Building an Effective Web Presence : Step #5 - Be a Better CommunicatorWednesday, July 20, 2011
Over the past four months we identified steps one through four in the process of building an effective web presence: 1) Define your ideal client; 2) Identify specific goals; 3) Create a call to action; and 4) Give customers what they expect.
The fifth step is: Be a better communicator across your web presence.
We continue to talk in terms of your "web presence" rather than just your "website", because a web presence encompasses everything you do to market your business online. This definitely includes your website, but it also includes your email marketing campaigns, your social media efforts, blogging, and more.
Effective communication is not a one way process when you are face-to-face, and it shouldn’t be online either. Too many businesses exercise one way communication online by pushing the common message, "I’m the best, buy from me." Truly successful businesses work online to engage their prospective customers for the purpose of starting a dialogue, building a relationship, establishing trust, and positioning themselves as experts in their fields. When you let consumers reach their own conclusion that you are the best, the real long-term, profitable business relationships develop.
A few tips to instantly become a better online communicator:
Stop using generic auto-responders, unless you are on vacation and need to let people know why you are not going to respond for a week. Nothing says, "Your inquiry is not special … I may contact you on my own timeline," quite like an auto-responder. By their very nature, auto-responders are one way. There definitely are appropriate and advanced uses for auto-responders in internet marketing, however most businesses don’t use them this way and should forego the temptation to simply setup a generic auto-responder. Personal and thoughtful replies are best.
Several of my clients receive leads from advertising efforts. Many call and tell me they contact leads and never get a response. My very first question is, "Did you ask them a question?"
Think about how many solicitation emails you get in a day. How many do you respond to? If you are not getting responses to your sales emails, take a good look at what you are writing. Is it all about you? Did you genuinely try to start a dialogue by asking relevant and interesting questions? Did you call the person to action or give them a reason to reply? If you make an effort to change the verbiage to a more inquiry based approach by asking the prospective customers more probing questions about them and their needs, you will see a better response and conversion rate in your email marketing efforts.
I will talk about social media in future articles, but for this article’s purpose the most important consideration in your social media effort is using this powerful platform to engage people rather than sell to them. Since the resounding theme across this article is that effective communication is not one way … it is important to understand this is true in your social media efforts, as well. Try using social media to engage and interact rather than posting one way sales messages to consumers.
Be a better communicator … try to establish a dialogue with your prospects. Treat your online efforts much as you would face-to-face meetings. Ask probing and relevant questions, pose solutions to problems, and position yourself as the expert in your field. When you take this approach in your online communications, you won’t need to sell so much. Establishing a dialogue, and building a relationship of trust and value, leads the consumer to decide for themselves that you are the person to do business with.
Sandy Waggett, Owner
MSW Interactive Designs LLC ~ We put the web to work for you!