One phrase that is often heard when discussing how websites should perform is,
What's In It For Me? (WIIFM)
Unless the website visitor quickly sees something that grabs their attention, they may click away to some other website where their needs may be better addressed. WIIFM is a good concept and many websites would benefit by its application.
I remember before the Internet made online contact so prevalent, sales representatives would often visit customers on a regular basis, particularly if a long-term contract was in place. Given that telephones and faxes provided minimal contact, meeting face to face was an important part of the selling process by staying close to the customer. I remember a phrase that some customers would use when their sales representative arrived on his regular call.
What Have You Done For Me Today? (WHYDFMT)
It was a loaded phrase then, and it is an even more important phrase now. Given the much increased cost of travel and the increased time pressures that many people face, we may neglect that important question in what is often now our somewhat distant online relationship.
The phrase came to mind in reading a thought-provoking article by Ben McKay entitled Are You on an SEO Honeymoon? Ben pointed out that it is often very easy to work with many websites and quickly take steps that will make them more visible in the search engines. Getting a higher ranking in the search engine keyword query reports is often not difficult, given that the competition is sometimes weak as well. After these quick fixes during the SEO honeymoon, how can you maintain and grow the relationship with the website owner. I believe that the WHYDFMT approach can be the answer.
WHYDFMT - Existing Customers
Ben was concerned as to how the website owner could be retained. Every day you should ask yourself what did you do today for that website owner? The owner will of course be happy if s/he sees continuing good and hopefully improving business results. The first step therefore may be to apply the WHYDFMT approach to customers. If customers are happy with what the company is providing, that will translate into increasing sales.
In this customer review, the most important customers are those who have been with you for a long time. They are staunch defenders of the company and may even be almost missionaries in spreading the good word to others. Conversely if you upset them their negative reaction may be much more damaging than with a potential prospect who may be less irritated and merely decides to buy from the competition instead.
Can you you do something for your existing customers every day? Even just thinking about them is a start. Communicating with them is important on a regular basis. That is why a company blog with interesting and exciting posts is a good use of resources. Encouraging them to subscribe to the RSS news feed will probably increase the likelihood that they will be aware of this news. If you are also able to offer discounts on new services or products from time to time, then this heightens the impact of the news.
To reward their loyalty, and do some cross-selling at the same time, you could offer discounts on complementary products or services. You might even suggest that they contact their friends with a discount coupon for similar products.
WHYDFMT - New Prospects
A tougher challenge is to get a message on what is on offer today to new prospects. This requires a product or service that has a new buzz-worthy feature so that the word will spread. A sense of urgency can be added by making the offer time limited. The online properties that describe the offer should of course be optimized for the search engines. However a greater and more immediate impact will be created by using Pay Per Click campaigns such as AdWords.
The new dimension in publicizing such offers is by using social media. If the company has established a presence on Twitter, then a re-tweaking campaign can be started to create the buzz. Where appropriate, other social media approaches can be adopted such as setting up a group on Facebook. In all cases, the 'Today' aspect should be emphasized.
WHYDFMT - Website Owner
Spreading the word on what you are doing today for existing customers and new prospects should be a welcome message to the website owner. However given that s/he is investing a good deal of effort and resources in the campaign, it does require a more tangible indication of what is being done today. The marketing plan should clearly identify the goals and metrics that will be used to measure progress. Google Analytics provides a no-cost way of handling this.
Regular reports should be made available that summarize what is being achieved. In this way, the website owner has a regular signal on what is being achieved every day. Where this shows shortfalls, then rapid action can be taken to correct the situation.
Following this approach, you do not need to be intimidated when the website owner asks, What Have You Done For Me Today? You have the reports which can show exactly what has been achieved.