What Internet Marketing Can Teach Us About Interpersonal Communication
Audience: Web marketers
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
I have a clogged ear. It’s filled with fluid and the doc tells me there’s nothing I can do but just wait. Now I find myself asking those around me to repeat themselves, because I can’t hear a doggone thing. When I speak or chew, all I can hear is the inside of my head.
It got me thinking about listening; loss of hearing in just one ear can totally change not only your experience in the world, but also the experiences of those around you when they interact with you. Then I began to think about the art of listening and communication in business.
See, nobody knows how to communicate to a business’ customers better than Internet marketers (backed by the wisdom of the business owner, of course).
Our job is to listen to and anticipate what people want, and then deliver it to them.
Web marketing teaches us many lessons in communications — how to listen, how to speak, how to understand needs and react accordingly.
Think about all the things we as professionals can learn from this craft and apply to our interpersonal communications.
Let’s explore …
Twitter Helps Us Be Concise Communicators
How often are you trapped in a conversation with someone who just can’t seem to get to the point? It takes them a whole trip around the block and back to get to that last sentence that carries the entire meaning of the conversation. Some people do it unintentionally, while others have agendas behind the blab.
Twitter has helped millions of blabbermouths learn how to get to the point and accomplish the very same thing it would have taken them to do in 10 minutes, in just 140 characters.
Truth is, people are busy. Lessons from Twitter can teach us to respect people’s time by communicating what it is we want to say to them quickly and concisely. Throw in a couple keywords and hashtags, and you’re well on your way to ensuring people know exactly what you mean in the shortest time possible.
Try it in your next business meeting, and see what you can accomplish in less time.
Facebook Teaches Us How to Use Discretion in Our Communication
Not long after social media became a part of many people’s lives, many of those people experienced the backlash of word vomiting all over the place mixed with posting incriminating photos. We learned over time that we have to be somewhat careful what we say on Facebook, because the world is listening.
When we market a business in a social community, the audience is watching its behavior and how it speaks to them – and there are a lot of personalities to please. That doesn’t mean lie about who the business is, because transparency should be one of the key drivers of social media engagement … but a little discretion goes a long way.
Think about how many people do not use discretion when they speak throughout our interactions. While we can appreciate straightforwardness and being forthright, having to hear every single detail, thought or opinion a person has can be exhausting. In these cases, the communicator is not respecting the wants and needs of the other person in the conversation.
This goes hand-in-hand with the responsibility we as marketers have to understanding the community we are talking to. Once we know who our audience is, our conversations are more engaging, more worthwhile.
The same can be applied to our interpersonal relationships. Make sure the conversation is balanced and tailored to the person; otherwise, you’re just another worthless print advertisement having a one-way, uninformed and self-serving conversation.
Google+ Reinforces That it’s OK to Speak Differently to Different People
And if you don’t want to feel guilty about not being 100 percent open and honest about who you are 100 percent of the time, Google+ tells us it’s OK to go ahead and compartmentalize your communication efforts.
In this very interesting presentation pre-Google+ (looking back, I now understand this was pre-empting Google’s impending social community), Google talks about how social communities online should mimic our social circles in real life. We wouldn’t talk the same way to our grandmas as we would to our friends, right?
Google+ reinforces the idea that it’s OK to tailor our conversations to the right audience. This works in business and interpersonal relationships. Grandma doesn’t need to know all about your wild days back in college, just like your best friend doesn’t need to know about that rash that grandma gave you a home remedy for.
We Learn from Websites to Put Our Best Foot Forward
When you visit a website, do you see a bunch of copy that’s complaining about all the problems a business has about itself, its clients and the world at large? No, because when we write content for a website, we want to be as helpful as possible to those reading it, while at the same time presenting the business in the best light.
This does not mean we as humans should run around with masks on that hide who we are and what we are feeling, nor does it mean we have to have a solution to every problem. But, there’s a time and place for everything.
Putting your best foot forward in your communications positively affects your own psyche as well as those around you. Words can be used for good or bad, and they are very, very powerful. We think about what we say as businesses within our communications to ensure we uphold the brand.
But, do we always apply the same thoughtfulness to our communications as ourselves?
Think about this next time you have a conversation with others, and how what you are saying is staying true to who you are, while at the same time respecting others’ right to their opinions.
Great websites also offer food for thought; helpful information. This same approach can be applied to your interaction with others. A friend approaching you with a problem with her partner can be met with you either focusing on all the things that are wrong in the relationship or you thinking of ways to help give added perspective.
Conversion Optimization Teaches Us How to Listen and Be Perceptive
As marketers, we have learned to listen to what a business’ audience wants, and then deliver on that. Conversion optimization is listening in action. We observe the audience and deliver what we believe they want in order to gain a more favorable response.
In our interpersonal communications, we may not always know what a person needs right off the bat – we make assumptions. It’s only until we really listen and observe, do we begin to understand the needs of others.
In the discipline of conversion optimization, you have to be willing to put aside your assumptions and you have to be willing to be wrong.
In marketing, we would never deliberately offer up a Web page, for example, that we knew had all the wrong elements. We would not use colors, words and design layouts that were proven to turn that prospect off.
In fact, there are all sorts of ways we as marketers learn to appeal to others to get a favorable response.
Conversion optimization can teach us that if we listen to someone, understand what they want and deliver on that need, we can strengthen the relationship between the company and its audience. Imagine how many interpersonal relationships could benefit from those same tactics.
That age-old saying, “the customer is always right,” still rings true in today’s Web marketing efforts. And never before have we been able to cater so precisely to what the customer wants. Perhaps this newfound insight into what people want can shift our ideas of what it means to communicate to others in all aspects of our lives. Just a thought …
What’s your take?