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Human-to-Human Marketing with Angela Henderson

Your customers would rather connect with YOU than a machine (AKA automation). There’s another way to run a business: human-to-human marketing.

Best Human-to-Human Marketing with Angela Henderson

Summary: Human-to-Human Marketing

Tired of feeling like you're connecting with automation rather than a business? There's another way: human-to-human marketing.

  • A revelation about children's toys that led Angela to create Finlee and Me
  • The biggest lessons Angela learned in her early years and how she uses those experiences to help people
  • Learn what human-to-human marketing means
  • Examples of what it looks like to experience human-to-human marketing
  • How you can all use human-to-human marketing in your business

Words of Wisdom

If you're not willing to connect with your customers at an emotional level, which is where we experience emotional motivators to buy, that lack of connection will result in a reduction in your sales. — Angela Henderson, coach

Transcript: Human-to-Human Marketing

My name is Jen McFarland. I help business owners like you, lead, plan, and execute their projects for maximum impact. Women-led businesses receive less funding yet our businesses are more successful. As consumers, we hold the purse strings. It's time for us to take on the business world. Welcome to Women Conquer Business. [music]

Meet Angela Henderson

Founder of the highly successful online store, Finlee and Me, Angela taps into a decade's worth of knowledge of how to grow a thriving enterprise and pours it into her business consulting clients. As a business consultant, she partners with startups and small businesses to grow their brands through hands-on support, ensuring foundations are laid in order to leverage growth. Her skills were honed at the helm of Finlee and Me where she learned everything from branding, PR, sales funnel, email marketing, websites, copy, SEO, and more. She knows what it truly takes to have a strong brand, consistent sales, steady growth, and overall dedication. Angela has been featured in the media including Talking Lifestyle with Ed Phillips and David Cook, Inside Small Business, and on numerous Australian and international podcasts. Please, welcome Angela Henderson to the show. [music] Hey, Angela? Thanks for being on Women Conquer Business.

Thanks so much for having me. Awesome to be here.

It's so great to have you. Can you tell us a little bit about your journey as an entrepreneur?

Yeah. I'd love to. So when my little man Finlee, who's not going to be little much longer, he turns 10 at the end of this month, when I first had him, I was just looking at all the baby toys that were around and what really struck me was because there was so much that was battery-operated. And that's okay, just I'm not about toys in my house that are battery operated, but for me though, I just was thinking back to my own childhood growing up in the farm in Alberta, Canada. And I just remember going, "Oh."

And there's so much to be said about just going outside, being connecting with nature, and just us learning on our own. And so I started looking for toys that were readily available that would spark imagination, work on providing motor skill development, color recognition, but ultimately create long-lasting childhood memories. And that's how my first business Finlee and Me, named after my son, came about. And yeah, through that, we've been doing Finlee and Me now for nine years. We've just wrapped up Finlee and Me. So we were an e-commerce platform. We had about 1,400 different products at one stage in our toy store. And also through Finlee and Me, I became one of Australia's leading parents and bloggers, being 1 of 30 to work with Netflix, working with big cruise lines over here, chain stores, someone like Walmart, Target, Kmart.

And so yeah. So that's how my whole entrepreneurship started. And then besides Finlee and Me, I'm now in my second business, which is Angela Henderson Consulting. And I work, specifically, with women in business on creating the strategy and structure they need to grow six-figure and beyond businesses.

I think that is so cool. And I just love how you started one business and then now it's grown into something else. Something that I've also noticed about your marketing is that you talk about how you made a lot of mistakes along the way. Do you want to speak to any of those and how that helps you today?

I think for me when I first started off, I looked at everything as mistakes and failures because again when you're first starting in that entrepreneur world, you take things to heart. But as I've gotten older and I've gotten wiser and I've also gotten more years behind me, I actually am very grateful for those mistakes because those mistakes, I believe, are now looked at as lessons and they're lessons that I needed in order to put the puzzle pieces together and in order for me to grow from pillar to pillar. So the lessons along the way.

My biggest lesson is when Finlee and he was getting to a point of capacity and we were going, "Do we double down on this and make it even bigger," was we moved to a third party logistics warehouse where we ship all of our products to them and they're the ones that dispatch it, send everything out, etc. But it was an epic disaster because, A, I live in Queensland, Australia. And it was in a place called Adelaide, South Australia which is probably halfway-- you could say from East Coast North Carolina down to Florida.

And for me, it was a disaster, because when you stock so many products those products need to move very quickly. And if they don't move quickly, you're paying a shelving fee every single week for every product pretty much. And so what happened is is those-- because we had probably about 25% of products that moved all the time, and then you've got your buffer products that are either seasonal or products that are being found through search engine optimazation on Google.

And so what was happening then is those shelving fees were then eating into our profit margin for those products that weren't moving as quickly. And ultimately, we ended up having to make the decision to bring it back to our old place. Here we've got to find [inaudible] space for that to happen, and we managed it that way. So that was a big lesson for me. It was hours and money and time, and it was what I needed to again move me to my next step.

And I think that that's what's so cool. It's not necessarily successes and failures; it's just lessons. And then it is what allows you to grow. And look at you today. I mean, you're doing fantastic stuff.

Yeah, thank you for that, yes. And like I said, a lot of people say-- I do not believe in hustle. But I do believe that you do have to work. Now I'm not saying you have to work hard, I think you just have to-- you learn to work smarter. But I do think that any business-- yeah, you've got to be mindful of the hustle as everyone on Instagram talks about, or a lot of the big entrepreneurs talk about because of burnout. So I believe you've got to work hard at the beginning, and then things start to get a little bit easier.

I think that's so true. And I love this topic that we're going to cover today which is human-to-human marketing, because I do think that it's one of the things that can make your life a little bit easier as en entrepreneur or business owner. So tell us, what is the definition of human-to-human marketing?

Human-to-human marketing, the way that I see it, is that human-to-human marketing pertains to the experience and the interaction one faces with the particular brand. And I believe where we're at right now, where things are so overly automated-- and don't get me wrong. I have numerous automation points in my own businesses and have throughout the years. But there comes a time when automation needs to not be the first forefront of it. I believe that all businesses really need to look at the human-to-human marketing essence and component of it, because B to B and B to C, in my opinion, is quite 1980s thinking. And where we're going in a world where people are disconnected and people are longing for connection. Especially, we know, in first world countries. Our level of loneliness and suicide rates, etc. are much higher than those third world countries. We need to be thinking about how are you implementing those human-to-human touch points with experiences and those interactions in order to have you stand out and keep your business going stronger than your competitor's.

I think that that is so true. And I appreciate automation a lot, but I also love connecting with brands where I feel like I'm special or I'm communicating with the people behind the scenes and not just with the automation. Can you give me an example of human-to-human marketing that you love?

Yeah, 100%. So when I was pregnant with Finlee, there's this beautiful little restaurant and cafe here in Brisbane, Australia, where I live, called Tognini's. And every single day throughout my pregnancy, I went and either had a raspberry muffin or a blueberry muffin and my, I guess you could say, drink of choice is Diet Coke. I know there might be people going, "You're drinking poison." I get that. I don't do drugs, I don't smoke, I don't whatever. It's my drink of choice. So I do Diet Coke [laughter]. And what I found there was, is that at the beginning it was just a normal transaction. Nothing really changed. But then what happened is they then started to take, "Oh, Angela, how are you today?" And as that progressed and I had the baby, "Oh, what did you name the baby?" "Finlee." And then every time I was greeted with, "How's Finlee? How are you doing?" And now it's been like I said, Finlee will be 10 at the end of this month here in August at time of recording. So for the last 11 years, I continue to go to this cafe which is now 20 minutes one way for me, so 40 minutes return trip. Their muffins aren't even as good as they used to be if I'm 100% honest, all right? They don't have as much fruit in them as they did because the berries of Australia are quite expensive now but I still go because I go because of the interaction and the experience they've created for my family and I.

That is so great and I think that-- see, and I live in Portland, Oregon which is pretty well known for still having a lot of independent businesses, mom and pops, and that is 100% the types of interactions that I love. Having business meetings with somebody and the people behind the counter know me, I know them, I get to introduce them to somebody new. I mean, I think that that is so cool. But that is definitely not the case everywhere in the States and probably not everywhere in the world.

So to that end, do you think that human-to-human marketing is different depending on the country?

Listen, I think there's elements that you would always have to take into consideration because every country has its unique norms and cultures and wellbeing. But if you look at, again, just human beings just in general, we all still-- our emotional needs and our need for belonging and our need for community still is all there. So even though other things might be slightly different in different countries, I still think human to human marketing is going to be very similar across the board because if you just treat people like people, then there's not much comparison to do depending on country location. And I also believe if you look at the essence of human to human marketing but also just with marketing in general, I really believe that conversation, that human touchpoint, is conversion. So the more you're able to bring in conversation, naturally, over time, the conversion will take place. And there's also a quote, I can't remember who said it, but I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel. And, again, I think in the world of automation, that feeling is not there. It's a robot doing it, right? Whereas, again, if you look at creating those experiences and interactions to [h-stage?] marketing, having those conversations they're going to lead to conversations and like you said, people will never forget how you made them feel.

I mean, maybe you've already answered this question to an extent but why do you think businesses need human to human marketing?

Listen, I think there's three main reasons that I've seen throughout my time in being in business. And one, I get it could shock a few people, but most recent studies have concluded that your customers are human. So I've talked upon that briefly, right? So if your customers aren't human, then you probably don't have a business.

Two, I also believe that you must stand out and be the Purple Cow. And for those of you that don't know what I'm talking about, the Purple Cow is a book by Seth Godin, an amazing book if you haven't read it. And what Seth basically talks about is when him and his family were driving in France, they were going there and also they were just in awe of these beautiful cows. There's like brown cows, white cows, whatever but eventually, those cows became boring because they just blended in, and they were everywhere. And Wade says, "But what would really be cool is if you were the purple cow." And he says, "That would be remarkable. That would be different, and that would stand out." So in the essence of why you need it is in businesses now where there are tens of thousands of businesses around the world competing, you must stand out and be the purple cow.

And lastly, I believe with H2H marketing, the reason why it is necessary is I touched upon it earlier is that emotional motivators draw consumer behavior, which equals your sales. So if you're not willing to connect with the humans who are your customers at emotional levels where there are those emotional motivators to buy, you're probably going to see reduction in your sales.

Yeah. No. I mean, I think that all sounds very sensible, and yet I don't know that everybody is employing human-to-human marketing [laughter].

No. So many businesses, when I speak about this at different speaking events or on different podcasts, people are like, "Okay." They're like, "We're probably doing it," but maybe they didn't know the term human-to-human marketing. Some people also use the universal term people-to-people, so P2P or H2H, right? But then when we start to kind of unpack it like we're doing today, people are going, "Okay. Yep. I probably don't have much interaction with my clients on a regular basis," or, "We probably need to look at this a little bit. Thank you for bringing it to our attention." Some of this stuff is not rocket science. All the cafe does when we go there is they say, "Good morning," and they greet me. They'll ask me a couple of questions. That's it. It's not like they're giving me a back massage and giving me Gucci watches or bags when I'm leaving. It's a simple hello and an interaction.

Yeah. It doesn't take much, but it can further the sales process and make conversions happen. So what does human-to-human marketing look like from a sales process perspective?

Yep. I picked this one up in a beautiful book called The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann. So I want to talk to you about the traditional sales process. Typically, what we've been doing and what majority of businesses continue to do is they've got a prospect. They qualify. They present. They overcome objections. They close. They follow up maybe. That's not a good definite. And sometimes, maybe, maybe not, they provide customer service. Again, all that's questionable, okay, because [inaudible] sometimes that people might close, but then I never hear from them again. They're just treating me like a number. But if you look at the human-to-human sales process, I generally believe that it looks a little bit more like how Bob Burg and David Mann from The Go-Giver talk about it is that they say you create value. You touch people's lives. You build networks. You be real. You stay open. And when you do this, you become profitable. So it's always about having the core interest of what is it that human who's buying from you actually needs versus in the traditional sales process, how quickly can I get their credit card and be done with them? So, again, by creating the value, touching people's lives, building the networks, being real, and staying open, you'd be very hard-pressed not to become profitable.

No, I love that. How do you keep from having to make specific products to meet everybody's needs if you're listening and-- you know what I mean? Where does the customization part--?

Right. Yep. So I guess that can come in at a variety of different touchpoints because, again, if you know who your ideal client is, you're going to be building your products and your services around that ideal client. It's more about what are you going to do with that ideal client?

So how are you going to interact with them and what experiences are you going to actually do? So if you're on eCommerce platform, for example, some of my clients they will actually pick up the phone now seven to ten days after the parcel has been dispatched. And so, instead of sending an e-mail [inaudible], "I hope you received your parcel and you enjoyed it."

They'll pick up the phone and they'll just like, "Hey, this is Angela from Angela Henderson Consulting, we just wanted to confirm that you received your parcel that everything's good to go." So I don't know many businesses are doing that. Now granted, well, let's be honest, their scale of parcels, we're not talking ten of thousands of parcels.

So if you're Amazon, I think they would be very hard-pressed to be would be able to pick up the phone. However, I would challenge a company like Amazon because they've got more profit margin, all right, to be able to potentially hire people who can do that exact same thing, okay? So that's one example is that, the really that high touchpoint. Yes, they can send e-mails and they still, well, incorporate emails just to say, "Hi, just to let you know, we've received your order. Your order has been dispatched." But it's that follow-up, right, where they're staying open, they're building the networks AKA the relationships and people continue to come back and buy from them because they remember that interaction and experience they had.

I think that's so great and I will say, we've talked for a few minutes before we started the interview. I don't know if you noticed but I'm a little chatty and if somebody called me about, "Did you receive your dispatch?" I'd be like, "Oh yeah." And then, it might actually leave me to ask them if they have something else.

Well, exactly. It opens up to opportunity, right? And that's where the profitability is able to come in. So yes, I did like this or they might give you feedback and go, "Actually this like this. Could you do it differently?" And so, then you do it better which means other customers benefit from that. So as long as your open to receive that information, good things are naturally going to come.

I think that's so great. So how do you use human-to-human marketing in your own business?

So, yeah. So I mean, I use human-to-human marketing [inaudible] a different way. So, for example, I got a very active Facebook community which I know you're in, the Australian Business Collaborative. We're about to hit 6,000 members and I think that's one essence of how I use human-to-human marketing.

A lot of gurus and coaches that I've worked with over the last couple of years [inaudible] spent too much time in my free group adding value whereas I should be focusing more on increasing my overall profitability. But the thing is, that's part of my [inaudible] difference is that I'm willing to show up in that group almost every single day and do a live video or I go on and respond to people. Now, don't get me wrong, I also [inaudible] community that helps me manage all the posts. And then, she too goes and then comments but I'm still present. I show up. I interact with people. When I go live on different lives, the video in there and stream live, if I start to see people that I'm familiar with like, "Hey, Susie. How's Melbourne? Hey, Michelle. How are the kids doing? Hey, Frank. How's this going on?"

And so many times I can't tell you how many emails I received over the years ago going, "Angela, thank you so much. You made me feel like I'm included. You make it feel like that it's a community." So that's one way. The other way is when I-- a lot of people will have a sales team-- so I offer one-to-one coaching and group coaching. And what they'll do is that they'll have a sales team that kind of pre-qualify everyone. Well, I don't know about you but you don't go to BMW and say, "I'm going to take this $400,000 car." and not test drive it. You're going to ask questions about it. You want to take it for the test drive. You want to know one of the functions of it. And I believe the same thing [inaudible] I don't have a sales team that do my discovery calls, I'm the one that hops on the calls when others continue to tell me I shouldn't.

I take that 30 minutes because if someone is going to work with me for six months in a one-to-one capacity, not only should they make sure that I'm the right fit but I need to make sure that I add value and can get their business to that profitability and sustainability that they're after. I also, for every new client that comes on board, whether or not they want to be in the one-to-one coaching client or on group coaching client, they all get personalized gifts that are made out of these-- it's made out of bamboo and it has their business name, it has the year it was established. I'm probably giving away the gift that you'll probably be receiving very shortly, Jen, in the mail. But anyways, if you're down in the pennies, let me drop this. And when I asked you for what year you're established, Jen, saving with all my podcast guests, I have a personalized gift that is made no matter where they are in the world and it gets dispatched to them. So it's my way of saying, "Thank you for your time. Thank you for trusting me in this process and I'm acknowledging you."

By looking at what is personalized, then I could send a pen that has my name and branding on it, but there's no emotional connectedness to that. So [googled?] what could I do that I can make an experience and interaction. So, therefore, I've really looked at what that is and that is finding their own name and their own business, the year it was established, and having something unique created for them. And also for all of my new clients-- I'll give you an example, I've been in the Maldives for my mastermind last year. We had closed cart on my group coaching program, and I had a five-hour layover in Singapore and so that was such a big guide. I had 10 or 12 new coaching clients come on board for that particular round, and I rang each and every one of them.

Now, out of the 10, only 2 answered, which again, this is what I'm saying is, people might think it's like, "Oh my God. You want me to pick up the phone and speak to people." Majority of people aren't going to probably answer your phone call anyways because it's a random number, and they don't want to talk to random people. But by the fact that you leave a message, you're going to really shock people. So with two people that have answered, I said, "Hi. Good day. It's Angela Henderson Consulting." And they said, "No. It can't be you because you're on the way to the Maldives. You told us you're leaving." Even though I'm in Singapore, they're like, "Well then, why are you calling this?" I was like, "I just wanted to say, thank you for joining my program, and I'm looking forward to working with you."

The other lady was like, "What? Who is this? No. It's not Angela. Angela, you picked up the phone and called?" Their reaction was something I never expected. But that's what I mean-- is people aren't willing to take that little extra step to make things special and unique for not only their current clients but for repeat clients. Word of mouth, etc.

Wow. I think that that's so great. It's building those relationships, not only in person but even if the person isn't sitting directly in front of you, and that's what makes it so unique.

It's like a lesson in politeness for business owners.

Yep, really. That's really what it comes down to, just like people I think are taking for granted their successes in business, but the only reason why you're in business is because of the humans that are buying your product. So to me, it's just give back to them, and they will continue to give back to you. And also, I remember, there's a beautiful man by the name of Lou Mongello and he runs a very successful podcast in America called WDW which is Walt Disney World.

So he's not affiliated with Walt Disney anyway, but he does an enormous amount of work with them, and he pretty much tells about all things Walt Disney. And then he tells this beautiful story about-- I met him at the Philippines in a mastermind class that Chris Tucker was putting on. And he talks about the stories that he would tweet people when he was going to different cities. And he said, "I'm going to be in Chicago. Meet me at this place and I'll buy you a cup of coffee." Maybe one or two people would show up.

But now, when he tweets people, he's got to book the entire restaurant out because there's a line of people wanting to be in because he believes in giving every single person a hug and a handshake. So looking at what Lou does is that-- then Walt Disney Cruise Lines teaser put him and they'll sign an entire cruise line because they'll lose audience within two hours. I believe that it's two hours to three hours because people know that Lou's invested in them as human beings. But what people don't realize is that all those tens of thousands of people that Lou has literally given a hug and a handshake for, they become his advertising and marketing team by default because they're the ones that are talking about him, all because of the fact that he took human-to-human marketing into play, created experiences, and interactions and treated people like people.

I think that that's fantastic. How can people reach you?

Yes. I love, again, if people don't realize, I'm super into community and staying connected with people, so there's a variety of ways that people can reach out. They can reach out or join my Facebook community which is the Australian Business Collaborative over on Facebook. And again, even though it is the Australian Business Collaborative, there are people from all around the world there. So I'd love to see you there. You can also find me on Instagram or on Facebook just by searching for Angela Henderson Consulting. And my podcast is also called the Business & Life Conversations, Angela Henderson, which you can find either on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or you can simply just head to my website,

Thank you so much for being here.

Thank you so much for having me today. I appreciate it.

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