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Chapter #3: You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data

5 May 2015
by Adam Oldfield

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In this digital age of ours, it’s all too easy to forget the importance of building human relationships. 

We’re all guilty of it. We collect data from our customers, buy it, get our hands on it any way we can to ensure we have prospective customers to target with all kinds of products and services, designed to make their lives easier, and our wallets fatter. 

The least we can do is then treat it with respect. Talk to them like they’re people and not just a spreadsheet of names and email addresses.

The way I do this is by pretending that online businesses are not online at all. By taking it back to basics.

Let’s imagine your business is the local corner shop. What kind of customer do you get in there?

Firstly, there are your regulars. 

Your corner shop is their local. They might come to you because it’s convenient, because you have a good relationship and they trust you, or because they like your fresh pastries the best.

Whatever the reason, they’re your customers, and they’re the most valuable to you right now. So how do you treat them? With familiarity, like you know them well and you care about them. Not just about what they’re going to buy from you today, but how they are, how their weekend was, what they have planned for the upcoming week. They’re your friends, so treat them that way.

Next up, those who have been enticed. Similarly to those contacts within your data that have completed a form or have signed up for your newsletter, they’ve seen something they like. Your job now is to keep them happy. Hopefully, they haven’t been lured into your shop by false advertising, so it should be easy to satisfy them. Just give them what they expect, provide good customer service and be as helpful as possible. Turning these potential customers into your regulars is your ultimate goal, so make sure you nurture them.

Last but not least you have your stoppers by. They didn’t know you were there, they weren’t coming to see you, certainly not to buy from you. They’re unlikely to even know who you are, but you’ve somehow wound up with their attention, so make sure you make the most of it! They may need a little more encouragement. Being overly familiar with them isn’t going to help, they’ll see through it. They’re right at the start of the lifecycle relationship with your business so speak to them one-to-one. Point out the benefits. Tell them what makes you special (2 for 1 on Mars bars!) and whatever you do, make sure they remember you.

No matter what you’re promoting, or where the data has come from, you need a strategy specifically for them. Get the approach wrong and you could lose potential customers and future brand ambassadors, and you really don’t want that.

At Force24, we take building human relationships very seriously. In fact, we live and breathe it. It’s in everything we do, from starting and maintaining relationships with clients, to integrating with other marketing agencies, to recruiting into our delicately blended team.

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Adam Oldfield
Managing Director & Founder

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