Customers come in many forms and whether they’re buying from, selling to, investing in or partnering with your business, they do it based on relationships. In our digital world, customers want access to information about your business with a few clicks and in the convenience of their living rooms. They want to know you have what they need and that you “get” them. In other words, potential customers want you to personalize their experience before you’ve even met them. That means your online presence needs to focus on their perspective, build trust in your brand, and make their journey feel effortless. 

A friend of mine recently wanted to have a deck built in her backyard. She knew she wanted a specific material and design but had no knowledge of options, cost or timeline. She planned to research local builders and get several estimates for the work before making a final decision. A quick Google search produced several preferred providers for the specific material she wanted. One website stood out. As she described it, “It mentioned my vision and design and called my deck an outdoor living space. I could picture this place in my mind and this builder said he’d listen and collaborate to help me create it.” 

She then went to the builder’s Facebook page to read reviews from people just like her in the local community and see photos others had uploaded to the page. As my friend recalled, “Contact was easy and the owner followed up with me immediately. We discussed my ideas, he gave me a few options to consider, and he wanted to see my design drawings. From that first conversation, I knew I liked him and I didn’t need to look anywhere else.” Read that again! She didn’t say anything about his prices or availability for the job, just that he understood her, valued her and she liked him. His website and social media page accurately represented his business style and personality so a relationship developed quickly.

Focus on your customer’s experience rather than your products and services

Potential customers come to your website or social media pages with their own agenda. Simply listing what you have, what you do or how you do it doesn’t mean you’re connecting with their needs or addressing their specific pain. A great way to figure out what they want is to interview people who know little or nothing about your business. Find out what they’d want to know and what questions they’d want you to answer before they’d be willing to do business with you. Then incorporate those ideas into your website and social media presence. While products, services, and prices are important, they are secondary to creating a relationship.

Transparency builds trust

Building Trust

Relationships require trust and trust is earned rather than assumed. Your brand is an extension of yourself and should reflect the qualities that make you unique. Don’t be afraid to share aspects of your personality that are relevant to your customers and your business. Whether you are knowledgeable, creative, hard-working or collaborative, ensure your brand consistently drives that messaging across your website and social media alike. Allow customers to share their reviews of your work and upload photos of your products and services. Help potential customers feel like they already know you through transparency and a consistent online presence.

Easy – does it!

Nothing is more frustrating than partial answers or being coerced into contacting a business to get more information. Customers prefer to do most of their research online and they want the process to be easy. Anticipate their needs first, address all potential questions, and provide thorough, accurate and timely information about your business, products or services. Make contact easy by providing multiple methods in multiple locations and always follow through with that contact.

You can build a foundation of trust and drive more leads to your business by creating an online presence that focuses on a consistent and effortless customer experience.

Share with us your experiences with customers and how it has impacted your online business.

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