“Show them you care” is a phrase we hear a lot when discussing customer relationships, social media, content marketing. And yet, it seems that the meaning got lost in between the urge for sales and list building.

Think newsletters. While the goal of newsletters is to nurture a trust-based relationship with your audience, they rarely do. Most are bags full of “buy my stuff”, “look at me” etcetera. Not much of a conversation starter.

«But there’s a discount code in it. Because I care about my audience»

Wrong, pal. A discount code isn’t about them – it’s about your sales. And yes, offering a coupon is nice of you. But if that’s all you do to show that you care, you’re doing it wrong.

So, what could you do instead?

Narrow your focus. Stop looking at “the audience”, and zoom in on the people within.

What would make Jason happy? Could you make Laura’s life easier? To find out, you have to be with your audience. Be part of your community, not the minister. And listen to what “your people” are saying.

Paying attention will help you seize opportunities for personal conversations. Like the very personal newsletter I got from Gill a few weeks ago.

personal newsletter_real life example


Wondering how she did that? That’s easy.

I’ve been enjoying Gill’s posts and tweets for a while. She’s a smart content creator and web consultant, and a very attentive one. On Twitter, Gill engages with all people that interact with her messages. And one day, she noticed that I had shared her newest post before she did.

She could have stopped at the nice thank you tweet she sent me, of course.
But she didn’t. Instead, she took the time to:

  • Go through her list and find my e-mail address. Yes, the odd one I use for newsletter signups only.
  • Use her skills to send me personalised and relevant content rather than a newsletter about something I had already read.

No sales pitch. No coupons whatsoever. But Gill’s focus on conversation made a difference. Her fresh approach made her stood out and come across as a flesh-and-blood human being.

And people build relationships with people, not broadcasters.