All businesses run on sales. Some take the hyped up hit and run approach. But, to build a loyal following of repeat clients who refer their friends to you requires more than advertising how great your product is. Long-term success means taking a three-step approach beyond marketing.
1. Build Relationships
Your business relationships are not just with your clients. They include others in your niche and those who provide related services. I’m fully aware that those who read BlogAid also follow coaches for authors, artists, retailers, and professional bloggers.
It is in my best interest to make friends with these coaches and highlight their blog posts and offerings to my followers. My readers are helped by the information and, in turn, those coaches refer their clients to me for website resources.
By building these industry relationships, we become a group of trusted resource providers for our clients, which further strengthens our individual status and expertise.
Our clients think the world of us for sending them to someone with the same caliber of product, knowledge, and business integrity in a related service.
2. Helping others has Rewards
Keep in mind that everyone in your relationship circle is trying to better their business and grow. Unexpected opportunities can come from anywhere, if you’re open to it. For example, today I was setting up a client’s site on a new host. I called tech support to ask how that particular thing was done on their host (they’re all different).
During the conversation, the tech became interested in my WordPress Training and is signing up for the core WordPress module so he can better help the folks who call him. And, he was so impressed with the services offered on BlogAid that he’s going to refer those callers to me.
How happy do you think I am about the opportunity to get my foot in the door to become a preferred vendor for a big-name hosting company? And it started with a call for help and advice from them.
I follow a lot of techie lists for news on what’s coming next and I always send a head’s up notice to my industry friends if that change will affect their site and offerings. They do the same for me. By helping each other this way, we mutually benefit from everyone’s field of expertise. It’s also nice to be able to run an idea by a friend in the business.
3. Walk Your Talk
The folks I have the most respect for are the ones who actually do what they are advising me to do. The “been there, done that” people are the ones I follow closely and the only gurus I’m willing to pay for the opportunity to pick their brain.
The online world (especially certain social media sites) are full of folks who post snippets of “try this cool new gadget” that ends up being a bust, or worse, something I wish I had never given my email address to get.
While it’s not possible to vet every gizmo and whizbang when reporting the news of the week. I always consider the source. If it’s from someone who has a trusted reputation, I expect it to be something I’ll actually find useful or at least worth checking.
Becoming known as a reputable business takes more time than becoming known as an expert in your field.
Becoming an expert is easy. Some folks just say they are and people believe them. Consistently supplying free, tips and advice will make you an expert in the eyes of others, but doesn’t mean that your tips and advice amount to anything more than a grab bag of “try this, try that”.
Building trust means consistently delivering content, offerings, and products that work. It also means letting your clients know that you will be there to meet their needs before, during, and after the sale and then actually doing it.
It’s not a Cliché, It’s Good Advice
Here are the rules I follow in all segments of my business, and I believe they will bring me success.
- Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.
- Know Thyself.
- Be Yourself.
- Know your audience.
- Write what you know.
Beyond marketing, what helps you succeed with your online endeavors?