In my last blog post I demonstrated the importance of designing your website in a way that will foster a relationship between you and your potential customer. In this post, I will review what I see as the six main components of building relationships online. This list can help guide your website design, or any online marketing campaign.
If you want to create a relationship with members of your target market, your online presence must incorporate the following six components.
- Credibility — First and foremost, you’ve got to build credibility. Everyone knows that anyone can write anything on the web. Therefore, your visitors will often want to know that you’re credible before they make a purchase from you.
- Clarity — To create a relationship with your target customers, you website should clearly address the needs, desires and fears of that specific group that you have identified as your target customer.
- Respect – Respectful communication is foundational to any relationship, in life and online. You show respect online by always asking permission before advancing in the next step in the sales process.
- Consistency — I think a common mistake that I see business owners make is that they think that online marketing is like traditional marketing in that put an ad in the paper and hope for the best…and they don’t think about it much until it’s time to pay for the next ad…but online marketing is different. You need some consistency to maintain that relationship. You need to be adding quality content to your website to showcase your expertise, you need be sending useful information (not just sales pitches) to the member of your email list, you need to be engaging in social media on a regular basis in order to succeed with your online marketing efforts and make more sales.
In other words, you need to be in front of your target audience consistently, clearly addressing the needs of your target market and showcasing expertise, in a respectful way in order to gain the credibility you need to make the sale.
But I’m not done yet…
Now, I gotta admit, when I wrote this list I really liked it…but I felt that something was missing. Then, it came to me. What is missing is “humanity.” People online want to know that you are human. Now, I’m not necessarily saying post pictures of your kids or your cat online, but if you’ve made a mistake and you learned from it — own up to that. (Just like the CEO of Netflix did recently) If you see something happen in your life and you also learned something about your business from it, go ahead and share that too. And the occasional, discreet personal disclosure isn’t so terrible either. People want to know that there is a human being behind the computer and behind your business. That’s what the rapid growth social media is all about — and the other components of selling online should reflect that too.
These are, to me, the main components of building online relationships. I think that this list can serve as a useful guide when creating a website, or any online marketing campaign.
Did I miss any? If so, please let me know by leaving a comment.
In the next blog post, I’ll show you how people see your website. (Prepare to be surprised!)