Building Authentic Connections With Customers: 15 Tips from Leaders

By Greg Grzesiak Greg Grzesiak has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on January 4, 2024

In the quest to forge authentic connections with audiences, we’ve gathered insights from CEOs and marketing experts on crafting ads that speak to the heart. From addressing pain points with market research to testing varied ad content for resonance, explore the fifteen diverse strategies that have successfully deepened consumer relationships for their brands.

  • Address Pain Points with Market Research
  • Empathize with Audience Challenges
  • Inspire with Customer Story Contests
  • Connect with Focus Group Insights
  • Humor Engages Local Community
  • Use Real-Life Events for Authenticity
  • Leverage Sports Sponsorship for Brand Growth
  • Expand Reach with YouTube Channel
  • Evoke Emotions with Targeted Ads
  • Tell Stories for Deeper Consumer Connections
  • Build Trust with Helpful Information
  • Craft Relatable Narratives for Real Estate
  • Engage Community for Authentic Branding
  • Showcase Success with Client Features
  • Test Varied Ad Content for Resonance

Address Pain Points with Market Research

One strategy I use is understanding what their pain points and problems are through thorough market research and offering my business as a solution to their problems.

For instance, I am offering professional copywriting services, but instead of just saying ‘I can write articles for you,’ I say ‘I can craft SEO articles to help your business reach the appropriate market and audience.’ By doing so, I am letting my target clients know that I understand that the problem is not ‘writing the articles’ per se, but in helping them reach the right people through the use of effective copy.

I help them understand that I am not just ‘selling them articles’—I am selling them the opportunity to connect with their target audience effectively.

Joanna C.Joanna C.
Founder and Owner, The Millennial VA

Empathize with Audience Challenges

Crafting an advertisement strategy that resonates with our target audience on a deeper level involves understanding their pain points and addressing them authentically. Since we focus on providing people and culture solutions, we chose to move beyond direct selling and connect with our audience by empathizing with their challenges.

Rather than being preachy, we spoke directly to our audience in a language they understand—the language of their daily struggles and concerns. Our advertising campaign on Facebook centered around addressing issues such as talent retention, fostering a positive work culture, and adapting to rapid changes in the industry.

By adopting this approach, we sought to build trust and authenticity, positioning our brand as more than just a service provider but as a partner invested in the success and well-being of our clients’ teams. The results of the campaign not only garnered attention but also generated meaningful leads, indicating a resonance with our target audience on a deeper level.

Prachi ZalaniPrachi Zalani
Marketing Manager, NamanHR

Inspire with Customer Story Contests

One of our advertising efforts involves a weekly contest that gives a $150 gift card to a selected customer who shares a story and photo(s) of how they used their customized products. We announce the winners with their submissions on our social media channels. These contest winners help inspire others by showing how they used their personalized items for marketing and celebrations. They also serve as positive customer reviews, which is a valuable benefit for businesses. And, of course, the contest gives all of our customers an opportunity to win $150 toward their next purchase.

Shelley GrieshopShelley Grieshop
Writer, Totally Promotional

Connect with Focus Group Insights

Creating advertisements that resonate deeply with a target audience can be a challenge and isn’t something that you can do with minimal effort. One company where I found this to be especially true was a surf-apparel company that I used to work for, which has a niche but passionate customer base. Reaching our target audience required creating a deep connection with them.

One way that we were able to achieve this was by incorporating focus groups with some people who would be potential customers. By asking them questions about what their values are and what they look for in a surf brand that they would feel comfortable supporting, we were able to see what makes our audience ‘tick.’ This was incredibly invaluable information, which we then used to develop our next advertising campaign, which led to an improvement in sales of +23% the next quarter.

Without taking the time to connect with and fully understand our target audience, we may not have had this type of success, which is why running focus groups is such an effective tactic.

Chris HunterChris Hunter
Director of Customer Relations, ServiceTitan

Humor Engages Local Community

We try our best to provide interesting and informative ads. However, we have found that our best-performing ads have a touch of humor to them. We have found that by introducing a humorous take on things most homeowners go through, we relate better to them and vice versa.

While our ads always feature a product we work with, we typically don’t take a direct sales approach. Rather, as a local company, we try to relate to our customers and community in ways that are more about human experiences rather than hard sales tactics. It has been our experience that we are rapidly gaining followers on Facebook, where we are advertising, and have had both customers and contractors mention how much they like our social media presence.

For us, a focus on building long-term relationships with our customers is our number one priority. And what better way to do so than to make fun of our kids together?

Niki OBrien Niki Obrien
Operations Manager, Custom Exteriors

Use Real-Life Events for Authenticity

Being real is important for building trust, so use real people or real-life events in your ads as much as possible. This sincerity creates a stronger connection because it seems real. It allows you to make your ad evoke strong feelings such as happiness, empathy, inspiration, or nostalgia. Emotional advertising is more likely to stick with people and be shared easily, so it will have a long-lasting effect on them.

Ryan ThompsonRyan Thompson
Editor, Men’s Flair

Leverage Sports Sponsorship for Brand Growth

From 2012 to 2014, Leadhub had the pleasure of working with three brands that advertised with the San Antonio Spurs. I know the typical response from any fiscal conservative (I am one, too) is that sports sponsorships are where businesses go to die. I would simply edit that statement to say, ‘Sports sponsorships are where businesses with poor advertising strategies go to empty their coffers.’

During the three-year period, Leadhub utilized the core of the San Antonio Spurs’ DNA to highlight the same characteristics in three trades companies: hard work, consistency, and dedication—tenets we highlighted within our clients. We highlighted our clients’ reviews and tenure in the city (basic), but more importantly, we price-anchored our entry-level pricing across all three brands. On top of that, our media buys with the team were positioned to gain external visibility instead of in-arena promotions. For our HVAC brand, we consistently advertised our low-cost $5,555 HVAC replacements. For our premium-priced water treatment client, we put out ads about our $2/month whole-home water softener rental program and used our audio logo across all spots. For our window replacement client, we highlighted ‘The home of the $189 window.’

Across all three brands, we stayed consistent in message, consistent in timing, and consistent in media buys to maximize our price points. On digital, we retargeted visitors with the same price points as well as any website that talked about the San Antonio Spurs. During those three years, each brand experienced exponential growth that took them to the next level.

Aaron WattersAaron Watters
CEO, Leadhub

Expand Reach with YouTube Channel

It will be beneficial for a business to create a YouTube channel. As you know, internet users have been using and monetizing the platform for a long time already. Hence, creating a channel will expose your business to a larger audience. However, you have to ensure your content is interesting and that it is properly labeled with appropriate and catchy titles and tags. This way, users will easily find your channel. And just like Facebook ads, YouTube ads will also allow you to reach your audience better and faster. It has also been proven that YouTube has high conversion rates, which is a very positive thing for your business. That said, it is generally advantageous for a B2B SaaS website to have a YouTube channel.

Omer LewinsohnOmer Lewinsohn
General Manager, Marketing Expert,

Evoke Emotions with Targeted Ads

At the heart of our strategy is a focus on the feelings and excitement that come with going to events, showing how buying tickets can lead to unforgettable moments, shared laughs, and deep connections. To connect with our audience even more, we make sure that our ads are in line with their hobbies and values. For example, when we show ads to people who like a certain type of music, we stress the sense of community and shared love for the music.

It’s important that we use humor and emotional triggers wisely, knowing that a well-placed joke or touching moment can make our ad stand out and be remembered for a long time. We don’t mind making people feel things, but we always make sure it’s real and related to our message.

Adam YoungAdam Young
CEO, Event Tickets Center

Tell Stories for Deeper Consumer Connections

At our agency, we use the principles of narrative psychology in our ads. We create stories that connect with people’s needs and tap into widely shared feelings rather than advertising blunt product features. We link our brand with such stories, making their content more exciting and meaningful.

As an example, our recent promotion for a fitness app did not only focus on discussing its features. Instead, we crafted an interesting self-transformation story featuring actual users and their health journeys. The campaign focused on tapping into an inherent drive in every person to improve themselves and had the value of establishing genuine relationships with the audience.

This approach goes beyond the one-click, transactional nature of advertising and forges a lasting relationship. Storytelling is one of the most potent tactics in marketing that has proved effective in this digital age, and it has opened new channels for us to connect more intimately with our consumer base.

Andrew JumaAndrew Juma
Founder and CEO, The AJ Center

Build Trust with Helpful Information

To establish a relationship with a potential client, offering them helpful and necessary information is essential; it demonstrates your expertise in your particular field. Once you have gained their trust, they will be more likely to purchase from your brand, leading to long-term success for your business. We began implementing email marketing campaigns to reach out to our target audience. We provided them with useful tips on how to not only maintain their gardens but also offered easy money-saving hacks and DIY tips. This approach successfully converted readers into customers.

Tammy SonsTammy Sons
CEO, TN Nursery

Craft Relatable Narratives for Real Estate

As a reputed real estate brand in India, we follow a customer-centric approach in all our advertising efforts. At K. Raheja Realty Group, we deeply analyze our audience’s needs and aspirations to craft a compelling narrative that they can find relatable. We aim to appeal to their deepest emotions and values with engaging stories centered around the benefits we can provide them with. We maintain utmost transparency in all our communications to forge real connections with our potential buyers, which is backed by our trusted legacy of 67 years.

To give an example of one of our successful strategies, our social media marketing strategy in recent years revolved around the concept #LuxuryForALifetime. Through it, we highlighted different important aspects of life in our luxury residences to our prospective buyers. It has enabled us to depict how even the most ordinary moments can seem extraordinary in a K. Raheja Realty home, which helped strike a chord with our target group.

Utpal TalatyUtpal Talaty
Head It, K. Raheja Realty P. Ltd.

Engage Community for Authentic Branding

The easiest way to build a valuable, authentic connection with your community is through grassroots interaction, of course. Finding a good community manager is key to this, I feel, as they will either make or break your brand if you’re going after true authenticity. You want someone who will engage with the community and understand it from the bottom up, and then convey this information to you in a valuable, actionable format. This information can then be leveraged for the creation of conversion-rich advertisements that get to the heart of the product you’re selling.

Shaun Gozo-HillShaun Gozo-Hill
Director, 2Game

Showcase Success with Client Features

By featuring successful clients, we share pictures of our past and current clients together with our products at events. Nothing could practically be more genuine than showcasing personalized items ready to be distributed at our clients’ booths or events. It shows that our clients trust us to produce quality items with their logo on them, and it is more likely for viewers of the ad to imagine their own brand on the same items, even though we have an extensive product catalog on our website.

Derek CapoDerek Capo

Test Varied Ad Content for Resonance

Our goal is to appeal to many different types of consumers so that they receive our messages in the way that resonates with them. In practice, this is developed through a creative testing framework that allows us to test 125 ad variations monthly and cull the group down to the single best all-star ad.

Over a few months, those ads become both the driver of most conversions and the insights that fuel further business decisions. There are people who respond to long-form text in ads, and others who respond to short-form video. There are people who respond to negative messages, and there are some who respond to positive messages.

Over time, we create ads for all these different types of people and rely on platforms like Meta to route our messages to the people with whom they most resonate. This is how we create deeper connections with consumers.

Robert BrillRobert Brill
CEO, Brill Media

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By Greg Grzesiak Greg Grzesiak has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Greg Grzesiak is an Entrepreneur-In-Residence and Columnist at Grit Daily. As CEO of Grzesiak Growth LLC, Greg dedicates his time to helping CEOs influencers and entrepreneurs make the appearances that will grow their following in their reach globally. Over the years he has built strong partnerships with high profile educators and influencers in Youtube and traditional finance space. Greg is a University of Florida graduate with years of experience in marketing and journalism.

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