You, your sales, marketing, operations and communications team are all booked to travel to a conference. At the last moment, you’re delayed. You send them on ahead.
Now, imagine the unimaginable. They fail to show up at the conference. A police search can’t locate them. The heart, brain and voice of your beloved business are gone.*
Treat your online presence like your best employees
These are the very people about whom you would say, ” I don’t know what I’d do without them; they’re worth their weight in gold.”
Your online tools are loyal, dedicated, discerning and a highly skilled combination of your three best employees. They don’t get sick, answer back or change their minds. They welcome working 24/365 and have no issue with cold calling or getting past the gatekeeper. They don’t resign, have families (nor for that matter, disappear mysteriously.)
So take care of them. Review them often. Make sure they are performing to your carefully planned key performance indicators and to your vision, mission and values.
Keep them fuelled with great content.
Like great employees whose commitment is unquestioned, your online tools are there to engage and convert your visitors to customers and advocates.
Now that you’ve got the right mindset around your online tools, make your mental shingle: Target. Talk. Trust.
If your visitors are properly targeted, your job of engaging with them in a dialogue and establishing trust just got a whole lot easier.
In an obscure location well away from the main shops, a young woman signs a long lease for a shop.
She fills it to the brim with all her most heart-warmed and desirable goodies. These were, well…eclectic fripperies, especially given the conservative nature of the demographics of the area.
Up goes her pretty logo and signage and then she waits for the dollar-laden customers to file through the doors and buy everything in sight. They don’t.
What’s the difference?
Did you know that in the last 12 months websites on the internet have nearly doubled to 324 million?
How many of those sites are like our young woman’s shop? How many are on un-researched domains or in competitive niches. Or business sites populated with turgid ‘we this and we that’ feature-laden copy?
They both hope for massive traffic to come and click on every product or affiliate link, like a feeding frenzy on a boxing day sale, but will they succeed?
A bull’s eye takes the same energy as any another arrow, but look at the score
When (or is that ‘If’) you take aim, do you know who and what you are shooting for?
Do they want what you offer?
How are they looking for it?
Will you make a difference to their lives if they find you and your solution?
Can you add more value?
Can you show them something they don’t know?
Who else is providing the solution and how?
Are you inside their heads?
Okay, so you know who they are and what they’re looking for. Now provide the answer, really well.
We live in an information rich, time poor world. We don’t have time for online experiences that might entertain but don’t solve our problem.
We want answers, solutions, enlightenment. We want it from tribe members who talk, and just as importantly, listen to our language.
I found you didn’t I?
I came looking for an exact match to the keyword phrase I just keyed in, or there was a link to your landing page. Your site gave me exactly what I was looking for and spoke to me in way that just clicked. So I clicked!
Do I like you for that? Yes. Might I have a look around for more interesting stuff? Probably. Am I prepared to trade my name and email for your valuable free give-away or to subscribe to your RSS feed. More than likely.
Will I talk to you? Well, you just gave me a whole lot more reason to.
Here’s the code: Trust-now
Years ago, a business coach gave us two tools— a trust monitor and a team compliance chart. Both have been invaluable assets.
Trust is not an oxymoron online. More than ever, we need to commit to building trust with our online visitors. It may be a cliche, but it’s worth repeating. We prefer to do business with someone we trust.
To build trust, you want your visitor to judge you highly on each of these counts.
Authenticity: What are your credentials? Where are the testimonials? How real are they and you?
Transparency: Does your visitor feel that you’ve shared everything that is relevant for them to make a decision, (buy, join, come back, tweet)? Is the information easily found, not obscured by rabbit holes of misdirection?
Competency: Have you demonstrated the skills or features to deliver your promise?
Disclosure: How much of the whole picture are you telling your visitor? Do they have to read between some lines?
Inclusivity: Are they invited to join in? Or are they made to feel remote, stupid, an outsider?
Apathy to commitment
The team chart measured a person’s contribution on a scale starting from apathy. Apathy stood for someone functioning entirely within their own bubble for their own benefit. Commitment described a person totally focussed on the greater good of the organisation (or their online community).
The middle point, compliance, held those doing only what was needed: nothing less, but nothing more.
To engage with anyone visiting your site your commitment must be absolute. If your aim is to give them what they seek, to build their trust and to convert them to customers, there really can be no half measures.
If everything you say online informs, helps, inspires, challenges, educates and connects, you are providing a service. When you provide a service, or aim to make a difference, it should instil in your and your visitor a sense of determined purpose. It is concrete and definite, it has meaning. It is about giving. Not taking or pocketing, but sharing.
* Fiction only. No employees were abused or injured in the course of this blog. (A more sinister ending might be: only the business bank account suffered. It was discovered the three had embezzled a large sum and had skipped the country.)