Connecting to Online Customers

July 16, 2008

At the end of the day people are people, online or offline. There are some basic tips for making and keeping contact with the online customer.

Know where to find online customers – You need to know how to locate your customers online, and the first step is to know who these people are. Based on that understanding build a short list of key words to help you find them on a search engine; words could include products and service, geographic locations, special events and daily activities. You can start looking for them in the blogsphere and blog search engines, sites like Google’s blogs search, blogpulse, digg, and technorati. Once you found them, develop a bookmark library that includes the top locations that match your search.

Know what is important to your online customers – Regularily visit these bookmarked sites and find out what the discussions are about. Most of these are blogs and for each post there will be comments. The high volume comment posts are important; they mean a live discussion is taking place. Read the archives as well. Find out who the main bloggers are, their stories and onlne personalities. Do you have something to add, contribute to these discussions? Can you talk to these people?

Look at the online community – Blogs are usually part of a related niche and form circles or networks. Find out who are the members of the community and extend outwards from each of the blogs you visit. The best way is to start with the blogroll on these sites. Find other people and groups who more closely match the type of person you are looking for.

Contact them online – Contact the members of the community you feel has the most to do with the product and services you wish to offer. Make sure that you have somthing worth while to say when you contact them. Email them and be polite and honest, don’t hide the purpose of your email. Remember that your customers (especially bloggers) are wary of sales pitches, be straight forward. Transparency in your communications is an essential component of a sustainable online relationship.

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