magnetSo in my last post about business websites for local retailers I talked about whether you web site is a billboard or a customer magnet. Obviously we would all want them to be customer magnets. That is why we are in business in the first place right?

Before I go over ways to make your site a magnet lets go into some of the offline things you have to worry about when trying to get and keep customers. If you are a walk in retail establishment like a specialty store, hair salon, restaurant, and so on you have to make sure your store front is presentable to the customer. That means the signage is proper, the windows are clean, no graffiti is on the wall (oh man is there a great scourge to our businesses than graffiti? Other than outright vandalism or robbery of course) and the floors are swept and clean.

Then once inside your store you want to make the customer comfortable and happy they came to visit. You accomplish that by having good product selection, good service, and an informative and helpful staff minding the store. Now of course some of these things are problematic at times. You can’t always have a perfect presentation.

So it is no fault of yours that it is not on your front plate to make sure and have an inviting web front that interacts with the customer and invites them to stay and enjoy your business over time.  There is just so much to do.

But the key thing that needs to be done to differentiate your web presence from a billboard (which will attract some attention but it is one way) is to engage your visitor and give them something of value.

How do you do that? Well for starters you give them a reason why they would want to “Sign Up For Our Newsletter”. I see that all the time. Why would I do that? For what reason or value?

If you ask this question of your visitors then spell it out what they will get in return. Don’t make the guess.

OK so if you already have a an opt in that is good, but you have to optimize it and advertise the value in it.

If you do not have an opt in form to collect customers to your business list then you MUST do it soon. Don’t get caught out on this item. You must engage your web visitors and get them to join your business as a valued partner. How do you do this? Well you give them an offer of something valuable in exchange for their information.

This can be an invitation to become a valued customer and receive discounts and sale notifications ahead of the rest of the public. It can be giving them free reports (5-10 pages) that enlighten them about your products or services. It can be a contest or drawing for prizes, or you can wrap all of these into one. The bottom line is you want to interact with your customers or would be customers.

If you are a nightclub you probably already advertise in some paper the listings of upcoming shows. Well why not get customers on your list and send them information about shows for free. And then even offer them deals. Got a slow night? Then offer your list special incentives to come in on those nights through your email list. Why we have seen local restaurants blown off their heals after sending out “slow night” specials to their list. Suddenly the tables are full and the drinks are flowing. Sure you might be giving them a nice discount to come in but at least they are filling tables and buying food.

Say you are salon and there is a beauty products store in your area. Why not work together and offer each others list special deals for patronizing each others stores? A  salon can offer discount coupons for the beauty products store and the beauty products store can offer discounts on a salon visit. A nice synergy is developed and both stores get more business.

So what is the mechanism behind all this?

Business list building using opt in forms and incentives for customers is not a rocket science. You just need to build your offer, add some lines of code to your web pages, get an auto responder account to take care of the whiz bang for you on a 24×7 basis, and then make offers to your customers.

But you have to learn a few things. And you have to be diligent about it. Don’t just take in a customer to your list and then never give them anything. You might say, “But I don’t know what to say.” Well every business has a story. Tell it to your customer. Tell them about how you got started. Tell them what goes on behind the scenes, or tell them how you create your recipes and cook the food in your restaurant. Engage them.

If you would like more info on how to implement these effective strategies please contact me for a free consultation.