Let’s Keep Things Personal

Recently I was challenged to think about traffic a little differently and it challenged me to the point that I thought I would dedicate this week’s post to the thought. You may (or may not) be aware that I am a long distance truck driver in addition to ant efforts I put into my online business. I will often listen to presentations given by other marketers while I am driving in order to make the most of my time and continue my own education. The presentation I was listening to was about driving traffic. The presenter made a comment that really struck a chord with me. He said, “Traffic is people… people with wants and needs”.

I let the recording run a little longer before I realised that I was not really listening to it any longer. Rather, I was processing that thought about traffic being people with wants and needs. So I turned off the recording and continued to process that single idea. Let me share with you some of my musings…

All too often we simply see traffic as a number… visitors to our websites, conversions, signups to our lists etc. We use services like Google Analytics to turn those real people into mere numbers. The numbers are important to the success of our business, of course, but I wonder how much more important are the people that the numbers represent. I wonder how much better off we would all be, both marketer and visitor, conversion, sign up, if we recognised that the ‘traffic’ was in fact real people.

What would change in terms of how we conduct our business? What would we do differently? How would we approach every aspect of how we conduct ourselves online? There are two distinct aspects to the comment that started me down this path. The first is that traffic is people and the second is that they have wants and needs.

Everything that we do as we build an online business is about building relationships with people, strange as that might seems considering our business is domiciled on that great anonymous piece of real estate called the Internet. However it is true nonetheless. We build relationships with our readers and subscribers in order to build trust. We hope that that trust will eventually translate into sales. We build relationships with other marketers in order to have them promote the digital products that we create as affiliates.

Somehow, though, we get so caught up in the day to day tasks associated with running our business that we just lose sight of the people and start to look only at the numbers. It is at that point that they stop being people. As people they need things. A number is inanimate and, therefore, needs nothing. Once we get into that sort of mindset our business is in trouble because we have lost site of the person and they will simply go elsewhere to have their needs and wants met. Isn’t that a scary thought?

The solution is really quite simple. Treat those with whom you interact in the course of your online activities in the very same manner you would like to be treated yourself. It is about respect. It is about dignity. The strangest thing about this entire line of thought is that if we do meet others needs and wants our business will go from strength to strength… not because we are great marketers but because we treat people as people and not just numbers.

Let me finish with a personal story. The bank that my wife and I have banked with for at least 30 years was recently bought up by a bigger bank and absorbed into the bigger bank’s identity. For 30 years we have loved dealing with the bank because we were treated as people. The tellers knew our names and always seemed to have time for you. Nothing ever seemed to be a problem… and that did not matter which branch we went to. They were ‘our bank’.

Now the bank has a new name and a new way of dealing with their customers. Even though many of the people are the same a new attitude is prevalent and we feel like nothing more than a number. As I write this we are in the process of moving all our banking to another bank… after 30 years! It is not because the bank that bought our old bank is inefficient or that it lacks the range of services we want or that the location does not suit us. The only reason we are moving banks is that we do not want to feel like we are just a number!

So, let’s keep it personal in our online businesses. Let us never lose sight of the fact that our website visitors have needs and wants and visit for a reason. Let’s remember that the people on our list are looking for something from us… something more than the next affiliate offer we choose to dish up for them. Let’s remember that they are people.

If you want to add to these few thoughts please leave a comment. I would love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to share with your own subscribers and readers.

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