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« Simplicity: A Great Place To Start | Main | Traditional Advertising and Your Web Site »

Are You Listening To Your Users?

What Makes the Internet So Great?

The Internet's ability to act as a two way communication channel gives it a distinct advantage over traditional forms of media and advertising.  Other media can give you tremendous exposure to a vast number of people, but its one way communication.  Your ability to target your audience online is significantly easier. One of the best ways to get to your market's needs is by leveraging the two way communication channel.

Get User Centric
Use email, newsletters, and online surveys to build a picture of user wants.  Drill down to the user's needs. In the past I've written about the "Me Me Me" mentally that many companies have online.  Companies spend a lot of money and time telling you why they are the greatest and why you should buy from them.  If users aren't interested in what you have to offer even the best advertising in the world won't help you. You need to remember that users are far more skeptical of anything they see online. Companies fail every day to meet user needs and desires.  Make sure you concentrate more on the user's ego and don't over hype.

Make sure that the information you present is there for the user's benefit, not yours.  Too many web sites try to "sell" their product or service to the user.  Instead of "selling" to your user think of ways to present information to your user.  Online Marketing guru, Dr. Joe Vitale, recommends presenting user's with 95% High Quality Information, 5% sales.

Establish Relationships

When you find ways to leverage the two way communication channel you build trust and credibility with users.  Trust and credibility are two of the most important factors in a user's decision to buy.  "When all things are equal, friends buy from friends. When things are unequal, friends still buy from friends." Create a database of all the people who have emailed you.  These people have expressed some interest, good or bad, in your web site.  Use the ability to communicate with them to your advantage.   Do you buy products from people or companies you don't trust?

Using All That Feedback

The truly savvy Internet Marketer uses the web to collect data and feedback to create better products and new services.  Google and Yahoo are constantly following this model.  Integrating user feedback and trends are a significant reason why theses companies are so successful. Think of ways to do the same.

The web offers a number of ways to communicate with your users. Are you making the most of it?

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