With all the acronyms in the modern day jargon of digital marketing, it’s no surprise that H2H marketing gets pushed to the back of the line. Some of you might not have even heard of it before - given that it’s technically not an actual segmented service of digital marketing, like B2C or B2B marketing.
Instead, H2H Marketing refers to “human-to-human” marketing practices that all digital marketers can benefit from employing across their campaigns. The challenge is that the larger and more technologically advanced our consumer bases become, the more we tend to rely on automation as marketers to manage time and efficiency. But that doesn’t give us an excuse to replace the personal touch with a cold, emotionless, automated touch.
The more technologically integrated our campaigns become, the harder we have to work as marketers to ensure we’re still bringing the “human touch” to every marketing interaction.
Thankfully, we’ve written up a quick 8 minute read on just why you need to bring that all important “human” touch back into your automated marketing strategies. Plus we’ve included a few simple ways to do so.
As I mentioned before, the issue we face as sophisticated, cross-platform marketers is that we rely on automation to handle the scale and complexity of our campaigns.
In a completely oversaturated market of digital media, it’s now considered par-for-the-course just to be constantly active on social channels at all all hours of the day. Throw in emails and management of actual content development, publishing, and promotion, and you’ve already lost the ability to handle your workload with man hours alone.
Below you can view a chart that shows just how saturated the current digital media marketplace is today, as opposed to just a few years ago.
The fact is that singular, simple, and siloed marketing campaigns don’t cut it in today’s world - where showing up all day on just a single platform is considered the bare minimum.
This is why digital marketing is steadily shifting towards cross-platform marketing strategies and H2H tendencies. In order to truly cut through the white noise and set brands apart from the competition, marketers are relying on cross-platform campaigns to create a more ubiquitous sense of their brand.
But campaigns of this scale require automation. Which we know can be the enemy of authentic human-to-human interaction.
This is where the power of H2H marketing comes into play. It’s important for us to remember no matter how complicated our campaigns become that we are - at the end of the day - attempting to reach a real human on the other end of the phone/screen/form.
Too often are we willing to spam our followers’ inboxes without truly considering how bothersome emails are to each of us. We all know the stats, and yet we still don’t take the time to treasure each moment in our lead’s inbox as the rare golden opportunity that it is.
“Here’s the thing. You don’t want more email yet you presume your customer wants more email because email is the number one tool businesses use to communicate with their customer. Why do you think they wanna read your email? They don’t. Unless your email is designed and written in a way to spark curiosity, to get their attention, to provide value, to drive them to act.”
author of ‘Never Lose A Customer Again’
Bringing this fundamental drive of helping the human on the other side of the marketing interaction back to the forefront of marketing is the spine of the H2H movement.
Luckily, automation tools give us what we need to keep that custom, personalized touch that makes so many digital campaigns successful. But not everyone knows just how complex, powerful, and potentially dangerous they can be as well. Which is why so many email automation users don’t use custom contact fields in email automation (beyond first names at best).
And the Mailchimp screenshot above barely even does it justice.
It may be a daunting task to face, but when it comes to harnessing the true power of automation, an all-in mentality really is necessary.
Imagine being greeted by name when landing on a new site, or even when being welcome back to one you’ve visited before. Taking the time to create this customized, familiar sense to your brand adds the ever so important human touch back into automation.
Sure, anyone can have a super fancy email or website, but to be able to go the extra mile and learn what makes your customers convert - that’s what makes you stand out.
Chatbots are another great opportunity to flex the human-to-human automation muscle. Chatbots allow you the personalized automation of most customizable automation tools but also allow you to jump right back into the conversation to catch the user at the perfect time in the conversion process to get them across the finish line.
Now that’s something you can’t do with any passive email automation or any half built welcome bot.
In today’s digital age we far too often forget that marketing is more than just a numbers game. I’d rather have 10 truly happy clients who want to scream-sing our praises from the mountain tops than have 50 clients who never remember my name, let alone recommend my business to someone else.
But referral marketing and the importance of user testimonials is a conversation for another day ;).
Spreadsheets. So. Many. Spreadsheets.
Anyone who’s danced with the automation devil has also had to dive into the deep end of Excel / Google Sheets. Whether it’s an email list, exported CMS info, potential lead contacts, special offers, or product IDs, expert automation calls for a mastery of housing, managing, and optimizing data.
Above you can see a classic example of an email automation spreadsheet that someone might use to create a personalized email sequence. This way, they can rely on the automation of the tool while also connecting with each of their many email subscribers in a personal, human-to-human way.
This spreadsheet, and others like it, are one way how marketers can help bring the personal touch back to their email automation, but it often requires a long and exhaustive process of data collection.
Well guess what? It’s worth it.
The more user information you can possibly collect, the more you can dynamically personalize each email to bring a familiar sense of a genuine conversation.
And this is where most marketers fail to take advantage of the power of automation.
It’s always a combination of frustrating and exciting when a client says they “already use automation” and end up only relying on 2 or 3 custom fields… You know what’s really using automation? 6 fields, 8 fields, hell, I’ll even take 12 if you can get them for me.
While 12 custom fields might be much in terms of finding a way to use them in a single email, you still get the point of the quote. The more data you’re able to collect on your audience, the more you’ll be able to automate the actual base personalization of your sequence.
But pay close attention to that italicized phrase. It’s only “base personalization” for a reason.
It’s no surprise that the real personalized human touch has to come from the actual human building the marketing campaigns in the end.
This is why at Xspekt we like to take the time to onboard our clients in a far more hands-on way than most agencies. If possible, we even like to go through brand orientations and on-site visits to get the best sense of your brand as possible.
This is how we’re able to craft content and copy that so strongly speaks to the strength of our client’s actual story. We aren’t just relying on the custom field tags and cold data that we’ve been given, we’re taking the time to get to the heat of the matter - that true beating heart of every brand, every story, every campaign, every ad, every email, every touch.
It takes time and due diligence.
Oftentimes campaigns can take their sweet time to be built.
The results of taking the time to build a cross-platform strategy and campaign the right way almost always speak for themselves:
“It’s incredible how well they were able to capture our voice so well and synthesize our brand’s message after visiting our location only one time.”
As modern marketers who constantly are looking for how we can push towards the cutting edge, we often forget some of the simplest principles that have served as trusted practices of some of the most successful marketers and salesmen.
A smile here, a handshake there, and a kind and attentive ear can take you miles. Especially when you’re the one human face in a sea of binary computer screens.
At the end of the day it’s as simple as remembering who you’re talking to. Even if you take all the time to track the phone locations, email clicks, and Facebook shopping behavior of your ICPs (ideal customer profiles), it’s still a human being on the end of the line that you’re trying to get ahold of.
It goes beyond just remembering who you’re talking to. It’s taking the next step of getting to know them, that’s going to help bring the “human” back to automated H2H marketing.
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