You Need More Than Digital: Why Person-to-Person Networking and Marketing Will Never Be Replaced by SEO
Right now, all people are talking about when it comes to businesses and marketing is digital-first. We talk about SEO and PPC, putting the focus on reaching as many people as we possibly can.
- There’s a risk, however, when you start looking exclusively at numbers. You never want to go for quantity over quality, where the marketing gets less personal and less effective. SEO alone isn’t enough to make up for that personal part of the business, especially with increasing numbers of consumers craving authenticity, and in this post we’ll look at why that’s the case.
SEO’s Limitations: What it Can and Can’t Do
Search engine optimization (SEO) is undeniably powerful when you want to expand your business’s reach and visibility quickly, even though it takes some time to implement all the right strategies and see results.
That being said, even ranking in the top 5 spots on Google won’t be enough to help your business if your brand doesn’t feel “real” and “human” enough.
When people visit your site, for example, they don’t just want to see a generic layout with a simple list of services; they want to know what makes you unique, and they want to know who is behind the products and services.
This is why after visiting a company’s homepage, 52% of all visitors will go looking for an “About Us” page next. They do care what you have to offer, but they also want to know about you. And ultimately, if a percentage of that audience doesn’t connect with the information they find there, they’ll go looking for someone else.
Why Person-to-Person Marketing Will Always Be Key
We get so caught up talking about business-to-consumer marketing and business-to-business marketing that we forget one key truth: At the end of the day, it all boils down to person-to-person marketing.
We aren’t overwhelmingly marketing to bots afterall (at least not yet), so that means that whether you’re trying to sell a home security system to protect someone’s family or software designed to track a business’s expenses, you need to appeal to an actual person. And that person is going to care about whether they can trust you or the customer support member working with them to live up to what you can promise.
- Personal interactions are going to be paramount as a result.
We’ve all walked away from a salesperson who felt too aggressive, like they were in it just for the commission.
We’ve also likely gone out of our way to purchase from someone that we trust, trusting that they’ll guide us well because they were transparent and seemed invested in finding what was right for us, not them. If you or your support team members are able to establish that trust with your customers, it will be hard for your competition to swoop in and take over.
The personal interactions that you aren’t directly part of are also a crucial element of marketing today, and these come in the form of referrals and user-generated content. Consider the following statistics:
- When a friend recommends a product or service, people are 4x more likely to purchase.
- 28% of Millennials won’t try a product if they say their friends don’t approve of it.
- Word-of-mouth marketing and personal recommendations are the primary driving factors between 20-50% of all purchasing decisions.
- Customers who come through referrals have a 37% higher retention rate.
This all comes down to trust and connection. If a customer’s friends trust you and say that what you offer is great, you have an enthusiastic, ready-to-be-loyal flock of new audience members just waiting to find you.
How to Engage in Person-to-Person Marketing in Today’s Digital World
Person-to-person marketing sounds overwhelming in today’s world where digital always seems to come first, but it will be the key to developing a happy, loyal, low-churn client base who happily recommends you to their friends.
There are a few simple ways you can get started engaging in person-to-person marketing, which are all particularly effective as you work on them consistently over time. They include:
- Gathering online reviews, which can help build trust quickly by letting your current and past customers attract new ones for you. Make sure that you or your support team is reaching out to clients you’ve worked with personally and ask for a review, giving them the link to the platform of your choice.
- Talk to your network. Let them know what you’re doing, how excited you are about it, how you’ve helped people so far. Ask them to mention you if anyone happens to need services like yours, and give them a few business cards and a link to your site. If you need to put out a blast quickly, don’t be afraid to do so on personal and professional networks on social media.
- Attend networking events. Come armed with those business cards, but focus more on engaging in conversations instead of just spewing off your elevator pitch. Relationships will drive meaningful business interactions.
- Always carry your business cards with you. Do this at your networking event, at client meetings, and everywhere else you go, too. You’ll never know when you’ll meet someone out and about, or even run into an old friend who needs help in your area of expertise.
- When it comes to your business cards, make sure that they’re high quality and represent your business well so that you can make a great first impression. We can help you with that here.
At the end of the day, most of us want to do business with people we trust, not necessarily mega corporations who really don’t care much at all about our experiences as customers. If you’re able to connect with leads and potential customers on a personal level, however it is that you choose to do so, you’ll effectively be able to draw people in while setting yourself apart from the competition.
Are you primed to make a great first impression at your next networking event? Check out our award-winning business cards today!