel you. I hear you. I’m in the weeds with you. And I know we will come out on the other side and we all should now start planning for that “Party like it’s 1999-After-Corona party.’ And, again, find those wedding vendors. They can help you plan these epic parties. Invest in them. We need your help. Until next week, I hope you have a great rest of your week.