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Become an Online Expert, and Have the Customers Come to You
No matter what the product or service of your website may be, by establishing yourself as an online expert, you will draw a substantially higher number of visitors � and potential customers � to your website than you would being "just another online business".
After all, credibility is everything when you're an online business. There really is no way to tell two different companies apart when all you have is their websites to look at. However, if you have established yourself as an expert online, your website, even if it is extremely similar to that of your competition, suddenly holds a great deal more perceived value, and is much more likely to make a sale.
By establishing yourself as an online expert in your field, you will accomplish the following:
- helps to build trust for you, your product, and your advice among your prospective and current customers.
- encourages the people who have benefited from the knowledge that you have shared to spread the word about you, creating referrals about you, your website, your business, and your products and services.
- assists in creating a long-term relationship among your customers and prospective customers.
Perhaps most beneficial of all, by sharing your knowledge and establishing yourself as an online expert, you can do a great deal of marketing for yourself without spending any money at all. It takes a little bit of time and effort, but this is well worth it when you see the return on this investment. Soon you will be considered the most important source of information, advice, and products in your industry.
So how do you obtain this level of trust and respect online? There are several techniques. Some of them include:
- Create your own informative e-zine or e-newsletter. Write about fresh topics that are interesting to you and your current and prospective clients. This should not at all involve a hard-sell about your products, but should instead be about related topics that will indirectly encourage people to be interested in your product or service, and recognize you as being the most knowledgeable person to consult � and shop from.
- Write articles that will be posted in other websites, e-zines, and e-newsletters. Don't forget to include copies of these articles on your own website so that people visiting your website will benefit from the same information that they'd see at the sites where you post.
- Take part in message boards, forums, e-mail discussion groups, and other posting arenas online. Be helpful with other group members and participate regularly in their discussions. This will help you to build relationships with prospective customers who are directly interested in what you have to say. This can include posting boards that you have found elsewhere, or ones that you create yourself.
- Offer online workshops that provide informational seminars related to the products and services that you sell. Make sure that once your workshops are being offered, you send out personal invitations to any of your contacts that you believe may be interested in attending. You should encourage them to bring their friends and family, as well. To add to the success rate of bringing friends and family, offer a small gift to those who bring a guest who is not on the invite list.
- Hold informative and creative online parties � online parties are increasing in their popularity. Therefore, if you are building your reputation as an online expert, a personal invitation to your current and prospective clients whose contact information you have can go a long way. Don't forget to encourage them to bring guests to the party by enticing them with small free gifts. Remember that free gifts needn't be products that will cost you money. You can always offer your expertise. After all, you're establishing yourself as an expert, so offering your advice, counseling, or other consultations has value in itself.
- Send out a press release that clearly demonstrates the knowledge that you hold in your part of your industry. Send this press release to the local media and to the many free distribution centers online.
After these efforts, you cannot expect an instant reaction. Remember, establishing a reputation in expertise does require some time. However, as long as you continue sharing good quality information and spreading the word as much as you can among your target market, you'll find that people will start coming to you to buy, because you're the person and the company that they know they can trust.
Copyright 2006 Mark Nenadic
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