Does your business have a truly unique product or service? If you are completely honest with yourself the answer is probably no. Very few companies hold the distinction of a truly one of a kind offer to customers. And in today’s hyper-connected global marketplace, it’s harder than ever before to cut through the noise and reach the people who will truly connect with your brand.

To be successful in business you don’t need to be completely unique. You don’t even need to be the first – just like Apple weren’t first to do MP3 players or smartphones. Google wasn’t the first search engine. But these companies were still able to dominate the market to such an extent that many people believe they were. From small local business and Internet startups to blue chip megacorps, what makes any business stand out is simple- it’s their brand.

A Human Approach

Business can lose sight of the fact that customers aren’t abstract big data or segments on a pie chart – they are actual human beings. And humans seek connections not with faceless corporations, but with other humans. Too much analysis can distract from the fact that effective marketing focuses on the basics of human relationships- trust, shared values, and a drive to change something. Simple touches such as banning ‘business speak’ in favor of relatable, inclusive language, publicly admitting to the occasional mistake, even if it’s just an incorrectly posted Tweet, and injecting some personality into the corporate facade, can break down these barriers and bring about a much closer connection. If you’re struggling to be relatable, work with an advertising agency nearby to find your brand values and tone of voice. Without those, you will never be construed as authentic by savvy modern consumers who have been trained to look for fakery from a mile off.

Building A Relationship

It’s an old truism that ‘people buy from people’, but it still holds true in the digital age – perhaps more so when so much of what we are surrounded with is intangible and transient. It’s quite a testament to the enduring power of human connection that even in this age of automation and astounding technological leaps, that is still what customers seek out. The basics to form that relationship include setting up regular and meaningful contact – this could be through an email newsletter or your social media channels, rewarding them with personalized deals and special access, and asking for their feedback to shape operations and genuinely acting on what they have to say.

Play To Your Strengths

Use insights from your data to understand what approach is working for you and resonating with customers. The statistic that matters most is conversions online. Whatever is resulting in a conversion goal for you, you need to do more of. It could be a blog post, a landing page or a subscription – whatever pathway or page is converting the best is where you need to focus your marketing efforts. Mapping out customer journeys like this means that you can focus resources and build a lean, efficient marketing operation that will really help your business to stand out in the crowd.

*This is a contributed post.