Have Some Compassion: Quit Hurting (Instead of Building) Business Relationships

Like most people, I begin each day by checking my inbox and cleaning out the unimportant emails. And of course, more of those emails get deleted than get read.

That’s an awful lot of marketing effort that goes straight into the trash. The same can be said for social media channels. You have to wade through a sea of uninteresting, negative posts to glean out the few that make you think “Right on” or “I get it” or simply “More of this, please!”

How great would it be if all that communication were positive, respectful and important? What if most of our time spent writing or reading emails and social media posts was uplifting rather than a stolen opportunity to take a jab at our business, political or personal adversaries?

I believe that positivity breeds positivity. I’d like to live in a world where everyone practices in compassionate marketing.

What is compassionate marketing?

We get it, each brand has a different angle, and sometimes that angle plays to not-so-warm-and-fuzzy emotions. That doesn’t mean your marketing can’t be compassionate.

So, what is compassionate marketing? It’s the practice of creating messages that demonstrate that you and your business genuinely care about the people you’re marketing to—that you know something (or want to learn more) about what they want and need. It’s about positioning yourself and your business as open to the idea of nurturing new and existing business relationships. It’s about taking the high road and not just making a hit and run sale.

This advice may seem like common sense, yet so much of the messaging we see every day in social media and digital marketing is rude, negative and inconsiderate. Most of us have probably become desensitized to messages like these:

  • Spammy email that somehow makes it into your inbox, addressed to you, suggesting you need some service you’ve never asked for. Frankly, these emails are more than just annoying—they’re downright rude. They insult the reader’s intelligence first, by assuming (or not even caring) whether he or she is the right person for making such a decision. Second, by positioning the message in such a way that insinuates readers have sought out such a service (when they haven’t). And third, by wasting readers’ time by obligating them to undergo an unsubscribe process.
  • Negative and inconsiderate social media marketing. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube are such versatile channels, used in many different ways for many different purposes. So much good can be accomplished, and yet, how many times have you seen the same Facebook ad sandwiched in between your friends’ posts, and thought to yourself “I’m so sick of seeing this?” Or rolled your eyes at the sheer tackiness of the message (“9 out of 10 moms don’t know about this” [insert fad diet supplement miracle])?

If you do happen to fall prey to clickbait, you’ll inevitably waste precious minutes before you realize you’ve been lured into a sales pitch. These are minutes you won’t get back, and the marketer doesn’t care.

A bigger issue

Digital communication has opened the door for people to say things they never would have the courage to say face-to-face. That’s just as true for digital marketing as it is for Twitter users.

When you’re talking to someone who isn’t right in front of you, you don’t have to deal with the immediate consequences of saying something that isn’t thoughtful or true. Communicating from behind a computer screen emboldens even the very meekest among us. If you haven’t taken the necessary steps to shield yourself from the political storm unleashed by the latest election, you know that to be true.

Point is: that sort of brazen carelessness in communication carries over into our professional lives. And as business owners trying to build business relationships, if we’re not careful, any lapse can really damage those relationships and our reputations.

It may be possible that your business’s DNA just isn’t conducive to success in social media or email blasts. There’s something to be said for recognizing that and seeking out other options. We have ways to help you become an expert in 1-to-1 marketing as well.

What do you THINK?

There are a lot of voices out there, and such a limited amount of time to attract a potential customer’s attention.

All digital marketers have a choice. We can hoodwink readers with a misleading click-through to steal their time and attention, or take the time to write informative, creative and captivating content, and earn their time and attention. And their business.

At Civilis Consulting, we subscribe to the old THINK mantra. Before you send out a message, whether for business or personal communication, first determine its worthiness according to this standard: T-True, H-Helpful, I-Interesting, N-Necessary, K-Kind.

When you or your company consistently filter your communications, and take steps to apply compassion in your marketing, you’ll be surprised at how many people will be willing to listen. And be happy to buy.

We’d like to hear your thoughts. Please share them! And if you think that sometimes you may be guilty of rude marketing, and want to take steps to be more compassionate (and more effective), give us a call.