One of our recurring themes for Dot Com success is that, no matter what product you’re marketing or service you’re providing, it’s secondary.
In virtually every instance, customers have a multitude of outlets where they can make the same purchase, so what’s absolutely vital to understand is this:
Customers will decide to buy from you because they trust you.
The common-sense version of this is for you as a marketer to make a friend.
However, that’s apparently not a sufficiently dignified description, so the marketing world refers to this process as customer engagement.
It starts with opening the doors to your online presence:
- Determine an effective plan to draw traffic to your site,
- Zero in on your most likely customers, and then
- Lead them to your offer.
Your task along the way is to make customers as comfortable as possible. They’ve arrived at your site because of an interest or a need that your product and/or service can satisfy, so let them sell themselves with you available to help.
Your initial engagement portal doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated.
A simple, prominent posting of your designated email address on the site will suffice. When your volume of interaction increases, adding a link to the address, installing a Contact button, or implementing chatbot software may be more efficient.
Nicolaj Siggelkow and Christian Terwiesch are professors at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Their book, Connected Strategies, lists four distinct actions that promote positive customer relationships:
1. Recognize and respond quickly to customer desires.
As mentioned already, minimize all friction from the moment customers identify their need to the moment they receive it.
One example of this is seen at Amazon and other online stores when they …
- display options by knowing their customers and their past purchases,
- quickly list comparable items by price and features, and
- allow orders to be made with only one keystroke.
Amazon’s proven it to be extremely successful, and count our experience among the legions of others who can confirm this.
2. Give customers personally-suggested options.
Odds are you’ll have customers who know what they want but may not be up to speed with what they really need. You know your wares, so be ready to offer suggestions and/or alternatives if you see one of them that might better suit a specific customer’s objectives.
3. Provide post-sale advice.
Include follow-up in your customer relations, and not just to set the stage for your next offer. You should be an experienced user of your own stuff, so there’s always a possibility you can add tips and techniques that aren’t as obvious to your customers.
Maybe it’ll be possible to offer an ongoing feature such as a coaching opportunity as an added service or a bonus.
If you wind up saving them time and money with your input, you’ve probably earned yourself a lifetime customer.
4. Be ready to meet upcoming customer needs.
Development and innovation are the way of the world in business, and in the 21st century — no matter what the niche or field — they seem to come at an ever-accelerating pace.
Part of keeping up to speed in your niche is tracking what’s new. It’s not much of a leap, then, to notify your customers of updates and possible additions that would complement their purchases from you. This is an excellent opportunity to enhance their satisfaction with you and your business.
None of these tips cost money. The time involved should be tasks you perform on a regular basis anyway.
Make sure you’re providing value on the site with ongoing and worthwhile content. This gives existing customers a reason to keep checking in with you. They’re your best bets for recurring business, and that’s the most cost-efficient to convert.
It will definitely help with SEO, too, which is still the most reliable source for cold traffic. After all, who doesn’t go to the search engines when they take action on a need or want?
Successful engagement is just a matter of …
- You being you,
- Knowing your niche, and
- Sharing with your customers.
Be diligent with it, and chances are good you’ll have an edge that puts and keeps your business in the black.