I know I have mentioned the term relational marketing before, because it’s at the very core of what I do. A crucial element of that approach is the tone of every message to readers, in whatever form: a conversational tone. Today for Writer Wednesday, I want to talk a bit more about mastering a conversational tone, because I think it’s super important…and easy to get wrong.
In case you missed it before, here’s a quick definition of what relation marketing means: “Relational marketing attempts to create a relationship between the customer and the salesperson or business. Because of the relationship, customers will feel a loyalty to the business and return for future purchases.” (Source)
In short: all your marketing is focused primarily on building a relationship with the readers, not on closing a sale (the latter is known as transactional marketing). My goal in every communication with readers, whether it’s in a newsletter, an email reply, on social media, or elsewhere, is to turn readers into fans and fans into superfans. And the only way I can do that, is by building a connection with them, by establishing rapport.
One of the most important elements of relational marketing is the tone you use. It’s also one of the hardest things to explain, because much of it is instinctive. But let me try to explain it with an example.
Say you have a preorder that just went live. Here’s how you could write that in a transactional way:
“The preorder for Read This Now went live! Don’t miss out on this epic love story between Mark and John as they go from enemies to lovers and beyond. The price is only 99c during the preorder but will go up to $3.99 after release, so grab it now!”
Technically, there’s nothing wrong with this message (unless I happened to have made a typo or missed a comma, in which case please ignore that, haha). You’re conveying all the important information, assuming you added the link. But it’s a message purely aimed at sales.
If you would want to write this in a relational way, you’d use a more conversational tone. Maybe you could word it like this:
“I know you’ve all been waiting eagerly for Read This Now. I’ve been certainly teasing you enough with snippets about these two hotheads, haha. Well, I’ve got great news, good news, and bad news. Let’s start with the bad news: it’ll be two more weeks before the book releases. Sorry! I need a little more time to do a solid editing and make it perfect. The good news is that I do have a preorder link for you so you can preorder now and it’ll be delivered straight to your Kindle as soon as it’s live. And the great news is that if you preorder, it’s only 99c compared to the sales price after release, which will be $3.99! So you may want to order now and save some bucks.”
Obviously, I’m making this up as i go along, but I hope the difference is clear. The first approach is factual, but the second assumes a relationship, a connection. It’s almost like talking to a friend.
Write to an Imaginary Friend
In fact, that’s often what I imagine when I write my posts or newsletters, is that I’m writing an update to a friend. That’s not that hard, because I send out weekly newsletters, so it’s almost like catching up with a friend each week.
And it’s the same for social media updates you do or anything else you write to your readers: write as if you’re writing to friends, to people you know and who know you. Even if they don’t. A warm, conversational tone will draw in readers way more than a pushy sales-tone.
Remember: people prefer to buy from people they like. No one wants to buy a car from that pushy salesman, unless he offers the deal of the century. They’d rather buy from that friendly guy who makes them feel like family…and then they’ll come back when they need more.
Also: writing to a friend means asking questions and expecting an answer…and then replying to that answer as well. Ask questions to your readers. Maybe only five percent will reply, but it’ll be totally worth it!
Find Common Ground
The easiest way to connect with readers aside from that tone is to find common ground. Share something about your life that they’ll recognize or empathize with. Something funny always works, haha. Talk about books, reading, or something related. The most popular posts in my group are personal updates when I share something that’s happening in my life or when I do polls about books. They always get a ton of comments.
Whatever you do, build that relationship. Make readers feel like they know you…and like you know them, even just a little. Then treat them like a friend and write that way as well. Make it a conversation, not a one-way sales.