June 14th, 2011 Archive

Congratulations, Stacey Robinson!

June 14th, 2011 by Ric in Sharing Success

Congrats to Stacey Robinson for getting her new Automated Cash Sites up and running!

Get Your Website Working!

June 14th, 2011 by Ric in Sharing Success

Some people treat their websites as little more than electronic brochures highlighting their company’s products and services. They add a contact form, maybe throw in a few interactive widgets here and there, and they’re done. The website is up and running, but totally forgotten by its owner.

Others take a different approach, regularly sharing news about the company, or new information on their products. They keep churning out new articles and replying to comments on their posts, but end up spending more time on their site than on their business.

Both of these approaches help your business somehow, but neither one really maximizes the potential of your site. Success is usually found somewhere between the two, as well as by treating your website as a way to interact with your customers.

Yes, the second approach, blogging, and replying to comments addresses that, but it also requires a lot of time and effort. You can design your website so that it addresses your customers needs, even if you’re not always available.

Thankfully, Allison Bliss has an article up on Small Business CEO Magazine that shares 7 Tips to Make Your Website Actually Work For You! You can follow the link to read the full article, but I’ll be sharing my three favorite tips from the article here.

“Set auto-responders”
This is almost a no-brainer. When a potential client contacts you, they should receive a prompt response, whether or not you can make time to reply personally. Allison recommends that you “let prospects know you want to set up an appointment, and describe your services and answer their questions quickly, or get your product into their hands as soon as humanly possible.” At the very least, acknowledge their email and promise a more personal reply soon after – just make sure you deliver on that promise.

“Make sure your site can answer the 5-10 most common questions people ask” about you and your business.
Don’t just give your job title or a list of services you offer. Give detailed descriptions of your products and services, and explain why your prospective clients should be interested.

If you’re a personal trainer that does client calls, make that a prominent part of your site. Other questions a client might ask include your locale, what sort of training you do, how much space they need to train, and whether they need their own equipment. Make sure your website addresses these questions, and others that you think may come up.

By anticipating your customers’ questions and answering them before they even come up, you tell your clients two things: that you take pride in what you do, and that you want to make your clients feel comfortable.

I’ll cheat a little here, but I’m throwing another tip under this one. Allison’s 7th tip is to put your prices online. This is usually one of the first questions in a potential client’s mind, and is a question you want to answer immediately. “If you’re worried about your competition finding out your pricing,” says Allison, “you’re probably not confident in what you’re offering and whether it’s a fair price.”

“Put your contracts online.”
Having a contract form that your clients fill out and submit is more efficient than having to “spend time tailoring and sending each agreement.” Allison explains that same thing works for coupons, sales agreements, and other items. Instead of you and your staff manually encoding data, you get your clients (and the software you use) do it for you.

As an added benefit, you don’t have to deal with missing or corrupted attachments. Since the documents your clients need to fill out are saved online, you just send them links to the forms they need access to.

Of course, it’s still a good idea to keep both hard and soft copies of your contracts, coupons, agreements, and other files. Some people might prefer to fill out forms by hand, or they might prefer to fill out their forms offline.

“Create hidden pages on your website.”
This isn’t directly about interacting with your customers; it’s more about making sure that you and your staff always have the tools you need to help you interact with them. You might not always have access to your computer, but chances are, you’ll have access to an Internet connection. This makes your website the perfect place to store product specifications, contract templates, and other documents you might need to share with your customers.

Think of your website as a virtual filing cabinet. If you put your files on your website, even if you or your staff aren’t in the office, you still have access to important files. Of course, you have to “make sure these are proprietary pages your visitors won’t see (but your staff or vendors can still find).”

Allison has a few more tips to share up on SBCEO Magazine. If you don’t want to scroll up, you can click here to jump to her post.

What other ideas do you have to make your website work for you? Please share them in the comments below.

Until next time,

Image by: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net