Taking a Genuine Interest in Your Online Readers

Taking a genuine interest in your customers whether you have a traditional brick and mortar business, on online business, or both means learning about your customers and what they want.  The only difference in an online business is that your customers may never see you, you are hidden.  Instead, only read the information you provide to them online.  Getting to know them in the virtual world can be challenging.  Whether you have a web presence or just a website is key to being able to learn about your customers.  Having a website that people want to visit means getting new customers and keeping the old ones coming back. So, how can you show that you are interested in the virtual world?

Finding out who they are.

Every person wants to be acknowledged.  They want to know that they matter to others. They want to matter to their families, their friends and even the people they do business with.   Think about hair salons or drinking establishments.  In most cases, the haircuts and the drinks their customers get aren’t much different than what they could get somewhere else.  So why do their customers keep coming back?   The answer is simple, it’s personal, these businesses are based on delivering a finished product AND building a relationship.  They talk TO their customers and not AT them.  A relationship is established.  Their customers feel that they matter, that they are important.

As any savvy business owner knows, their business is contingent on having a solid customer base.  Online, it’s the same with your readers.  Your readers ARE your customers.  It’s smart business to show your online readers that their presence matters. They have come to you looking for something.  But what?

You would be mistaken to think that everyone who visits your store, website, or blog is there because of you. They may not even know your name.  They are however, looking for something that you offer be it a product or a service. Once they get there, if they don’t find what they need at that moment, they are gone, sometimes never to return… unless you do something to change that.

What can you do?

Just as you have interests, so do your customers. Business owners commonly make the mistake of forgetting that their customers are people with needs, wants, and desires in their attempt to “make a sale”.  Think about the last time you bought something.  What was it that you liked or disliked about the company or the company’s representative?.  Consciously or unconsciously, you usually make buying decisions based on feeling connected in some way to them.  Were they helpful or pushy?  Did they ask questions to find out what you wanted or needed or just try to sell you something that THEY wanted you to buy?  Did they take a personal interest in YOU?

Think about this too.  You likely started your business because of an interest or a passion you had for something. Always, always, keep in mind that your readers also have passions. The informative content that you provide the readers who are reading it could be the deciding factor to someone who is looking for your product or service.  Your readers “take” on how much you care about them and, more importantly how you make them feel, is nearly always what makes the difference in whether a sale is made or not. Finding out about your customers is both an investment in them and an acknowledgment of them.  It’s important to know what your readers like and what they don’t like.  What are THEY interested in?  The best way to find out what you readers want is to allow yourself to be interested in them, find their likes and dislikes.

Knowing something about your customers & readers, the people who are helping you to grow your business, often can mean the difference in whether your sales explode, you experience slow growth or you must close your doors. For example, in my garden supply business, I sell garden decorative items.  You know, garden statues, fountains, bird feeders and the like.  However, since I know that my customers are  interested in other information about gardening, I provide articles on my blog about other gardening topics such as product reviews and how to best use products, gardening projects, how to attract (or not) birds to their yards and how to avoid heat stroke. Providing this content meets their needs in a new and more personal way because I took the time to think and ASK about they want and not just selling my garden statues.  In another example, if you own a flooring business, it’s important to know whether your customers have pets or children.  In this way, you can not only recommend the right flooring product but you can inform them how to care for and maintain the floor.  More importantly however, this information gives you information that will allow you to find common ground to build a relationship.  People like people who are like them.  People do business with people who they know, like, and trust.  Building a relationship with them will enable them to know, like and trust you.  Make sense?

Here are a few ways that you can get in touch with your reader’s interests:

  • Get them to interact with you.  Ask questions.  In order to get the customer talking, find out what they are looking for, get information about what they like, don’t like and learn about their lifestyle, ask what I call “The Perfect Question”  It goes something like this: “If you could have the perfect [insert your product here], what would it be like”.  It’s a great conversation starter and will allow your customer a way to tell you about them.
  • Offer incentives to readers for submitting topic ideas.  Special reports, free products, etc.  This is a great way to find out what they want or need to know.
  • Create a “reader spotlight” or a “customer spotlight” on your blog.  Tell them you want to feature them and then interview them for the section.
  • Send out feedback emails with every purchase.  Let them tell you what you did right or wrong.

The key is to find out how you can help them by using all available tools to find out what they want and then give it to them! You’ll see an increase in readers, customers and sales because you took the time to find out what they needed.

To Your Success!

P.S.  If you are interested in learning more about developing or improving the online presence of your small  business, help is available.  We specialize in internet marketing consulting.  I can help you with the tools and techniques that will help you attract online customers and keep them coming back.  For more information, contact us today.

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  1. socialwebcms.com says:

    Taking a Genuine Interest in Your Online Readers…

    Here are a few ways that you can get in touch with your readers interests:Get them to interact with you.Use surveys.Offer incentives to readers for submitting topic ideas. Create a reader spotlight or a customer spotlight on your blog.Create a read…

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