The other day I got an email about a product someone had just put out, the concept sounded amazing. In fact, it was the kind of thing that just the idea of entices you to check out. It was clever, different and had great potential to be very popular.
But then when I clicked over to the site, I just didn’t feel it. While the great concept was there, it felt poorly executed. Slapped together, rushed and didn’t entice me learn more. There was a surprise element to it, they were not going to tell you exactly what you would get, which was exciting. The product was about getting a feel good experience while learning. But when the marketing seems rushed and lacking thoughtfulness, the very place the experience should start, it set a bad tone.
The thing about small business, personal brands and the handmade and art worlds, is people buy from them for the personal touch. Big companies and chain stores try to add experience to our shopping experience, but they can not compete with the personal connection and detailed touch of the small business.
When you buy from a small business you are wanting to support the maker or creator behind it. You want to make a personal connection with them and feel something far greater than just getting a product.
When I asked my Facebook group the main reason they buy from a brand, and the three main things were the personal benefit of the thing being bought and how it can better their life, a connection with the brand and it’s values, and how it makes them feel.
If we are buying something, hoping it will somehow better our lives or make us a better person, we want to instantly feel confident that the person who created it had us in mind, and not just filling their pockets. Through the use of words, graphics and other visual cues and attention to details, we can show a potential buyer that we have taken time to think this through with their best interest in mind. Crafting something that will really make an impact for them be it big or small. It may be as small as making them feel happy or special. OR as big as transforming their life in some way.
When I first started out as an Etsy seller, it was common form, and even expected that handmade sellers would add something of personal touch to everything they mailed out to customers. Be it a tiny extra gift, a hand written thank you note or special detailed packaging. It was about creating that maker to buyer experience. The very thing big business lacks. It says ‘your purchase matters to me’ I want to give you value and make you feel good and cared for because you gave me value and showed you cared for my workmanship and skill enough to buy from me.
It is about thoughtfulness. In an age of technology and machines, we crave connection. We want the personal touch and to feel people actually care about our needs and not just eager to grab our money. The industrial revolution may have brought down the price of goods and increased the scale of which things can be made, but it lost that personal touch and experience.
Before technology, you would buy directly from a maker, grower or craftsman. You would get to chat with them, make a personal connection and they would make the effort to give you personal attention to show an appreciation for your choice to do business with them. It is something the machine can not offer, and I think in many ways that is why small business is thriving in new and unique ways. We still want attention, connection and care.
This does not mean things must be perfect. Do not use perfectionism to procrastinate getting something out there. What you can offer is needed to help others and better the world, so holding it back, until it is one day perfect is actually doing people a disservice. But you do need to be thoughtful and give it care. And let that be seen in how it is presented, so people feel you are offering something out of a genuine desire to help.
If you slap something up as fast as you can, with little care or much thought for the customer’s experience or needs, it will be felt and it will only turn them off.
Think about when you go to the grocery store. People will tell you that the stuff in the ‘no name’ brand is exactly the same as the stuff in the branded product. It came from the same factory but is sold and half the cost. AND YET you will still buy that branded product. Why is that? Because of how that brand made you feel, because it made you feel good about yourself to have that branded product in your cupboard, it gave you a status and confidence boost, because the packaging is bright and bold and makes you feel happier and because there was attention to detail in how it was presented, which to you says, this brand thought about me, they took time and attention to create something appealing and nice, rather than throwing it in an ugly bland tin, that was slapped together in no time.
If products from big brands affect us this way, even more so do customers seek that care and attention in a product from a small business.
Ways you can show Care in how you Create:
- By taking them time to craft copy and graphics that have the customer in mind, with attention to small details. Even if it isn’t perfect, unique little touches and details show thoughtfulness and stand out.
- Offering extra value. Going above and beyond the initial purchase offer. This could be throwing in an extra training, a free gift, a discount offer or discount on another item, a bonus item or download, more of your time, a free sample. This isn’t about working for free, but surprising the person with something more than they expected, and going beyond your promise to them so that you over deliver on your promise.
- Something personal. A hand wrote thank you note, a personal email, a shout out, sharing the photo they took of your product, commenting on their post, connecting with them in some way personally, to show them that you see them as a person not just money.
- How you package it. If it is a physical product, wrap it up with care and detail, make it feel like a gift, that was wrapped with love. This goes such a long way for adding experience to the purchase. If it is digital or a service, how do you present it as a package, what special touches do you add to the onboarding, and purchase experience and the emails?
How to Brand with Care:
- Consider your customer, not just your personal taste in how your brand.
- Add personal touches and unique details to your branding that stand out and are special.
- Speak your customer’s visual language in your visual branding.
- Use words and language that is on their level and feels personal. Don’t speak down to them or over their head.
- Consider how you want the person to feel, and infuse that in your branding. How will they feel when first seeing it? How will they feel when buying it? How will they feel when they receive it? And how does it make them feel as they use it and experience it? What benefits does it bring them and how does it change their life?
Remember to create with care and give your gifts in a way that shows thoughtfulness. It will really make an impression and impact.