Improve Your Relationship
With Your Current Customers
The Internet is all about information, communication and community. Always keep those elements in mind when thinking about your own business’s web site. Serve your existing customers with each.
Obviously, you want to include information about your business: location, services (or products), hours of operation, phone number (and other contact options), etc. You should also include information that is pertinent to users of your services (or products). If you are a plumber, you might want to provide a how-to section about replacing washers in a leaky faucet. If you are an attorney, you might want to write (or have someone else write) an article about the importance of having a living will. If you sell infant clothes, you may choose to have some articles about infant safety.
The point is that you want people to come to your site for relevant information on topics of importance in their own lives.
Communication is a two way process. Provide the contact information, as mentioned above, but also find ways to encourage your customers to actually use those channels to communicate with you. Ask, cajole or beg for feedback so that you know how to improve whatever it is that you do, but also so that you can share those glowing reports with your other site visitors.
The Internet provides an ideal medium for you to communicate with your customers, not only within the pages of your web site but also via email marketing (and other forms), which I address in some detail on another page (see link, above).
One way of using your site as providing a sense of community, is to demonstrate the contributions your community makes to the geographic area or to the development of your own business niche/community. Examples of this might be as simple as displaying the Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce logos on your site. Or you might have a page showing pictures of your company’s efforts in a recent charity golf tournament.
A very different way of establishing a sense of community, is to create a community of your site’s users. Perhaps you might allow them to rate competing products that your store offers, or you might provide a blog where new parents can exchange parenting ideas, questions, answers, etc. Such a site can become, what we Internet marketers refer to as, sticky. A sticky site is one that keeps visitors coming back on a regular basis, because they are genuinely interested in the updates.