Does Your Website Listen To Your Customers?
January 6, 2011, 1:39 pm
The best marketing asset I have is myself. Whenever I go to trade shows, I bring a fat stack of business cards (complete with my phone number, email address, website and – yes! – my Twitter account name) and freely hand them out. I engage directly with everyone I meet at the trade show booths, during sessions and at all of the mixers. I’m there to get more business, true, but I don’t thrust my hand at someone and immediately begin my pitch. The first words out of my mouth after an introduction are usually, “What do you do?”
Listening to someone talk about their job, their company, what they value and what their goals are is the best way to win them as a customer. You should be listening for their pain points and immediately develop strategies to fix them, preferably with the services or products you sell. The best sales people aren’t the ones who convince someone to buy a product, they’re the ones who actually solve a customer’s problem. If you gain a reputation as a problem solver, customers will not only keep coming back, they’ll send their friends and colleagues your way as well.
Successful business websites are no different – they consistently address and solve problems customers face. Treating a website as a digital brochure is the surest way to kill its success. By taking advantage of content management systems (CMS), blogs and discussion forums and encouraging customer interaction, your site not only helps sell your services and products, it helps customers solve their problems.
Of course, your website can’t actually listen to your customers and customize solutions for each of them. Built and maintained properly, though, it can address a surprising number of pain points your customers face and still make it feel like a perfect fit. This is, in fact, the secret to long-lasting, effective Search Engine Optimization. Think of Google and the other search engines not as a way to search for information, but as a way to answer questions. When I type “chicago style pizza in the bay area” into Google, I’m not really looking for a list of links, I’m looking for the best place to find that luscious, deep-dish pizza I happen to be craving at that moment.
Your site should strive to be the best answer to the questions prospective customers are likely to ask. The best way to accomplish this is by providing timely, targeted information on the pages of your website that help your customers find the answers they need. If you provide clear, concise ways for customers to get directly in touch with you through your website, you can get them into your sales funnel right at the time they need you most.