I have mentioned before in previous posts, if you want to increase the profitability of your website, you need to build a relationship with the people who visit it.
Before you can expect someone to pull out their credit card for you, they have to trust your website and feel as if they are able to engage in conversation with you.
As online business advice site entrepreneur.com suggests, the key here is to: communicate frequently; offer customers incentives; hold special online events; make it possible for customers to reply; maintain swift and clear customer service.
In other words in order to build lasting relationships, prospective customers must feel free to interact with you in a variety of ways, and, know that should they need further information they can come directly to you.
Put simply, the conversation can’t be a one way street.
The best way to build such relationships is to leverage one or ideally all of the following ways.
1. Use Social Media
In recent years, social media has taken the Internet by storm. It is almost impossible to watch television or listen to the radio without hearing something about Twitter or Facebook. If everyone is using these social media platforms to reach the masses, why is your website not using social media?
Building a relationship using social media is easy. Visit the popular social media websites like Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter, create a profile, and start interacting with the community. To encourage the people who visit your website to interact with you through the different social media platforms, be sure to include a link to each of your profiles on your website.
The level of interaction available makes it easy to maintain contact with many people at the same time. On FaceBook you can organise online events to promote your products and services; customer service videos can be posted on Youtube; and Twitter more than any platform allows you to communicate frequently and swiftly with 100s of prospects.
2. Start A Newsletter
Without communication, you cannot expect to build a relationship with anyone.
A newsletter is a great way to communicate with your website’s visitors. Your newsletter can be something as simple as sending out email updates about new products and services, or as complex as teaching people how to use your products and services. As a bonus, you could even make a few sales by pre-selling your new products and services in your newsletter.
Newsletters are also ideal for promoting surveys and questionnaires which, in my previous post Using Online Surveys To Increase Customer Engagement, I mentioned how surveys are ideal for collecting more granular and detailed feedback from your customers.
At all times the tone of your email newsletter should be personal and one to one. When you write your email newsletter content, you should imagine speaking with someone face to face, in person. Make the tone lively, chatty, and yet, informed and clear about the key value of what you have to offer.
You can run your newsletter by manually collecting names and email addresses and sending the newsletter, or you can pay for an automated service. Both approaches work fine in the beginning, but if the number of people who subscribe to your newsletter becomes high, you may want to consider an automated approach.
If you decide to run your newsletter manually, it is important to give your subscribers the opportunity to unsubscribe from your mailings. Otherwise, you could get reported as a spammer. Most automated services take care of the unsubscribe option for you.
3. Start A Blog
Starting a blog is probably the best way to build a relationship with the people who visit your website. A blog is nothing more than a regularly updated journal about your business and its products or services.
The great thing about starting a blog is that relationship building tools are built into most of the popular blogging platforms. When someone visits your blog, they can interact with you and your other visitors, by posting comments on what they think about what you’ve said. They will also be able to subscribe to an RSS feed, which will let them know when a new post has been added to your blog.
If you start a blog, you can use the blog’s sidebar to advertise your social media profiles and encourage people to sign up for your newsletter. When you combine the power of a blog with a newsletter and social media, you have the best chance of building a solid relationship with the people who visit your website. After you build a relationship with your visitors, the trust will automatically come, as you consistently communicate with them in a way which doesn’t push the hard sell all the time, and instead seeks to understand what they really want.
After your visitors trust you and your website, they will not have a problem with pulling out their credit cards and buying from you.
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