Build It and They Will Come…NOT!

 

This statement definitely does not hold true in the online marketplace.  You are just a byte in the electronic stream.  There are millions of websites out there and how will you stand out among them?  Remember the old conundrum that asked, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a noise?”  Of course it does!  The “noise” is defined by sound vibrations, regardless of whether anyone is processing those vibrations with their hearing. But in the case of the Internet, building a website is just so many bits of information and unless someone calls it up by typing in your URL, the site does not exist because it is never called onto the Internet stage.

That's where marketing your site comes in and social marketing is the hottest trend today. It is based on relationships with your customers, but on a very large scale. It works only when you do it correctly and consistently.

Here are some of the rules:

Again, be consistent.

Don't read this book, get all motivated and send out a dozen Tweets today, tomorrow but peter out so that by next week you've forgotten all about it. Determine a sustainable commitment of time and remember that the more successful your marketing makes you, the less time you will have to continue it.

Listen.

Selling yourself is a one-way conversation and really quite boring. Think of this as a customer walking into your offline store and before they can ask a question, you shove the nearest product into their hands and send them toward the cashier. What makes you think that's what they want? Did you ask? Or did you just tell them? Interact with them to determine what they're looking for, whether your product or service fits or whether the best service you can give them is to direct them to your competition. You may lose this sale, but the goodwill and respect for your knowledge can gain a long-term customer down the road. Besides, if you're not offering the product or service the consumer is buying, wouldn't you like to know it?

Know your product or service thoroughly.

Which of the following has the greater value to a customer: a) You should buy the ABC television because I'm offering it at a sale price or b) You should buy the ABC television because it will allow you to plug your computer in through the HDMI access and stream any available content from the Internet directly through the TV's monitor. This will save you buying a separate monitor and let you relax on the sofa while surfing or watching Netflix. This second reason is certainly more compelling because your customer sees multiple applications for the investment and your pricing is probably already very competitive so it's worth checking out. People know all about price, but they don't all know whether you can use a particular television as a monitor, so they need to rely on someone's expertise and this is where you come in.

Stay current with information.

The Internet is all about information and if you surfed 24/7/365 you could not keep up with all that is published. So, as an expert, take it upon yourself to filter through the important information that pertains to your product or service and share this information with your social customers. They trust you, they trust your product, they buy your product – see where this goes?

Keep it pertinent.

If you're tweeting under your business brand, customers don't care whether you had a date last night or whether your football team won. People only care about what they want or are interested in. They're reading your posts because they're getting something from it, not you.

Be authentic.

This also means authenticity in your brand. If you're selling website design and you're 50-something, don't try to morph yourself into what you aren't just to please someone or try to hide who you are. People will pick up on it and nothing you say will “ring true.” If you're 50-something, then use that as a selling point for your brand. Call yourself “Webmother” or use a tag phrase like “Site design with a mother's touch.” Play it up! Be who you really are. After all, that's what separates you from the corporate faces and others who may be in your same situation will IDENTIFY with you building more trust within your relationship.

Give them something to remember.

If a customer clicks through to your site, make sure you have enough content and value there that they come back.  If your bounce rate is the highest number in your web stats, you are doing something wrong. This is about creating community and it is pretty hard to do that when everyone leaves as soon as they hit the door.

Lead them by the hand.

If you invited them to take a look at the televisions you're selling, when they arrive at the site, the first thing they should see is the image, the price and the buy button.  Imagine reading a catalog where you had to sift through pages of product description before you were permitted to see what the item looked like or how much it cost. Consider having tailored landing pages. If price is your competitive edge, build one that puts the price out there in huge numbers above the fold. If you are hawking your guarantee, build another landing page for the same product that has a neon seal with your guarantee right at the top of the page. People expect a link to connect related content; they don't like to follow a link only to discover they've been dragged in under false pretenses.  They'll leave. Wouldn't you?

Build that relationship.

Pretend that you are living across the street from every customer you meet. Be accountable, be consistent, be honest and be helpful.


 

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Jeannette Webb
Jeannette Webb
11 years ago

Kim,  Another great post filled with helpful advice.  Thanks for sharing so generously with all of us.

Carla J Gardiner
Carla J Gardiner
11 years ago

Thank you Kim for great tips and for guiding us to be the very best we can be for our customers, students and friends, too. You are right about knowing your product or service, nothing is worse than coming for guidance only to be lead astray.

Adeline Terry
Adeline Terry
11 years ago

Kim,
  Great post. Lots of good tips for those of us who are new to social media.

admin
admin
11 years ago

Matt, I think it depends on your audience. I have built a targeted following of biz owners specifically with a few others thrown in but most of my followers are looking for valuable content that will help them with their businesses.

Levi Muller
Levi Muller
10 years ago

Great post, but I'm from Iowa, where we strongly believe that if you build it, they will come. 🙂

Christiane Marshall
Christiane Marshall
10 years ago

Thanks Kim! Great advice. I love this: "Pretend that you are living across the street from every customer you meet." Priceless!

Jenelle Daniels
Jenelle Daniels
8 years ago

Hi Kim, Great post and so true!! LOL, still putting in the work to find that sweet spot in my business. Being a fellow mompreneur you know the struggle is REAL. To our success, keep the great info coming.

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