This is a guest post by Hannah Daniel.
With social networking, easy Internet research and million-dollar ad campaigns, you can no longer just tell potential customers that your company is wonderful. In order to survive, a company must present helpful, persuasive information without relying solely on marketing hype.
These guidelines are important in many industries, where hidden fees run rampant and everyone tries to sell you on an idea rather than specific products or savings. If you evaluate your company or service based on these ideas, you could become more effective and make yourself even more helpful to both potential and current customers.
Many companies make the mistake of assuming that everyone knows all about them. Unless you are Apple or Nike, that assumption can be crippling.
If you are going to sell something or offer a product, take the time to accurately and thoroughly explain it. Don’t just say “We offer several great pet leashes.” Instead, you can provide relevant information:
• Tell future buyers that you offer six different types of pet leashes for $10, $12, $15, $18, $20 and $25.
• They differ based on length, material, print and whether they have a reinforced handle.
• They benefit the customer because the new strong-weave technology keeps your pet from chewing and destroying the leash, making your leashes last longer and saving you money.
Make it clear and well-organized, providing plenty of information. This can help someone who is browsing through your Web site to make an informed decision. The best information is informative, helpful and accurate. If you make any claims, support them on your site.
Customers want to know what they are getting into before they sign up or make a purchase, and they will not simply take your word for it without proof.
Be just as open with potential customers as you are with current clients. If you operate your company with integrity, this should be fairly easy. Members-only access to forums, exclusive products and helpful tools could be a great incentive to sign up or purchase.
However, members-only access to prices, listings, product reviews and policies could seem shady. Customers may feel you’re hiding something. If you offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, for example, clients can see you have nothing to hide, and they can actually experience the service or product without risk. If your company is transparent, they won’t have to worry about being locked into something different from what they expected. What they see is what they get. If you have a list of prices for services or product features, make it easily accessible.
Even if it’s unintentional, a confusing or limited Web site can convey to potential customers that you’re hiding something or that your product is low-quality. Consider if your site is just as easy to navigate for the Web-savvy businesswoman as it is for the elderly man who just learned how to use e-mail.
It isn’t always feasible or appropriate to gear your site toward every possible customer demographic, especially if you sell a niche product or a specific service. However, looking at your approach through the eyes of several demographics will help give a bigger picture of who might be looking at the site and who could even become a customer.
These methods can help you examine your company’s strategy for effectiveness and integrity. If you truly want to inform and persuade a potential client, you have to show them your product, prove it to them, and offer something more. A company should help the potential customer make informed decisions and give them the tools to do so – all while providing a service or product that will clearly benefit the customer.
Hannah Daniel enjoys providing an affordable dental insurance alternative to small businesses and individuals and helping them save money on dental care. She manages a dental blog backed by 1Dental.com.