Here is a lesson that anyone with an online business would do well to remember! People really are not stupid.
They will not be fooled by rehashed content whose self evident thirst for hits is concealed by extravagant titles. They will not be inclined to sign up for a membership in exchange for garbage that is packaged as gold.
People are not stupid and they will see through your master plan. Don’t get me wrong. Your plan is not flawed. It is just a victim of years of abuse by those who came before you.
Do you remember your first days as a novice in this vast world of online business? When you were promised thousands whilst you slept without any work on your part? Or perhaps when an e-book, or an online article, tried to win your attention with flamboyant titles like “10 Surefire, Magnificent, Totally Stupendous Ways To Make Your First Million Online,” only to discover, after reading its pages, that it is a merely a derivative work of something you’ve already seen before.
Knowing what makes customers and potential customers happy has become of equal importance as knowing what they want. If you launch a half-baked marketing campaign to win people over, you might just end up driving them away.
To help you develop a healthier relationship with your customers and potential customers based on mutual respect, here are some things to consider in your dealings with them:
People in general do not want to be treated as mere customers that can be dismissed once you have dealt with them. Equally they are going to be pretty unhappy if they are treated as profit sources whose email addresses you can spam just to ask them to buy your newest product. Try instead to give them some incentives for their continued support and to reward them for their loyalty.
Do not forget your existing customers whilst trying to draw in new customers. Sometimes, our attention can be so consumed by our desire to win new customers, and we tend to forget about those who have decided to stick with us. Keeping your existing customers happy should also be a priority. After all, they are there because they chose to, and if harvested properly, they could potentially provide for a steady flow of income for your business.
Avoid undue hype.
Embellishments to promote a product for more than it is actually worth may come back to haunt you. Once your customers realise the true value, or lack of, of the products you have exaggeratedly marketed, they might not be willing to trust you again on any future offers you make to them.
Quality over quantity.
If you offer your customers gifts or bonuses for their loyalty then choose quality over quantity. It will always be better to give them a few things they would be proud to own, than bombard them with many freebies that are practically useless.
Talk to your customers and potential customers
By talking to your customers and potential customers on a regular basis, you will get to know first hand what their needs and preferences are, and you will be able to predict for yourself some changes in the market trends that you could capitalise on.
Build personal connections.
One of the advantages of a smaller online business from which people perceive that they receive a personal service is that people can relate to them more. As such, it is not uncommon that friendships develop between online business owners and their customers. This relationship is so much stronger than any seller-customer connection.
Excel at Customer Service
Try to maintain a cheerful disposition to make your customers feel at ease. If they are difficult to deal with, try to exercise patience in explaining to them your policies and practises. Remember that your customers have feelings too, and having a solid customer support system would go a long way, as people would get to know your business as reliable, responsible and responsive to their needs.
Be reactive, not predictive.
Your site may have generated 10,000,000 hits the past month, but this doesn’t mean that you should rest on your laurels. Past statistics do not establish a predictive pattern in the online world, as it is a very fickle field. Be reactive instead, and always prepare yourself to respond accordingly to changes in your market.
Remember every customer is a person and none of us likes to be thought of as stupid do we? Because we are not stupid!
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Paul Duxbury owns a number of successful online businesses and has recently launched a site aimed at helping those who have their own online business. This can be found at www.web-success.co.uk
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