These are all common requests made by business owners and managers—the devil is always in the details. For me, the most important part of offering these types of services is client education.
Unless I’m specifically told “I don’t care, just do it“, I prefer to educate clients along the way. I’m happy if they want a better understanding, whether in just a general sense, or a more detailed understanding. The conversation that follows is educational for both of us.
Few things in technology are as they were 5 yrs ago. The online realm changes rapidly. It’s only part of the process to develop a good marketing strategy. When a client doesn’t understand the current technology, perceptions can turn bad.
After the service request is made, I like to start by defining what results are expected. Its important to work backwards from the result because it ensures the proper path forward. Its through this process we learn whether clients, have a current understanding of marketing, or develop interest and want to learn more. In the end, a good approach is developed and solution provided. The client and I are both pleased with the outcome.
Recently, when discussing tech needs with a client—after a few sentences, he would shut down. “Ok, overload, that’s enough, you can go, see you later.” I’d laugh, I’m not offended. Its a typical response, I’m verbose. Very similar to “well, it hasn’t worked all morning, but since you’re here, it seems fine!”
Sharing my knowledge and comprehension while producing results also serves to educate the clients a bit, it provides them a basic foundation of knowledge and they can do a bit more research if they like or at least have a bit of background on the technologies around the services they request.
In a few weeks, we are talking about those next steps. For this particular client, while providing desktop and server maintenance and site updates—we’re also discussing how to verify data between the online store and their internal system. We recently sent out their first email campaign and will be moving towards social media marketing. We’re doing some quick holiday promotions and we’re also kicking around the best way to develop a meaningful, targeted mailing list that is a captive, interested audience.
I’m happy to walk clients through these technologies and processes at their own pace and time.
Recently another new client, had just previously spent some cash on a nice, new website, complete with SEO optimizations and possibly some local directory listings. This type of site, I often refer to as online pamphlet sites. It primarily exists to convey general details about a business; store hours, location, phone and types of merchandise sold, and some photos of the store. It’s not an e-commerce site. Just a clean online presence for people on the internet who may be searching for more information about the store.
The store offers nationally available products. The merchandise is also a very common item in retail. Wal-Bob and the like, and thousands of stores online carry the same products. So, the focus is to sell these items locally, letting people know about the brick and mortal storefront and that it’s conveniently located and offers great prices.
Post investment in the website, he hasn’t seen any increase in sales related activities. No increase in phone calls or foot traffic at his local store. “Worthless“ was the term used. Without knowing what services the company actually solicited, I could offer him that I felt they did provide a nice, clean website and that the business name, website and his FB business page all have a solid web presence in search result rankings.
All he knows today is that it’s holiday season and the advertising budget is gone without any increase in sales that he can attribute to the investment.
This is great example as to why some level of client education is important to me. Perception is everything in life. Expectation levels can be checked when there is some level of understanding of the the process or technology behind the service being provided. The service provider missed the mark, not because they didn’t perhaps deliver what they sold my client, but rather because he’s not happy with end result. Miscommunication likely resulted in a missed future opportunity.
My commitment to my clients is to be thoroughly detailed and verbose (some may say annoyingly so) and in return, you will have a level of understanding of the service and technology that will make you feel both comfortable and confident about proceeding in a certain direction with a reasonable expectations of the results.
I’ve written in a bit more detail—about 5 topics I touched upon above.
- I need a website.
- I want to do some online advertising.
- I need better search engine results.
- I want to do some email marketing.
- I want to promote my brand and sell stuff online.