Some of the best business relationships start with a visit to a website
As business owners and non-profits, our relationships with clients, customers, and supporters are among our most valuable assets. You can use your website and online presence to get these relationships started, and give them a boost in between face-to-face meetings.
There are many readily available technology tools that will help establish and nurture relationships.
Contact us form – Write a warm, friendly heading inviting people to get in touch with you. And when they do, use all your tools to keep in touch.
Comment form – Enabling comments on blog posts and static pages helps you to know what your audience is looking for on your site, and to engage them with what’s important to them. Be sure to respond to all comments promptly, to nurture the budding relationship.
Sign-up form – Offer your website visitors an easy way to sign up for a newsletter and keep in touch. If you can get people to sign up, you have their permission to keep in touch and nurture that relationship far into the future. But please don’t abuse this or you’ll get unsubscribes and complaints in place of happy engaged readers. Here’s a nice article on Campaign Monitor to help you decide on a good email frequency for your organization and your list.
Social media – By definition, social media is a great place to nurture relationships. But before you share a social media presence on your website, make sure you are actively maintaining that account. Have some regular activity on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Twitter account, or people will think you’re out of business.
Customer relationship management tools – There are many formal tools and platforms on the market to manage your customer lists, relationships, and communications. Some of these can be integrated with your other online activity.
Sign-up form part II – I’d think long and hard before deciding that no one can see my website without giving me their name or email first. Yes, I understand wanting to get sign-ups. But really – how is your visitor supposed to know if they even want what you’re offering if you try to force them to sign up before they can see your site? I detest pop-up windows that prevent visitors from seeing a site without giving our email address, and hope this habit dies a speedy death. Showing your visitors respect is number one in building a strong relationship.
Auto-responders – When someone signs up, makes a purchase, or registers for an event, you can set up automatic emails to go to them at certain intervals. I’ve been ordering a new skincare line from Amazon, and every time I place an order, I get a note a few days later giving me tips for getting the most benefit from the products. Then a few weeks later, the send out a follow up asking how I like the product (and, incidentally, reminding me to reorder if I like it).
Like everything in marketing, building relationships is about so much more than technology.
At the core of our business relationships is our brand personality. These technology solutions will enable building relationships only when the brand personality is clearly defined, and when it resonates with our audience.
An important part of building relationships is the character of our online presence. The tone, look and feel, and writing style should let the personality shine through. The best-designed and written websites express the personality of the organization so well that visitors come to feel like they know and are building a relationship with the company. Videos do this really well. I’ve been watching a designer’s weekly videos for some time now. When I met him in person, I felt like we were already old friends. That’s the power of the connection you can get with a very warm, personal, sometimes almost intimate video.
How does your online presence build and enhance your business relationships?