Six reasons to think warm and fuzzy when doing business online
By Maggie Wall
It's winter in Alaska and "warm and fuzzy" is a good thing right now. So is hot chocolate with marshmallows. Warm and fuzzy is also good when planning your website and how you will approach and develop relationships with your potential online customers.
Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind when planning your business website-or any marketing or sales project-so that people will want to do business with you.
1) First of all think of who you are trying to reach and why. Who is your ideal customer, how do they use your product? How do you hope they will perceive you and your business? Where do they hang out and how can you reach them?
Sometimes living in a small, isolated town can make this tricky. On one hand you want to help as many people as you can through your business and by selling them that great product you offer. On the other hand, face it, not everyone will be into your product or need your service and when you live in a small town, your options for expansion can be limited.
But the internet allows you to reach the world with your product. So, don't be hesitant to "think off the rock," You may be pleasantly surprised to find that there is an online audience and a market for one or two of your products. (Hopefully, more!)
2) Remember you are building your website for your customer, not you. Bummer, I know. Too bad we can't just do our thing and have folks throw money at us-or send us lots of deposits through PayPal.
Again, it goes back to knowing your target market. The better you can define just who that person is, what they like, who they hang out with, the better will be your efforts to tailor your website and your online marketing to them in a way they that best suits them.
3) It is OK to be yourself online. This may sound contradictory to what I just said, and in a way it is. While you tailor things to your target market, people want to feel they have a connection with the person at the other end of the computer. The more you can share and express your real self the better relationship you'll have with potential customers.
4) People want to buy from someone they know and trust. There are too many "strangers" out there online so a bit of "warm-fuzzy" from you will go a long way toward developing the trust and rapport necessary for a successful online venture.
5) Right now online business is all about developing relationships. I know people talk about the great possibilities to buy all kinds of stuff and get it really cheap, but ultimately it is about relationships. The best deal is the one where you feel comfortable making a purchase and trust that the item will arrive as promised. Your customers feel the same way.
What can you do to up the trust factor online? Tell them about yourself and your business. Keep in contact through social media or an email newsletter. Ask them for their input through Facebook or emails. That's why so many websites have contact forms. So people can easily ask questions or at least feel they can shoot you a quick note if they have a concern about whether your product is right for them.
6) And finally, think about your online experiences. What did you like or not like about doing business online? What sites are a joy to buy from and why? Make some notes and use those as a starting point for setting up your website and getting your business online.
Warm fuzzies go a long way. You like getting them when you shop and so does your customer.
Maggie Wall is a local internet marketer and website developer. She not only builds sites but coaches people on how to get business to come to your website.
They say that on the Internet you only have a few moments to catch and keep your audience. The more you know about them and how they use the internet the easier it will be to design a website or marketing plan that will likely appeal to your target audience.
I tell people don't sweat over the reports that a person decides to stay on your website or go elsewhere within three to 10 seconds. People make those kinds of quick decisions all the time off the internet. First impressions can make a big difference in real life and online.
Maggie Wall has a master's degree in Internet Marketing. Her business Magpie Publishing & Production (Alaskamagpie.com) designs websites and coaches people how to get their business online and to attract online customers (487-4040). She also produces The LegHead Report located at leghead.com.