Got this email just the other day from Terri Z of www.solo-e.com
How do you build a relationship with folks online, without it consuming tons of time?
I so LOVE this question… for the simple fact that it means Terri ‘gets’ the importance of building a relationship online. Relationships build businesses, people buy from those they know, like and trust.
I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again, if you aren’t willing to put in the time & energy required to build a relationship with your visitors/subscribers online then I dare say don’t even bother doing business online. I take a rather hard stance on this.
So let’s take a look at some of the best ways to do this without consuming tons of your time…
Do note that it will require *some* time to build a relationship online. However the beauty of the internet is the availability of tools and strategies we can use to leverage our time and effort. How cool is that?
As I sat down to write this it occurred to me that there are 2 important elements to building a relationship, online or offline.
First, you mush REACH out to a person.
And then secondly they must RESPOND to you.
Until both have taken place – reach and respond – the relationship hasn’t actually started yet.
It’s like being hit on in the bar… if some guy comes up and says ‘hey baby what’s your sign?’ and I walk away without responding then the relationship is stopped before it was ever started. (It’s been a while since i’ve been in the bar scene, have the lines gotten any better since then? 😉
So as we work to build our businesses online, our objective should be to REACH out to people in such a way that gets a RESPONSE.
I always like to start with the end in mind, so first decide what kind of response you want to get. Desired responses could be:
- getting someone to read your newsletter
- getting someone to participate in your survey
- getting someone to make a purchase from you
- getting someone to send you a referral
If you know first what kind of response you want, then it is easier to decide on the best way to reach out.
This is where the power of the internet comes into play, giving us the ability to reach out using online tools that are automated and allow us to reach many people with ‘just a click’.
Let’s take a look at a few examples of how we can REACH out to people, using the leverage of the internet.
A great way to leverage your reach is to set-up a series of autoresponders that gets automatically sent out each time someone joins your list or makes a purchase with you.
One of my favorite autoresponder strategies is the Quick Question email. This is a short email that you send out after people join your pink spoon list asking them ‘their biggest question about X’. (More on creating a quick question email here.)
The purpose of this email is to make a connection, and to also gather valuable feedback/information from your readers. In my experience over half of the people who get this simple question from me take the time to respond, giving me the opportunity to reply to them and start a deeper relationship.
Another great way to reach out is through sending a newsletter or ezine on a regular basis. Again, keep in mind here that your objective is to get a *response* from your readers… so before you sit to write each issue ask yourself ‘what kind of response do I want from my readers’?
This could be as simple as writing an article and asking for their input on a certain topic, or offering a product for sale.
Keep in mind that your subject line can make a big difference. Instead of saying “Newsletter Issue IV” give some thought to how you can entice people to read/respond with your subject line alone.
- No-Fee Teleclasses
Offer a complimentary no-fee teleclass to your readers. People love a ‘live voice’ and this is one of the best ways to strengthen an online relationship/connection. Turns us into ‘real people’ vs just words that pop up in their inbox.
It’s funny… being an introvert I have to admit that a part of me really doesn’t like doing teleclasses. My natural inclination is to sit and type away… but when I do push myself out of my box and lead a teleclass I always have *loads* of fun. The energy of connecting live cannot be beat, regardless of your extro/introvert tendencies.
Now for the response… I strongly recommend responding to all emails, even if just to say ‘thanks for your input’. Remember, it is at the point of response that the relationship starts, so this is KEY!
People really do appreciate knowing their email has been read, and it can make a HUGE difference in the depth of relationship that you create.
Yes, I can hear you groan as you read this… “but I already get enough email, how am I possibly supposed to respond to every email that comes in?”
If need be consider hiring a VA to help ease your email load. With a bit of training a VA can help answer your emails in a way that reflects your business style and helps clean up your inbox.
So just to recap this simple formula:
Reach + Response = Relationship
Let me ask you…
- What more can you do to *reach* out?
- How can you improve your *response*?
Would love to hear your thoughts, post your comments below.