The secret to success in online business is gaining people’s trust.
Luckily, that’s a lot cheaper and easier to do than running big ad campaigns or hard selling.
Doing business online is personal. Believe it or not, before they deal with you online, people want to know more about you. Maybe not your bathroom habits or love of collecting teacups (actually, some people will be interested in that), but they do want to know who the person behind the business is.
They want to know your story and if they’re interested in what you sell, they might even want to know how it’s useful for them.
Which is good news for business owners – usually a passionate bunch of people who have happily traded the 9-5 for the 9-9 to achieve a sense of satisfaction. You are a wealth of knowledge and experience that people online want to tap into. What else can you do but share it with them?
Of course, if you’ve already built your profile online or have a popular product, you might already be blessed with an existing audience. If not, you’ll have to work to get their attention and their trust. Why bother? Because doing business online is personal – if you want to succeed, you’d better start making some friends.
Let’s look at the platform you’re doing business on. In its short life, the internet has evolved to become an everyday utility in the lives of most people.
“They want to know your story and if they’re interested in what you sell, they might even want to know how it’s useful for them.”
With the advent of Web 2.0 and social media, each of you now has a voice that can immediately connect you with people all over the world.
The modern internet is an interactive platform; people are using technology to publish their thoughts and connect with people with common interests, allowing us to create our own online communities.
People are sharing content, conversation, and – most importantly for you – recommendations.
If you want to grow your business online you need to start engaging with your audience. However, throwing a bunch of dollars at online advertising will not help you connect with these individuals or communities. Repeat after me: online is not the place for the hard sell.
Luckily for us, doing business online successfully is not expensive and it’s within your reach if you really care.
Yes. Care. Not traditionally a very business-y word, but it’s all that matters.
It might not seem like work to be building relationships, spending time on Twitter, or chatting on a forum, but underneath the chirpy exterior of these social networking sites, there is serious business happening through strengthened relationships. Trust is the currency of these relationships and there’s nothing more valuable to a business online.
How do you get this trust? It’s not easy, but it’s not elusive either. It’s all in your intentions. The new internet keeps businesses honest: if people feel they are being sold to or manipulated in any way, that’s it – game over.
Remember, doing business online is not about you or your brand. It’s about what you can do for me. But I won’t listen unless you talk to me one-on-one, give me something I want or my friend recommends you.
Learning how to win friends and influence people has never been more important to your business. Happy chatting!