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10 secrets to online success 
(its all about the customer)

By Todd Jamieson

You’ve got your web site online. You’re on top of the search engines. You have killer web site copy. Now all you have to do is wait for the sales to roll in right? Well … not exactly.

In the last five years of working with all types of businesses, one of the most common mistake companies make is believing that their web site will do all of the work for them. Sure, a web site will definitely help productivity but it can never replace the human element of your business. Potential customers are still looking for some type of bond that brings them into your company, something that still makes them feel important and like an individual – they are looking for real people with real knowledge. And the reason why people choose to buy from you is because of you.

One of the most overlooked aspects of web sites is online customer service and ultimately your email correspondences. Think about it: if a “sales prospect” called your business would you leave them waiting a day or more before replying? Now, unless you work for a bank or just don’t want the business, you would never do that. But as crazy as it sounds, this is what many companies are doing. Sabotaging their own success simply by putting off returning emails to clients.

Here are a few basic rules I personally go by and suggest you adopt:

1. Develop a sorting mechanism in your email program so that you can answer your “sales oriented” emails first and then others later.

2. Answer sales oriented emails in under ½ day if possible (even a simple return email “I am working on it” will suffice in some cases).

3. Answer non-essential emails within 1- 2 days.

4. When you respond to any email, make sure you include at least the following information 1) Your name + your company name, 2) your title, 3) address, 4) telephone (with area code), 5) your return email, 6) your web site and 7) lastly make sure your subject line makes sense!

Also consider the following:

1. The web is now used more than the yellow pages when people are looking to buy a product.

2. It is very probable that your potential customer also contacted your competition.

3. Like your first sales meeting with a prospect, make your email stand out. Tell them what makes you different.

4. Your prospect probably gets SPAM emails on a regular basis. Make sure that the subject line is not confused with SPAM or your email may never even get read!

5. Make your subject line short and don’t come across as a used sales car person. A simple subject such as: As per your request at ABC.Com is usually sufficient.

6. Do not send files larger than 500k (1/2 a mb) – as a lot of people are still on dial-up.

Following these simple steps will maximize the benefits of your web site. In today’s fast moving economy, the old cliché “you snooze you lose” is more real than ever. And remember the web is no different than any other medium when it comes to building rapport/relationships with your clients. Have fun, stand out from the crowd and you will be surprised by the results.

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© Envision Online Media Inc.

Todd Jamieson is President and CEO of Envision Online Media. His company has developed over 100 web sites for a variety of small and medium sized businesses across Canada. Visit us at http://www.envisiononline.ca

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