Creating a Business Website Part 5 – Build Relationships

If you want to turn website visitors into paying customers, you’ll want to remember that your business website provides the opportunity to build relationships. This is so important to remember.

There are only a few ways to extend the relationship once someone is at your business website. They can pick up the phone, email you, or come and see you. But, if they don’t do any of these, you’ve lost your prospect.

The solution is to persuade them to sign up to your business website email list (aka email marketing). Email marketing is a vital (and I mean the most vital) element to building relationships with your website visitors.

Your business website should have a form on every page that simply asks for two pieces of information – first name and email address. When someone fills out that form, they’re now on your “email list” (email database). Once a “subscriber” (potential customer) is on your email list, you can begin to send out eblasts to all of these “subscribers” whenever you want. Of course, “whenever you want” shouldn’t be more than once or twice a month. The goal is to stay in front of your visitors or customers without overdoing it.

What type of information should you email your “list?”  There are three types of eblasts: promotional, informational, or a combination of the two.

  1. A promotional eblast would contain details about your service/product, company news, a coupon or a sales pitch.
  2. An informational eblast educates your subscribers. The idea is to brand yourself or your business as an authority or expert. If you owned a dry cleaning business, your eblast might include a couple paragraphs about how to get rid of stains on a certain piece of fabric, a review of a new leather care product, or a list about how to select the best tailor. The bottom line is to provide something that’s helpful to your subscriber that’s related to your type of business.
  3. I think the best idea for small businesses is the combination eblast. It gives you the opportunity to first provide a helpful tip, followed by a soft sales pitch.

Two of the biggest questions I get about building an email list is, “how do I get people to subscribe to my business website?” and “how do I add my current client email addresses to my database?”

“How Do I Get People to Subscribe?”
You have to entice them by giving away something that is good enough that they would be willing to give you their email address. My best suggestion is to give away a special report, such as (if you were a dry cleaner): “10 Ways to Keep Your Clothes Looking Great” or “5 Insider Tips of Picking the Right Dry Cleaning Service.” If I were the dry cleaner, I’d also include a coupon for signing up; such as 25% off your first order.

“How do I add my current client email addresses to my database?”
Your email list must be 100% opt-in subscribers. That means that you can’t just add them to your list, they need fill out the form to subscribe themselves. The best way to do this is to email your customers in the traditional manner as you may have done in the past and ask them to sign up. Just be sure you give them something beneficial in exchange for signing up. This may be your special report, or some type of special customer coupon. Put yourself in their shoes. If you were a customer and received the email, what would it take for you to become a subscriber? With many email marketing services, your current email list only have to click a link to confirm themselves to your new database. Nice!

That brings us to what service to use for your email marketing. There are many out there. Perhaps the most well known is the service I use and recommend is Aweber. You can sign up for an account, create a business website form from your business website designer, and have them add it to your site (or do it yourself with Aweber’s help — they make it easy with great support). Then, you can begin to manage emailing your subscribers. There’s a learning curve to sending out that monthly email, but it’s not too steep. If you’re on a budget, it’s definitely a job that you may be able to handle yourself.

There aren’t many ways to build a relationship with folks who visit your business website. But, email marketing is the one I’ve found to be the most simple and effective way to stay in touch.

This is Part 5 of Creating a Business Website.

View the rest of this series:

Part 1 | Keep it Simple
Part 2 | Don’t Go Alone
Part 3 | Think Like Them
Part 4 | Get Clicks!
Part 5 | Build Relationships

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