In today's digital age, it can be challenging to cement a sense of connection with your customer. If they are only engaging with you online and ordering products online, the face-to-face connection is a missed opportunity. And yet, we have to adapt. The world is only becoming more digital, and there are creative ways to still create a visceral experience with the customer.
My company, Stay Grounded, offers courses and it has cultivated an online community that comes together for the content. Many of the community members will never meet each other, and I will never meet some of them. So, I make sure to engage physical experiences within the brand so that my community truly feels like they know me and my company. Plus, it keeps them engaged and helps them feel as though they're part of something bigger.
Here are three ways that you too can bring a visceral connection with your customers beyond digital content alone.
1. Mail them swag.
Whenever anyone joins the Stay Grounded community online, we send them a bracelet, mug, journal, or t-shirt with our company logo on it. Many have reacted positively to this one small gesture. It's a welcome token, and also goes beyond the digital connection.
How can you create this same connection with your customer? Common 'swag' items include laptop stickers, clothing, and even small stuffed animals (depending on your brand) that display your company logo. When sending the swag, add in a letter that thanks them for joining the community or purchasing from you; this goes a long way. It doesn't necessarily have to be handwritten if this is being done at scale, but personalize it with their name and autograph each letter. Imagine their glee when they receive that package as a surprise, and how much that heightens their sense of allegiance to your company and community.
2. Host live video calls.
My company also uses video calls and the "live" function on social media weekly to establish more of a human connection with our community members. Having a face-to-face conversation feels far more intimate than being on the phone or messaging back and forth. It's also notable that this face-to-face interaction allows you to communicate non-verbal cues, meaning your communication is more holistic and can go beyond just what you are saying.
Remember that the video call conversations you have or things you say when you hop on the "live" function are really off the fly content. You may have a general sense of what you're going to say, but since it's live, it feels far more intimate and therefore authentic. Those you are talking to know that what you are saying isn't staged. It's the closest thing to a real, face-to-face interaction digitally, and should be taken advantage of to create a sense of intimacy.
3. Host events.
Many online communities host masterminds, summits, or get-togethers to bring people offline and into real, in-person relationships. These can be really fun if everyone already peripherally knows each other from the digital connection. It also enables them to meet you in person, which ultimately results in them feeling more attached to the larger brand purpose.
Through these three experience-based tactics, your customers and users will feel that they are part of a community that surpasses the limitations of the digital. In fact, they will be. And ultimately, this will create a larger sense of commitment and belonging. Engage these three ways of creating a more physical experience as often as possible to grow your community.