Last week I talked about how important the initial seconds and minutes of a first meeting are to the impression you make on your client.
But a lot of the things I mentioned last week are redundant if your meeting with a prospective client is not face to face.
If you are conducting business entirely through an internet website, as so many do these days, what do you replace these physical signals with?
During my time internet marketing I have picked up a few ideas on what works and certainly on what does not work, the latter usually through making the mistake myself and learning from it.
No-one likes someone who makes life difficult for them.
It astounds me how many web designers forget this simple fact. Most people accessing your site are, just like you busy business people.
They do not have time to spend working out how to navigate your very clever but almost unusable website.
And they will not thank you for making them feel incompetent or frustrated.
In fact making people feel stupid because they cannot work out how to access what they need on your site is a surefire way to make sure they don’t bother with you.
So keep it simple in terms of navigation.
It may cost a few bob to hire someone to design you a site that appeals to the average person but if it means your customers will be put at ease when they arrive at your site it is worth it.
This is the internet equivalent of making sure you show the other person you are interested in their needs.
Let the customer know who and where you are in the real world.
People fear internet sites because the added anonymity allows more deception and fraud.
Deliberately show visitors you are up front and accountable.
Give them a name and address that they can check if they so desire and even consider putting up a couple of videos of yourself.
I know I feel better about trusting an online site if I can see the face behind it.
If your site includes a blog or articles with a comment section, respond to people when they comment.
Just like in real life when you use a person’s name and make eye contact you are showing you value them, responding to their comments on your site shows them you are interested in what they have to say.
It is harder to establish trust and credibility online, there is no doubt about it.
But it is not impossible.
As with meeting in person, it is often the little things that count.