Connecting to your customers in the go-go world of online
marketing can be difficult. The online environment has,
unfortunately, earned a reputation of being cold, distant and
impersonal. As a result, people feel free to click off, delete
and ignore your offers with wild abandon. And minimal guilt.
Without a personal connection, you risk losing more than just a
sale - your long-term business could be at stake. Everyone
speaks of creating a USP - if you can't compete on price, why
not make your mark in the 'high touch' arena of customer
By taking the time to transform a cold 'high tech' experience to
one of 'high touch,' you'll set yourself apart from the crowd
and create something rarely seen: customer loyalty.
So, how to proceed?
*Commit To Ensuring That Everything Works
Minimize customer frustration by making sure that everything on
your web site is working. There's nothing like a broken link to
make customer enthusiasm fizzle.
*Keep In Touch!
Sounds simple, but in the rush to make the next sale, place the
next ad, or find the next J/V partner, people forget to keep in
touch with their own list. Make them feel you've not forgotten
Every so often, send a free report, a special notice, a
'customer only' bonus. Don't make it seem like the only time you
contact them is when you want to sell them something.
*Personalize As Much As Possible
There is a wealth of online software available to make this
process easier. At a bare minimum, always personalize emails
with the recipient's first name!
Also try to collect personal information to give you an added
excuse to check in with your customers. Gather birthdays, last
product purchased, etc.
*Give Yourself A Time Limit For Responses If someone contacts
you with a question or concern, get back to them within 48 hours
(if not sooner).
Give yourself a drop-dead date and then stick to it.
*Give Your Customers Payment Choices
Hard to believe, but not everyone (gasp!) has a credit card. Or
is comfortable ordering online, even with a secure order form.
Try to be flexible by offering alternatives. Electronic checks,
taking orders by telephone or fax, allowing the mailing in of a
check or money order are all worth consideration.
For high ticket items, consider offering an installment plan.
Breaking up the financial commitment into three payments could
make it easier to justify a purchase in your customer's minds.
*Hello, Anyone There?
If a customer wanted to contact you, can they? Do you have your
address and phone number posted on your site?
I recognize that some are now hesitant to post an email address,
not wanting to fall victim of email harvesting/Spam software,
but email is still the preferred method of online contact for
many. Weigh the inconvenience to you versus the inconvenience to
*Gimme My Stuff, Now!
Online, people have become 'instant' junkies. They want it, and
they want it now! While great for those with digital
downloadable products, this could cause a problem for those
dependent on third-party fulfillment houses.
If using a fulfillment house, you must be up front with your
customers concerning shipping/arrival times. If there's going to
be a delay, let them know.
Avoid the negative feelings that will result if a product
doesn't arrive as expected, and the customer is left to wonder
Remember, a customer doesn't need much incentive to leave you
for your competition. Don't let them feel that they'd be better
There are many other methods you could use to transition a high
tech business to one of high touch. Set yourself apart in this
way, and your customers will reward you with their loyalty and
About the author:
Paula Morrow heads Ideal Marketing Corporation, specializing in
information products and training for newbie netpreneurs.
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