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Creating Connections with a Website

Guest Blog by:  Elian Evans

Last time we talked about an overall strategy for tapping into free or low cost resources to connect with your growing team and customers.

Today we will dive in further to the topic of utilizing a website to connect. Like I mentioned before , I recommend Blogger. It’s simple to operate and there is no charge to use it. If your time is limited, I would start with developing a site for your customers.

Here are some considerations:

Client considerations

Who is your ideal client? Sketch out their profile. What age group? What gender? Know the demographics of what Lisa calls your Perfect-Fit Customer. Are they going to find you via a Google search or just word of mouth?

What is your most wanted response? Do you want them to call you, email you, visit another website? Is your site for customers after you have met them in person so you can build your relationship with them?

These two sets of answers should guide your decisions with everything you put on your new site.

You also need to know the online policies of the company you represent. You need to know if you can mention their name or not. If you cannot, that is ok. Just know ahead of time.

Lets use an example. Lets say I’m a distributor of popular kitchen supply products and they won’t allow me to mention their name or list products for sale on my site. No problem. This is what I would do.

First, find your ideal customer. Typically in the direct sales world, you are most relate-able to those like yourself. This isn’t always the case, but I’ve been there. The easiest market is people like yourself.

So my “typical” customer (which might not be my ideal customer) is:

  • a mom in their 30’s
  • likes to cook sometimes
  • has kids in school
  • household income ranges between 50,000-150,000 per year
  • online (especially Facebook)

My ideal customer for followup is:

  • likes to cook & try new things
  • household income: 50,000+
  • online (especially Facebook)
  • likes gadgets
  • mom 30-50

The most wanted response is to have them email me back, share on Facebook, or signup for my updates/eNewsletter email list.

With this information, I can focus on the goals for my website.

Goals for the site are to:

  • create a relationship (so they’ll like/friend me on Facebook)
  • build credibility (so they’ll sign up for my email list)
  • build trust (if they trust you and you rave about a new product, they are more likely to believe they will also love the product)

 

Note: A secondary goal for the website would be to protect your client list if you were to ever break ties with your company. This way, if your company goes out of business (it happens) or you leave, your followers will still listen to you because they have created a relationship with you on your website. Granted, there are those clients that will remain loyal to a product/company (unless it dissolves), but because they’re building a relationship with you, they are more likely to remain loyal to you if you ever need/want to jump ship.

Design considerations

Continuing on with our example, I would use a header, fonts and colors that appeal to my audience. I would not choose a “black grunge” look for a cooking website targeted to 30-50 year old women. I would select something that gives you the feel of cooking… think daytime cooking show colors. Find some sites that you are attracted to and model their color schemes.

Make your most wanted response very dominant at the top or top right of your screen. If you want folks to sign up for your mailing list first and foremost, then make sure your opt-in box is prominently displayed near the top of the page. Don’t bury it half way down a side bar. People may never get that far.

Use Blogger’s “gadget” to hold the code for your MailChimp eNewsletter signup box as well as links to your Facebook business page (be sure to create a business page and link to that, not your personal Facebook page).

After your site is designed, consider hosting it on a custom domain (your own website address). It only costs about $10 per year and you can do it right from Blogger. Something like www.ElianCooks.com would work for our example, if it’s available.

Then, with your new URL in hand, go over to Google Apps and get a matching email address like elian@eliancooks.com. Then I’d go over to Facebook and set up my Facebook page and title it something like Elian Cooks. Then claim your custom Facebook URL as soon as possible (for example, facebook.com/eliancooks)

Next, go to MailChimp and set up an “RSS Campaign.” This is where after you post it will automatically go out to your list (or a segment of your list).You can select if you want the message to go out daily, weekly or monthly (after you’ve posted). I’d select daily unless you post on your website more than once a week. Pretty up your template and add some sort of monthly or quarterly promotion. Be sure to add yourself as a subscriber so you can see what your followers are seeing.

Using my example, here are somethings you can post to be top of mind to your customers:

  • recipes
  • tips on how to use a certain product
  • party tips (displaying with your products or using products to make the party food)
  • gift giving ideas around the holidays
  • time saving tips
  • focus on an ingredient and share different ways to use and/or maximize (ie a whole chicken)
  • resources for local food (ie farmer’s markets and stores)

Be sure to not copy from other websites as it will violate copyright laws.

Don’t like to write?

If you dislike or don’t want to take the time to write your own posts, here are a few ideas on what you can do.

  • use video blogs (vblogs)
  • outsource your content (you only need 200-400 words per post)
  • buy private label rights content
  • line up guest bloggers (either one time or ongoing)

Need more help? Be sure to check out my training room and resources at www.elianevans.com.

Elian Evans

 

Elian Evans is a social media marketing specialist for small business, groups and organizations (for and non-profit). She provides consulting (and some services) with regards to websites, Facebook, Twitter, QR codes, mobile and traditional marketing. Learn more at www.ElianEvans.com.

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