Do you have a “Main Street URL?” Even an online business can achieve the feeling of “the old days” by building a community out of your site visitors and making it feel personal. In a the world of web marketing we’re always going for more rather than better, but let me ask you this: what would you rather have:
- 10,000 site visitors who don’t buy; or
- 1,000 site regulars invested in what you are doing?
The obvious answer is the 1,000 site regulars, right? Wrong. Most businesses are focused on the 10,000 site visitors in the hopes that marketing math (2-3% return in many instances) will payoff. Main Street URL is about using your website and presences to get with your customers, recognize their pain, and then offer an answer to what they are looking for. Sounds crazy? Read on …
Why Google Traffic Isn’t the Answer
Don’t get me wrong, traffic is good. Hell, I wish I had more traffic and welcome any visitors who want to stop by. The problem is that many of us think of traffic as the end. “If I could only get 20,000 hits a month on my site …” then what? We need a plan of what to do with traffic once it comes, but even more important, what to do with any of the traffic we have now.
Let’s face it, not everyone is going to show up #1 in Google. We are not all going to end up in the top 1,000 blogs. If that is your goal, I think it can be a fine goal, and there are plenty of ways you can get there using solid content, SEO tactics, and time. What I am talking about with Main Street URL is creating web presence that we can direct current and new customers to, that conveys who we are as a business, presenting itself as a true resource for the customer to get answers to their problems, invest in us as businesses, and perhaps find a favorite place to go to on the web.
There are sites that I traffic frequently because they do this successfully in the products and services I care about. To name a few examples of sites that I think create an experience:
I have purchased something from each of these sites this year, and refer to them often. Is it just sales that make these businesses great on the web? No. It’s the experience. In this series of posts, we are going to discuss what it means to create a loyal customer through social marketing and the Internet.
Make Each Customer Feel Part of Something
Business don’t look like this anymore, that’s for sure. In the days of Main Street, shop owners knew every customer and there was a trust between buyer and seller that rarely exists today. People would sit and chat when shopping, sometimes for hours, and in the course of forming a relationship with the shop owner, they would buy from him only.
We can create the same kind of loyalty on the web, only instead of chatting by the front door, we’re engaging with commenters on our blog or responding to customer queries on Twitter. The tools don’t matter so much as the willingness to engage and be responsive. Even small businesses can do this. Much of the attention has been paid to big corporations, but small businesses with a solid web presence and a community of regulars can expand their base by engaging in social marketing tactics.
Main Street URL posts will discuss how to make that intimacy in your business. I’m hoping to hear from you as well about your ideas and things you’ve tried. In the next post I’ll talk about the goal: making your online business feel like a place where everybody knows your name. What is it good businesses, successful businesses do that make customers feel like this even if they are catering to loads of them at a time? Find out in our next post. In the meantime, check out the social marketing page on Facebook and share your take on the idea of Main Street URL.