How to Grow Relationships through Digital Marketing

When you look up the term digital marketing, you’ll get a ‘not-exactly-heartwarming’ definition that it’s ‘any form of advertising on an internet-connected device with a screen.’ Now if that doesn’t give you the ‘warm and fuzzies’ I’m not sure what will (sarcasm intended).

And when you think of it who doesn’t want more advertising messages pushed our way? I just can’t wait to see the next Facebook or Pay Per Click ad.

And who doesn’t want to ‘snuggle up’ with their favorite Internet-connected device with a screen (but I bet if most of us were being real we have fallen asleep looking at our phones a time or two).

However, I would contend in our ‘age of increasing screen time’ a new trend is underway and smarter marketers (AKA real-live people) are all over it. This trend is…

In this age of digitization, the smart people are all about personalization.

Even those money-grubbing, pay to play social media networks (Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook you can take a bow right now) aren’t denying that REAL connections (or you can say ‘engagements’ to throw-in some fancy ‘corporate-speak’) are where it’s at (and what’s being ‘rewarded’ with free (organic) exposure and clicks). And if you’re looking to grow your bathroom remodeling business or get more guests at your hotel or diners in your restaurant, the formula for success is the same.

You and I need customers. Yes, this is your ‘Captain Obvious’ speaking right here. You want people to know about your products and services (marketing certainly plays a part here) and see you as the expert and ‘go-to’ resource when they’re thinking about buying.

The challenge is in our ‘over-digitized’ push-marketing (‘er too much advertising) world is how can you get customers or prospects to think of your business before you run out of money promoting what you do?

How do you create meaningful relationships (dare I say customers) through a seemingly impersonal Internet-connected device with a screen?

Surprisingly the secret is much less about ‘opening up your wallet’ than it is about ‘opening up your heart.’ Not to get all sappy here, but in our ‘over-digitized’ world it’s all about developing relationships, not building ‘followers.’

The question is how? In this article I’ll dish out 5 practical ideas to ‘Rehumanize Your Business’ (note – I’m borrowing this title from a good book I’m reading right now from Ethan Beute and Stephen Pacinelli) and grow digital relationships to grow your business. Let’s check them out.

Idea #1 to grow digital relationships – Cut out ‘corporate-speak!’  

Let’s see how well you can ‘understand’ this mumbo-jumbo…

Let’s take a deep dive on how we can get our customers and stakeholders fully engaged in our content. It’s on everyone’s radar so we need to unpack this knowledge for it to resonate with the human capital at the enterprise-level firm. In order to be a disruptor, we must right-size our marketing program and interface with our prospects. We’ll be able to move the needle, explain our core competencies and grow our business at scale when we keep prospects in the loop and touch base more often.

W.T.F. (and hey – I needed to include the ‘F’ for this paragraph even though I don’t swear!).

Does this paragraph mean a lick to you? Are these ‘corporateers’ even speaking English? Even if it’s just a ‘bit’ confusing this is how many ‘so-called professionals’ talk and write on blogs, social media, web sites, white papers (those even sound fancy and official) videos and podcasts.

Don't speak corporate BS be authentic digital | Innovate Builders Blog | Innovate Building Solutions | #DigitalMarketing #CorporateLanguage #Digital #MarketingAdvice #MarketingPodcast

This ‘corporate crap’ (IMHO) makes you and I (if I were ‘smart enough’ to use it) sound like we’re trying to impress someone with our ‘professionalism.’

In the age of ‘corporate-speak’ we’re actually looking for real-live authentic people. People we know. People we can trust. People (and businesses) who have our back.

Bottom line – if you want to grow relationships on digital devises speak like a real-live-person.  

Idea #2 to grow digital relationships – Give love to get love.  

Think about a friend or business relationship who means a lot to you. OK, who comes to mind?

The first person who came to my mind while writing this was Diane Rehor. Although Diane isn’t someone I talk to a ton (as a matter of fact, she’s really closer with my wife because they work together as speaking consultants and get together for ‘girl’s lunches’ all the time) I value our friendship.

grow digital relationships care about others Diane Rehor | Innovate Building Solutions | Innovate Builders Blog | #relationship #BuildingRelationship #LinkedInRelationships

You see the reason Diane’s name came to mind is due to a beautiful quality she has. You see Diane is wonderful about ‘making you feel good about you.’

She’s fascinated with…you. She wants to learn more about …. you. She’s not afraid to share what wonderful things…. you…. are doing on social media.

In this age of ‘ME,’ Diane is all about…YOU.

And this is where most of the rest of us can be ‘technically challenged’ on social media (and I have to admit to being ‘guilty as charged’ on this point more than a time or two). We want OUR likes. We want OUR shares. Flat out – we want love, before we’re willing to give love.

Ask yourself this question, “How much am I liking and sharing O.P.C. (Other Peoples Content)? Am I sharing their posts, blogs, videos and podcasts? How often am I their biggest cheerleaders?”

I’m convinced when I (digitally or otherwise) show more love, I’ll get more love.

Are you digitally generous with the love or are you locked into the familiar station WIIFM (What’s in It for Me)? 

Idea #3 – Stop worrying about your U.M.D. – Don’t be afraid to put a ‘face on it!’

My two sons (Grant and Parker)and I like to joke that the men (not the women mind you, because they’re waaaaaay toooo pretty for what I’m about to share) in our family suffer from a grave disease many have never heard of. This disease is called U.M.D. It stands for….

Ugly Man Disease.

Although my boys are definitely better looking than I (not a difficult feat), none of us (yet) are being recruited as male models.

However, despite our ‘dreaded, incurable (OK maybe it’s curable with some plastic surgery) UMD this ABSOLUTELY DOES NOT MEAN we can’t create value (and improve relationships) on social media, web sites, blogs and YouTube by putting our ‘mugs’ on video. Whether these are marketing videos or personal video emails directed at one person there’s no platform which not only expresses what we think, but also how we feel better than video.

Digital on line survey to grow relationships | Innovate Building Solutions | Innovate Builders Blog | #DigitalMarketing #VideoContent #GrowRelationships

And video is not only hot, it’s getting hotter. By 2021 it’s expected the average person will spend over 100 minutes watching video per day.

Growth of video according to | Innovate Builders Blog | Innovate Building Solutions | #marketingchart #VideoGrowth #YoutubeVideos

If your personal or business digital marketing program is as ‘dead as a doornail’ (whatever that means) start thinking about Frequently Asked Questions you can answer with video. Could you make ‘how to’ videos to give the steps for a successful project (even if your potential customers ARE NOT going to do it themselves)? Can you shoot a video outlining your personal ‘take’ on industry trends?

In my business I’ve named ‘2020’ as ‘The Year of the Video.’ We’re self-producing video every other week (and here’s an example showing Frequently Asked Questions about our laminate shower wall panel line below).

Even if you’re like me (and suffer with UMD) ask yourself how the value of relationships grow through business or personal (one to one) videos by sharing your mug (as raw and real as it is)? Fortunately, in today’s day and age ‘authenticity’ trumps ‘pretty.’ Even those of us with UMD are in good shape!

Idea #4 – And the survey says…. we value your opinion

In my ‘infinite wisdom’ I’ve loved ALL of my ideas initially, it’s sometimes the ‘eventually’ which has got me. I’ve NEVER launched a business or rolled out a new product and wasn’t convinced my idea was a winner.

However, as timed marched on I sometimes learned my timing, the market or my execution proved me wrong.

I have to wonder how many of my past ‘business flops’ could have been stopped dead in their tracks if I’d have reached out to prospects and customers and got their opinions BEFORE I plowed ahead with my extensive (sarcasm intended) wads of cash in hand? And what’s cool today with our digitally connected world today it’s never been easier to get input before spending money.

For example, through the power of a well-used email marketing list (note – I use this list as an education platform) program our company recently reached out to customers and prospects to help choose 2 new laminate wall panels we introduced. I was blown away when we got 160 responses and 40 were personal emails with a detailed explanation of what pattern(s) we should choose and why. The winning patterns are shown below.

Avalon Pine 24×16:

Avalon Pine 24x16 | innovate builders blog | Innovate Building Solutions | #AvalonPine #laminatewallpanels #FiboPanels #Fibo
Avalon Pine 24x16 | innovate builders blog | Innovate Building Solutions | #AvalonPine #laminatewallpanels #FiboPanels #Fibo
Sliver Grey Marble 24×24:

Silver Grey Marble 24x24 | Innovate Building Solutions | Innovate Builders Blog | #SilverGrey #FiboPanels #Laminatewallpanels #BathroomWallPanels #Fibo
Silver Grey Marble 24x24 | Innovate Building Solutions | Innovate Builders Blog | #SilverGrey #FiboPanels #Laminatewallpanels #BathroomWallPanels #Fibo

We all LOVE To give our opinions (some people even love to get ‘unsolicited opinions’ -but that’s a subject for another day). Ask yourself….

Could I learn more (and build stronger relationships) if I surveyed prospects and customers BEFORE relying on my ‘infinite wisdom’ to attempt to figure out what they want?

Idea #5 – In the ‘professional world’ of business don’t be afraid to share the real you…warts and all.

Our personal lives and careers are never a straight line up. We experience challenges along the road of life we keep hidden from our ‘Instagram-Photoshopped-Picture-Perfect-Profile’ on social media.

However, it’s through our vanity, our ‘picture-perfect’ (who buys it anyway?) image which puts a barrier between us and others. We don’t allow space for a ‘real relationship,’ but default to a ‘concocted connection.’

I’ve found my deepest connections happen when I share struggles and attempts to make ‘sense of them’ (like I did in the post below titled My Circumstances Don’t Define Me: 8 Reflections from My Heart).

My circumstances don't define me 8 reflections from my heart | Innovate Builders Blog | Innovate Building Solutions | #Reflections #Marketing #WorkingHard

While I shared my health problems (and lessons from it) in this

 blog post, I could have also shared my ‘story’ on a video, podcast or social media post.

Ask yourself, “How could my ‘digital relationships’ grow if I shared the real me and dumped the ‘Instagram-esque’ perfect image I’m attempting to get the world to ‘buy?”

Conclusion…and now it’s your turn  

I hope I’ve given you some ‘food for thought’ (and practical ideas) on how to use digital marketing to not only grow your business, but more importantly your personal relationships. However, I know this is only a very small list.

Now, I’d love to learn from you. How do you grow relationships using digital for your business? Please comment – or call me at 888-467-7488 so we can share what we’re learning.

Connecting with me and our team

If you’d like to talk to me (or Michelle, our Marketing Manager) about digital marketing (or wholesale supply of bathroom products – after all I do have to ‘look forward’ to paying for my daughter Jade’s college education) call 888-467-7488.

If you want to grow your bathroom remodeling or new home building business with simple to install tub and shower wall surrounds and become a bathroom wall panel dealer (hey – I have to plug my business sometime – I have hungry mouths to feed – ha! Ha!) call 888-467-7488 and ask for Mike.

If you’d like to connect on LinkedIn in, you’ll find me at Mike Foti on LinkedIn.

Mike Foti

Mike Foti is the President of Innovate Building Solutions.

Mike Foti

Mike Foti is the President of Innovate Building Solutions.