That Awkward Silence

You’ve been there before.

The epic road trip, half a can of pringles rolling on the floor, no breaks since sunrise, all the playlists worn to shreds, and the conversation has been on mute for hours. All that can be heard are the tires grabbing the road in that endless charcoal hum and the occasional whoosh of a passing eighteen-wheeler.

Photo by Luigi Manga on Unsplash

Words won’t embellish on the moment. It’s in this silence that deep connection is formed. The conversation between the words.

In this palpable listening there is magic.

What can Marketers learn from Silence?

Most marketers treat their job like the kid who always wants to know if you can come out to play, when you’ve made it clear many times, you’re not going to jump makeshift ramps on your BMX any more, Ralphie! They just keep knocking, instead of moving on, or waiting patiently for you to change your mind.

But, there is a predictable and calculable digestion phase where an informed consumer needs to connect on a deeper level with your offer. Sometimes, this quiet reflection and connection period is complete by the time a buyer arrives at your website or place of business. Other times, they’re just looking which really means, they want to feel heard enough to determine if this is for them.

Photo by Ocean Biggshott available on Unsplash

Effective marketing includes effective listening. It’s being quiet enough to create the connection. Most marketers think of listening as data-gathering, or indexing social channels via hashtags, and those are some ways to listen. But real listening includes giving people time to ask one more question, try something on again, wallow in the vision of their life after the purchase.

Let them explore their imagination. When you listen closely enough, you can hear the spark of inspiration that started it all for you, the inventor, creator, investor, business leader, or salesperson, you can hear it take hold in your customer. When you’re building a community, listening is essential.

Okay, so face-to-face, listening is a learned trait, one that many salespeople and marketers develop over time, but…

How do you build listening into your digital funnel?

First, add time. Remember, absence makes the heart grow fonder. In the reduced attention span moment we’re sharing, that can be a 3-second pause on your bot, a 22 hour “technical” delay on your special-offer email, or a week between sending a promo-code and it unlocking savings or coins or points.

Remember, absence makes the heart grow fonder. In the reduced attention span moment we’re sharing, that can be a 3-second pause on your bot, a 22 hour “technical” delay on your special-offer email, or a week between sending a promo-code and it unlocking savings or coins or points.

Why? Because that’s how the mind and heart works. You’re interacting with people. They have lives. They like to be remembered and, reminded that you remembered.

Most marketers call that a follow-up, add-on, or upsell. But bake some time into your funnel and watch your initial close rates go up.

Second, use surveys to really listen. Most folks only think of surveys as surveys when you call them surveys. So, don’t call them surveys. Call them forms. Just remember that you’re asking questions which by nature require some follow-through.

Do not use forms to let data die somewhere. Unless you hate your prospects and yourself. Forms, surveys, whatever, they’re ears for the internet and they only work when you read the answers, summarize the data, extract insights, and share the experience with your audience. Remember, they’re listening too!

Last (this is so important, I’m repeating it from the paragraph above), share the experience with your audience. No one knows you heard them unless they can see you hearing them. In written communication, that means parroting back what they said, plus, sharing how it impacted you, changed you, effected you.

Photo by Gabriel Gabriel on Unsplash

When people can see your transformation as a result of your listening, they can’t help becoming magnetically drawn to you.

If you can think of ways to build real listening into your digital marketing efforts that we left out, by all means, add them to the comment form below. We check back often and promise, we take all the comments (even the 44 spam/mo on average) into consideration.

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