Ten Ways to Attract New Customers Online: Part One
In our previous post, we asked this question:
What is the best temperature at which to use a block heater for your car?
Answer: The best time to plug in your block heater is when the temperature dips below -15˚C. The heater will help keep your engine warm so that it starts better—putting less stress on your vehicle—in cold temperatures!
Did you get it?
Now for this post’s question!
How long do you have to grab & hold the attention of a potential customer visiting your website?
We’ll reveal the answer next time!
Marketing to consumers in 2014 is a completely different ball game than it was ten or fifteen years ago. Gone are the days when you could buy an ad slot in the phone book, produce a 30-second radio ad, maybe hand out a few flyers, and call it a day. When was the last time you used the phone book to look up a number? Or bought a product or service because you heard about it on the radio?
These days, the vast majority of customers and potential customers are online, waiting to learn about your product or service in a way that allows them to learn more about your company, to read reviews from others, and to build trust in what you have to offer.
That just doesn’t happen anymore with phone books or radio ads. Traditional marketing, while still perhaps useful in some ways, actually excludes a large segment of potential customers—arguably, the majority of them, since mobile technology has become more or less ubiquitous for urban populations.
For the next few posts, we’re going to explore ten must-do things that businesses should do in order to attract these potential customers, who are roaming the wilds of the internet, just waiting for someone to guide them to the light… All right, so maybe it’s not that easy to attract customers, but if someone is searching for a product or service you offer and happen across your name online, these are some tried and true methods for keeping that potential customer interested—and ultimately turning them into an existing customer.
Do you check your company’s email once a day? Once a week? Maybe when you feel like it? And do you read the email and then neglect to respond for weeks? An email “black hole” is the death knell for businesses online, because it tells the customer that you don’t actually care about them enough to answer their questions. If you can’t be bothered to reply to an inquiry, then you clearly don’t want the business.
Don’t think that’s true? Next time you meet a customer face-to-face and they ask you a question, try ignoring them and see what happens. Don’t acknowledge them, and don’t reply. See how long it takes before the customer gets frustrated—maybe even angry—and leaves. They probably won’t return to your business, either.
That’s how a potential customer feels when you don’t respond to their email.
2)Track, Track, and Track Some More!
You’ve got a website so that you can build your business. That’s a no-brainer. But if you don’t bother to track where the leads on your website come from, and how many of those leads actually become customers, how will you know the best routes through which to attract more customers? And how will you know what’s making them stay?
Of course, this doesn’t just apply online, but to every aspect of your business—but sometimes it surprises business owners to realize just how many parts of their business they’re able to track once they’re online.
This will also help to determine future marketing efforts and develop a more efficient use of time. If you’ve tracked where leads are coming from, and if one of those leads has a negligible conversion rate, you need to know! The resources there can be diverted elsewhere, to a more potentially lucrative approach. Yes, much of marketing online is trial-and-error, but how can you know what’s “erroring” if you don’t track it?
3)Usability Is Key.
If a potential customer arrives at your website, and they can’t find the information they need, guess what happens? They’ll leave, and they’ll leave quickly.
To attract and keep a new customer, place the most important information about your product or service front and center. Then, make sure that your website is easy and intuitive to navigate. If someone loves your product after learning about it on the home page, but has to click through three or four layers of navigation to buy it or to learn where your company is located, you’ve already lost them.
They’ll leave and go elsewhere—and even if there’s no one doing the exact same thing as you? Those online customers will, in many cases, choose an inferior or slightly different product if the website for a competitor is easier to navigate or their contact information makes them easier to find.
In future posts, we’ll continue exploring the various ways that businesses can attract and keep customers online. It’s a brave new world out there, but it’s not a bad thing! Businesses that change with the times are the ones that will continue into the future, developing good relationships with their existing customers and building trust with potential customers.