How to Establish a More Authentic Connection with Consumers

Building a More Authentic Connection with Consumers

Do emotional connections still matter in the digital age? They sure do. Find out how you can build an authentic connection with potential clients.

Ever wonder if we’re losing our ability to make an authentic connection with our customers in the cyberspace?

The 21st Century has brought some amazing technological advances. One of the most impressive is the introduction of Sophia, an artificial-intelligent robot who says she would like to have a family.

As we move toward more interaction with machines, many companies are concerned about losing the human connection with their consumers. The question reverberating from boardrooms and planning meetings is, “Can we have an authentic connection with our consumers in the digital age?”

Happily, the answer is a resounding yes.

We can still make that authentic connection today, but businesses can learn from nonprofits. Their success depends on their ability to connect with constituents and donors.

By following how they do business, you can apply the principles nonprofits use to build an authentic connection with your clients.

How to Establish a More Authentic Connection with ConsumersBe Mission-Oriented

Every business, just like every nonprofit, has a mission. However, many times we lose sight of our mission because we’re paying too much attention to the bottom line.

Things like beauty, order, truth and good are still desirable. Any aspects of these principles that your company brings to the marketplace enhance your mission and have a high potential for creating an authentic connection with consumers.

For example, an architecture firm can use the elements of order and style to communicate their mission of bringing beauty into the world.

Whatever your company’s mission is, communicate your belief in it, and share it with authentic connection and passion.

Make an Authentic Connection with Storytelling

For nonprofits, storytelling is key to communicating what they do effectively. And that holds true for your business as well.

We all know that a good story sells. And it has a great capacity for stirring emotions and making an authentic connection with the heart. Look for ways you can communicate the impact your company is having either through its products and services or through its humanitarian work.

Nine out of 10 consumers expect companies to go beyond just making a profit. Furthermore, 57% say they would buy a product based on the social and environmental responsibility of the company.

Apple has won the coveted title of “Greenest Tech Company in the World” awarded by Greenpeace, an environmental organization.

Small businesses can find opportunities to give back in their own communities too. Aligning with the social concerns of your customers is good for business and helps boost authentic connection with your customers.

Find ways to tell a compelling story for your company using pictures. More can be said with pictures than with text, and video raises the bar.

Visuals go beyond giving context to our words. They have become a tool for sharing experiences, and shared experiences result in ideal communication

The authentic connections created by stories form bonds through empathy. They open opportunities to involve your audience in your cause or vision. The idea is to invite customers to be a part of your story.

An effective brand story is simple, insightful, and powerful. It gives your brand a human element. Brand stories should explain your purpose for being.

The story should humanize the company and connect emotionally to find common ground with consumers.

As your story is shared, it’s given new life by those who share it.

Personify Your Brand with Human Traits

I’m sure you’ve seen photos that communicate with painful reality the plight of disaster victims or neglected children. These photos move us to take action.

While your mission may not be to save the world, your company has an important purpose that can be communicated in a compelling way.

You can create emotional connections with your customers using good brand stories.

For example, everyone loves Flo with Progressive Insurance. She’s likable, funny but smart, and people can relate to her. Her capers keep us entertained and connected. More importantly though, she is committed to helping her customers and giving them the best auto insurance deal possible. She is the face of Progressive.

By humanizing the face of your brand, you move away from the dreaded image of a cold, unfeeling entity that’s unable to connect with its customers. A Digital Consultant can help you develop your brand image and improve your customer engagement.

As your brand exhibits human traits like compassion, honesty, and empathy, it becomes more authentic, and authenticity trumps authority.

Projecting an image of authority and expertise has its place and is essential to your brand, but a know-it-all without a heart will not win any popularity contests. For a company, it won’t help to build goodwill and customer loyalty either.

Build Partnerships to Engage Your Audience

Every internet entrepreneur knows that building a community of followers is key to growth and success. That’s true for nonprofits as well, and its true for your business.

In what ways are you building community and partnership with your consumers for a mutually beneficial outcome? Working together for a common interest is a great way of engaging your customers.

“Engage” is a popular buzz word. There’s a lot being said today about engaging prospective customers through your marketing efforts.

Every company is working with diligence to engage their customers. However, what does it mean to engage someone?

People become engaged with an offer or an idea for two reasons:

  • It should be of interest or value
  • It should have impact

So, engaging people with your company’s offer is about offering something of interest or value that impacts them and moves them to action.

In other words, engaging your audience requires much more than getting their attention. You must make an authentic connection with them on a human level, and it requires an interaction or a partnership.

Find ways to communicate the concept of partnership with your customers in your company’s mission.

Promote Your Cause Consistently

You probably have a t-shirt in your closet from the last “Save the Whales” 5K run you attended. You may even still wear it occasionally to show your solidarity with the cause.

Your business has a cause too, and you probably have some very catchy slogans as well. You may not want to put them on a t-shirt, but they may be a prominent part of your brand. Keep them visible.

Whether your cause is to make a better burger for your customer or to find the perfect home for your client, promote your cause. Remember your customers are buying your product or service because it fulfills a need. Make an authentic connection to that need at an emotional level.

Fig and Olive, for example, promotes a healthy, authentic and creative cuisine. This attracts people who don’t mind paying a little bit more for a quality eating experience that is unique.

You can create a more authentic connection with your consumers by identifying what they care about and addressing it.

Master the Power of the Ask

Nonprofits work hard to use the precise language needed to successfully acquire a grant or get a donation. Your business communications should be no less concerned with how you communicate with customers.

The concept is the same. It’s an exchange of time or money for something of value. But what makes it work is the perception of the consumer. Your customers want to feel good about the investment they make in your company’s offers.

Here are some ideas for shaping a message that will support your efforts to create strong relationships and an authentic connection with your customers:

  • Don’t use technical terms or jargon
  • Keep the message simple
  • Use headlines that provoke thought
  • Explain what you do and why
  • Be liberal with the explanation of benefits
  • Use a personal approach
  • Offer opportunities for engagement
  • Ask for feedback
  • Keep it interesting

Crafting your messages with your customer in mind is the first step toward starting a dialog that can lead to a long business relationship.

Engage Diverse Market Segments

It’s hard to build a relationship with someone you don’t know. Your target market may be very diverse. Get to know your audience. Conduct surveys to gather data. Analyze your data to get the pulse on who your audience is and what they’re thinking.

Consider the needs of your diverse market segments and how to best reach out to them with your products and services. Here are some market segments to consider:

  • Millennials
  • Singles
  • Young families
  • Empty nesters
  • Ethnic groups

Remember that every prospective customer has the potential to be a brand ambassador for your company. You never know when one of your customers will send out a message about your business on social media that will go viral.

Patti LaBelle’s sweet potato pie was selling for $3.48 at Walmart when James Wright bought one, ate it, and loved it. Then he made a video about it that went viral. The result was the price of the pies hiked to $40 on eBay and the manufacturer ran out of ingredients. The pies were being sold for $10 per slice on Craigslist.

Reach out to the various segments of your audience. Encourage your customers to become invested in what you do. You never know what might happen.

Champion Transparency and Accountability

Nothing is more comforting than knowing you’ve invested your hard-earned money in an organization that is trustworthy. It gives you peace of mind, and it strengthens your bond with them.

Unfortunately, some companies tarnish their brand by making unethical choices. Once that happens, it’s hard to recover public trust.

Building authentic relationships with consumers creates a sense of trust and credibility. Make sure the information you’re putting out is trustworthy and not tainted with questionable practices.

For example, some companies may have influence marketers blogging about their products. If they are paid to do it and they don’t disclose this, it becomes a conflict of interest. This can cause customers to lose confidence in the company.

Being open about your operations is pivotal to safeguarding your company’s reputation. It also helps create authentic connections with your customers.

Take Relationship Building to the Next Level

Relationship building is the lifeblood of any organization. But building strong relationships with your customers is more than just sending them a birthday card or some discount coupons once a year, although that helps.

An essential way of forming an authentic connection with your customers is to have a clear understanding of their needs. Knowing their pain points and offering solutions is the first step to building relationships.

Track information about customer profiles and preferences. Then use the information using personal URLs or other touch points to address customer needs and wants.

We have a basic human need to be listened to and understood. What your customers have to say is important. Here are some ways to let customers know you’re listening:

  • Ask them what they think about your products and services
  • Get feedback before making major product changes
  • Invite them to review your product
  • Respond quickly to inquiries and complaints

No one wants to feel they are alone on their journey. Relationship building is about giving customers the feeling they are not alone after they’ve made a purchase decision.

Follow up after the sale when possible. Listen to their feedback. Respond to their questions and be accessible to them if they need to engage you. Most of all, thank them for being your customer.

Embrace the Public Space

Making an authentic connection with people requires going where the people are. Online, that means social media platforms. While measuring the ROI of social media use is still a challenge, it’s clear that businesses using social media benefit from increased traffic and visibility.

But unfortunately, the benefit of social media can quickly become a liability if you don’t connect with your customers. Seven out of eight messages sent to brands through social media are ignored. This can create a huge problem with your public image.

Content marketing is another great way to engage people. In addition to helping you find new customers, your content reflects your brand and communicates value to your website visitors.

That’s why your content marketing should serve as a key component of your communication strategy.

If you use influence marketers to promote your business, make sure they are invested in your product or service.

Get good public relations support to increase your visibility and control any potential threats to your brand. Be honest about shortcomings. Handle uncomfortable conversations and issues with dignity and respect. Be who you are, and don’t change your opinion when convenient.

Respond to inquiries, emails, and reviews quickly, especially negative ones. Hire help if you need to. It’s worth the investment.

Final Thoughts

Your business can create opportunities for authentic connection with your potential clients in several ways. Here’s a summary of some key factors you should keep in mind:

  • Share your mission
  • Tell your story
  • Humanize your brand
  • Partner with People
  • Be transparent and accountable

At Five Channels, we help businesses thrive with expert digital marketing. Contact us here to learn more about how we can help your business grow.


Owner and Chief Marketing Officer, Jason Hall, and his team specialize in creating brand awareness / traffic and lead generation / marketing funnel and conversion optimization, while utilizing the appropriate marketing channels available within your industry. With diverse clients throughout the world, Jason's team is well connected within many industries to assist with your marketing strategies. With no long term contracts and various levels of service, Jason's team will increase the quality of your online traffic, leads, and sales.

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About the author...

Located in the heart of the Emerald Coast - Destin, FL, founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Jason Hall, and his team specialize in creating brand awareness / traffic and lead generation / marketing funnel and conversion optimization / and PR campaigns, while utilizing the appropriate marketing channels available within your industry.

With diverse clients throughout the world, Jason's team is well connected within many industries to assist with your marketing strategies. With no long term contracts and various levels of service, Jason's team will increase the quality of your online traffic, leads, and sales.

Jason Hall

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