The First Visit

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At this point you should ask for her email address so you can send more valuable information in the future. This is crucial to your success - you must obtain the email address on the first visit. You may not get a second chance. Once you have the email address, point your visitor toward helpful resources. A restaurant could offer recipes or discount coupons. A plumbing business might offer tips for avoiding costly repairs. A small business site could offer a collection of articles. Whatever the business, there's some sort of information or gift customers would find useful. Give valuable information freely and don't worry about giving too much away. Give before you get, that's the way of the web. Ideally you'd have the ability to collect information about individual customers, but not all small businesses can afford the technology needed to track individual preferences and provide different experiences based upon them. If you can't, don't worry about it. But do try to collect first name at a minimum so you can personalize emails. What else characterizes a relationship-oriented website?

►FAQs: Make it easy for people to find the information they need by providing online help files. Make a note of questions you're asked repeatedly and compile them into a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). ►Two-Way Dialogue: Make it easy for customers to contact you and encourage them to do so; what you want is a two-way dialogue between you and your customer. When in doubt, ask them what they want. They'll tell you. If you find out what your customer wants and become a friend, you will beat most of the competition hands down. And be human - life is in the details. ►Timely Response: When your customer does "raise her hand", reward her with a quick response! There's nothing more de-motivating than an unanswered email to someone who claims to want my business. More than once I've purchased a product and written a follow up email, only to have it go unanswered. Guess who won't get...
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