Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Real Question About Online Business

The real question for your web site is not "Why would any one ever come to my web site?"

The real - and most important - question is....

"Why would anyone ever come back to my web site?"

Your goal is to make your page a destination. Destinations are places where something gets done. Continuing to use an insurance agency as an example, your office is a destination for many people. They come to your office to do a specific thing.

Make a list of those things. They should include buy a policy, make a payment, get a document. You should be able to make a longer list.

Believe it or not, your phone number is also a destination. People don't call your phone number just to see what that is like. They call to get a specific thing done. Ask for a change, check on coverages, get a quote.

Your web site needs to allow your customer to come to it to get things done. Then you will be a destination page.

If your web site does not allow your visitors to do something, think about your phone. What if your phone only allowed your visitor to get your street address and your email address. Maybe your phone would also say some nice things about how many combined years of experience you and your entire staff have in the insurance business.

If this is what calling your phone number did, do you think anyone would ever call your phone number again? I know I wouldn't.

Think about how long you would stay in business if this is all your phone number could do.

Well, the same is true for your web page. If it is just an online brochure it has almost no value.

For the insurance business specifically I know it is hard to provide online services. But not as hard as you think and certainly far from impossible. The problem is that many small business people wait for a vendor to provide a solution for all their problems. Then most wait for the price to come way down.

You do not need to spend a great deal of money, you do not need to hire some college kid or consultant.You can spend a small amount of time and money and learn how to create and change your web site yourself.

You would never even consider hiring a consultant to tell you how to arrange your office for the best customer experience. You only do it for your web site because you think learning how to create and change web sites is something too hard for you to do.

When you start to understand that the experience your visitor to your web site will have is just as important as a personal visit or a phone call, you will start to understand why only you should ever be the one to create a change your web site. The interaction of your customers with your web site is an interaction with you. It should have your personality. You will find that your customers do see you as who you present yourself to be online. And if you can not do the things online you can do in person or on the phone, your customers will think you just can not do them at all.

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