Happy Un-Valentine’s Day! {or How to nurture your audience year-round}

Happy Un-Valentine’s Day or How to nurture your audience year-round
5 min |

My partner and I don’t celebrate St Valentine’s Day. We tried it for the first couple of years but, to be honest, it felt forced and anti-climatic.

So, about 17 years ago {or possibly longer!} we made a pact to never celebrate it – not even a card was exchanged.

Oh, we felt rebellious! As the high streets turned red we bathed in our non-conformity.

Sure, over the years, we caved once or twice and our kids sometimes have secret admirers {heehee}, but on the whole St Valentine ain’t welcome in our house and here’s why…

1. Too much pressure

I love spending {far too much} time sourcing thoughtful gifts, but Valentine’s has the pressure of birthdays + Christmas + the most breathtaking romantic gift, like “here’s how much I love you forever” squeezed into one present &/or day.

 

2. Railing against convention

We like to go against the mainstream, as in, we don’t find the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame or the Louvre romantic. Our favourite spot in Paris is a place we stumbled across during our first visit, packed out with locals and retains its magical romance every time we go. Maybe you enjoy a restaurant more when it’s filled with couples on Valentine’s night and that’s cool. Ordering food off a menu you can barely read might fill you with dread, but we like to hang out where the locals do.

 

3. The magic is in the small daily actions

Grand gestures are wonderful – they’re exciting and unpredictable and, yes I LOVE it when I see a certain jewellery box from a certain local boutique on Christmas morning {because Santa buys great jewellery} and I enjoy finding heartfelt words and gifts to give. But, the beauty of showing your love in tiny ways is that they nurture and nourish your relationship.

 

Why am I telling you this and what does it mean for your business?!

While points 1 & 2 above deserve their own post/workshop/course which I’ll cover another time, this being an Un-Valentine’s Day, let’s turn our attention to the small day-to-day or week-to-week gestures.

As I said above, grand gestures are important. They are fun for the recipient and can be thrilling, moving &/or intriguing. Whether it involves your personal or professional relationships, delivering grand gestures every week will not only remove their distinctive qualities and no longer be special, the whole process will become exhausting fast.

You already have all sorts of little habits in your personal life, like the way you greet your close friends and family or, as a parent, the routine of how you tuck your kids in bed every night…

What little habits can you cultivate for your customer and audience relationships?

How can you ensure the small gestures you already have in place build the vital connection with your ideal clients?

Put another way, you would not stick a bunch of cherry seeds in the ground and expect to find healthy trees, branches swollen with fruit, the next day. You need to tend and care for each seed, as they sprout and grow into saplings.

Well… I didn’t inherit my Dad’s green fingers, so today I’m using the Un-Valentine’s Day concept instead. 

Your products, services, free offerings, events and marketing campaigns fall under the “grand gesture” domain, whereas individual social media posts, client onboarding, stationary or packaging branding, how you greet customers in store, quotes, key phrases, etc are small, every day but no less important, gestures. Then there’s the grey area of {e}mail newsletters, mail outs, blog posts, podcasts, vlogs and such, which falls between the two.

 

What tiny actions, expressions, tokens, signals, reminders, habits can you offer your community during the rest of the year in between those grand gestures?

When choosing such motions, it’s imperative you consider the different sections of your audience community and how familiar they are with you, for example, you wouldn’t dole out long, squeezy bear hugs to business owners who you just met for the first time at a networking event.

Your audience community comprises of your:

  • Customers
  • Subscribers {eg, email &/or postal mailing list}
  • Followers {eg, social media followers blog readers, viewers, podcast listeners etc}
  • Networks {in-person & online networking groups, friends of friends}
  • Encounters
  • Referrals
  • Ambassadors {uber-fans, franchisees, affiliates, etc}
  • Gatekeepers {press, market leaders, gift givers}

Considering the different touchpoints of where and how you interact with your audience community, the bear hug -type content is more suitable for your Subscribers, Customers, some Followers and Ambassadors than anyone else.

It’s NOT that weird to post long, vulnerable messages to your email list or on your blog on a semi-regular basis, but on social media, they’d fall into the “grand gesture” camp and could be wholly inappropriate for your early encounters, before relationships are established.

For example, while I value every single member of my audience and I share content of value both here on my blog and my social media channels, my email subscribers get to “peek inside my notebook”, so are treated to even juicier stories & writing tips or first look at new products, services and offers, like the way galleries hold preview nights.

As you decide what small gestures {actions, expressions, tokens, signals, reminders, etc} you’ll develop into habits, keep in mind:

  1. Awareness – who you’re targeting {the different sections of your audience} and how warm/hot/cold they are
  2. Touchpoints – where your audience members interact with your business, your publishing & marketing eg website, email, in-person, Facebook, etc
  3. Frequency – how manageable the small gestures are to fit into your schedule {quality trumps quantity}
  4. Intimacy – how intimate you want to be / boundaries + what’s appropriate for particular community members

{Click the image to download a copy.}

Customer Awareness, customer touchpoints, customer journey

Whether you celebrate St Valentine’s Day, are often disappointed or just can’t stand it, take heart in all the other days where you are giving and receiving those small gestures and showing the people who matter that you care

Happy Un-Valentine’s Day

Did this post resonate with you?

Do you have a love/hate relationship with St Valentine’s Day?!

What kind of small gestures will you incorporate into your Audience Touchpoints, content publishing & marketing? Let’s chat about them in the comments below.

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