Secrets to Online Success
One of the most vexing questions for entrepreneurs creating new businesses or trying to improve current models is how to be successful online. Regardless of your goals, definitions or metrics of success these tips can act a solid foundation to build a business, brand or marketing campaign around.
Your customer are out there and they have a problem. Maybe they have a leaky faucet, are interested in learning how to cook, or need to find an apartment, your business has the solution — but you can’t interact with your customers if they don’t know that you exist or if they can’t find you: so make finding you easy.
Your website should have clearly posted contact information, your site should rank reasonably high for keywords describing your business's core competencies. Your locations and business hours should be clearly posted on site, as well as you showing up in search results.
This is step one for any business. If your customers can’t find you, or aren’t aware that you exist then you don’t have a business, you have a profitless hobby.
You’ve probably been in the position of searching for a business online. You search for a plumber, a locksmith, a tailor, and find their websites difficult to navigate. You eventually track down a phone number that gets you to either a surly voice, or a voicemail box with a confusing outgoing message.
If you’re like me you move on, because while we’re searching for a solution to our problem we’re also searching for the ability to like a new business.
There really is something magical about finding a business that communicates their understanding of your problems and welcomes the ability to help you solve them.
Being approachable means having a deep understanding of the place where your business and your customers meet. That intersection is what leads to loyalty. It’s why you trust a certain mechanic, or trust a particular hair stylist to cut your hair.
If allow your business to be approached with ideas, questions, or suggestions you create something that is invaluable to any entrepreneur: trust.
Trust and engagement all stem from those first interactions; your website, your customer service, your marketing. All those tiny little details that your competitors forget are what can distinguish your business in the eyes of your clients.
Customers arrive at the doorstep of business with problems. Problems so great that they’re willing to part with money to have solved. This can place some people in a vulnerable position. By solving problems for customers we create an environment of confidence in our competence and mastery of our craft.
But a business can’t compete on solutions alone it needs to create an environment of comfort. Social media, online marketing, direct mail campaigns, etc. are all created with the sole purpose of rewarding interaction.
While things like discounts and other commerce based incentives are great it’s important to remember that a key to rewarding customers is listening to them. By actively listening we strengthen our ability to solve our customers problems and therefore power to our company and brand.