Selling online has come a long way since its beginnings in the early nineties. PPC and SEO campaigns, viral video, and blogging are just a few of the promotional vehicles that e-tailers have at their disposal to help them increase their exposure and move their bottom line. But according to veteran Internet marketer Ken McCarthy, of TheSystemSeminar.com, online marketers sometimes miss it when they forget that selling online is still about serving the customer.
A Solid Foundation
Advises McCarthy, whose strategies have helped thousands of online retailers achieve success, "Everything that works in Internet marketing works because it follows traditional sales principles. Don't become so focus on implementing the latest and greatest marketing technologies that you lose sight of serving your customers. At the end of the day, this is still a customer service business – regardless of what you sell."
When your main sales venue is the Internet, it can be easy to forget that you're still in the retail business. Your marketing methods may be different from those of a brick and mortar retailer, but the most important element of your business will always be your customers. Marketing can help you get their attention and interest, but you're going to have to provide them with good old-fashioned customer service to earn their confidence and loyalty.
3 Steps to Successful Service
The common denominator that McCarthy sees among his students who realize the greatest success is that they understand the importance of benefiting their customers. The following actions can help you lay a solid foundation for good customer relations:
• Carefully consider your offer and make sure it presents a real value to buyers.
• Represent your offer in the clearest possible way.
• Concentrate on your solving your customers' problems.
For instance, if your customers want to buy golf clubs, make it easy for them to find and evaluate the products they're looking for – make your navigation simple and your pictures and descriptions clear. Provide them with a good deal and fast shipment. Help them resolve any issues that arise. A happy customer is a repeat customer, as well as being an excellent word of mouth advertisement – which is still the most effective marketing method around.
First Things First
The Internet is a phenomenal tool for entrepreneurs and retailers, and it offers numerous advanced techniques for promoting your products and your eCommerce store. But none of these techniques mean anything without a focus on developing top notch customer relationships. States McCarthy, "We're in a modern business, but at the same time, we're in a very old-fashioned business. The idea of providing excellent service seems too simple to some people. However, very few of the students that I see succeed are technical wizards, but every one of them believes that their customers are their top priority."