As the founder and host of Wonderful Web Women I am lucky to lead an on-line community of thousands of women (and enlightened women) from around the world who are all passionate about creating success on the Internet. One of the biggest frustrations they share with me, is knowing where to start. There are so many options that it can feel overwhelming. Here’s my quick start guide just for you.
Step 1: Start with a blog
This is central to your Internet strategy. Blogs allow you to show off your knowledge, interact with visitors when they leave comments and search engines (like Google) LOVE blogs.
Step 2: Collect email addresses
Did you know that only about 1% of people who visit your web site will buy anything? In fact, 1% is pretty good believe it or not. So that means 99% of the people who visit your site and then leave may never return. What a lost opportunity.
The most important thing you should have on your website is a ‘sign-up box’ so they can join your email list. You need to give them a good reason to do this though. A newsletter just doesn’t cut the grade any more. That leads me to my next point.
Step 3: Give before you receive
You are asking people to trust you when you ask for their email address so you need to give them great value in return for that trust. I always offer something that is of such value that I could easily sell it, instead I choose to give it away. Then the relationship begins.
Step 4: Ask your subscribers what they want
This is one of the most powerful things you can do. Ask your subscribers what their biggest frustration is (in your field of expertise). You don’t need a long survey, just one question will do. Once you know what their problems are, if you can provide a solution, you have a business.
Step 5: Dazzle them with your knowledge
Now you have the two essential tools to Internet success (a blog and an email list) you can start to build a relationship. Your subscribers have told you what their problems are, now you need to convince them that you are the person they can trust to solve their problems. Take each of the problems they have given you and write a 500-word article that gives great help. You don’t need to solve the problem completely (they can pay for the complete solution) but you need to convince them that you know your stuff and position yourself as an expert. Post this article on your blog and encourage visitors to leave comments.
Step 6: Keep in touch
This is another one of those questions I get asked all the time. How often should I contact subscribers on my email list? There’s a fine line between building a relationship and harassment. I recommend you email great content weekly, monthly at the least. You need to be fresh in their mind when they are ready to buy.
Step 7: The 80/20 rule
Remember Step 3? Give before you receive? The same happens with every correspondence you have with your customers. I recommend in every email you send to use the ratio 80/20. If you give 80% great content that solves your subscriber’s problem, they will be happy to accept 20% selling. In fact they will expect it. This can be as simple as including a link to a product they can buy that relates to the email content, or advertising a workshop you are running or service you provide.
Step 8: Encourage a two-way relationship
This is the most powerful thing you can do to build your Internet business. People buy from people they know and trust. It’s just like dating. You’re not looking for a one night stand here, you’re looking for commitment. So you need to encourage them to communicate with you and share a part of themselves. This is where your blog comes in. In every email you send, refer people back to your blog. A great way to do this is to include part of your great article in your email and link to your blog so they can read the rest. In the blog and the email ask them to leave comments and questions. Make sure you reply to every comment that is made on the blog. If people feel that you are listening, they are more likely to listen to you.
A final note
In business, relationships equal cash. Traditionally people have seen the Internet as a place that isolates people and that makes it difficult to develop relationships. In fact, the opposite is true. By using the steps above, your potential customers will feel as though they know you much more than if they had walked into your shop onceoff. And as I said before, people buy from people who they know, like and trust.