Utilizing The Human Element for Online Business Growth

When it comes to growing an online business, focusing on relationships works better than any short-term tactic you can ever learn.

Why? Because relationships really, deeply matter. They cut across every part of life. When you strip an online business down to its basic elements, it's still about people selling to other people.

In fact, relationships in the digital age matter even more. In a world where anyone can contribute to your reputation with a click of button, whether it's through sharing your content, connecting you with influencers, or generally supporting your products and campaigns, the value of social capital is immense.

Moreover, this value is only going to go up in the coming years as interconnectivity and access to online networks increasingly define the dynamic of our society.  

The point I want to make is simple: master the power of relationships — with your subscribers, clients, peers, partners, and influencers — and it will come back to you tenfold later down the road.

Let's start with the concept of strategic relationships, building long-term alliances with experts or influencers in your niche with the goal of strengthening both of your businesses.

Forge Alliances with Influencers

Pick one expert or influencer in your niche who would benefit from building a strategic and co-creative alliance with you.  

It’s best to choose someone who is only one or two steps ahead of you, not someone who is way “out of your league.”

Before you make any approach, ask yourself the following questions:

Is this a person you feel you can easily connect with, trust, and open up to freely?

Does this person share similar values?

Is he/she going to be cooperative rather than competitive?

Will this alliance be mutually beneficial?

Once you identify the right person, see if you have a friend who can introduce you and make the initial contact. You can search LinkedIn, for example, to see if you have any 1st or 2nd level connections to use.

Otherwise, consider making the contact at a later stage and brainstorm useful ways you can help them. Long-term strategic relationships don't happen overnight, so look for the right opportunity.

Here are some action steps you can take:

  1. Read their blog and get to know them — what they care about, what they are interested in personally, etc.
  2. Subscribe to their email newsletter and pay attention to their updates.
  3. Leave thoughtful comments on their blog or reply to their emails from time to time.
  4. Sign up for Google Alerts with their name or online business name.
  5. See if they are planning to attend or organize a live event and consider meeting them personally.

Then, when you find the right opportunity to approach, go for it! Try to provide them something of value or casually ask them for a video call on Skype.

The key here is to keep it casual, concise, and to the point, so that it peaks their curiosity. The reason you want to bring the discussion over to Skype is because it facilitates the opportunity for deeper one-on-one connection. According to research, a substantial portion (some say up to 93%) of our communication is nonverbal.

Engage your Followers More Deeply

Relationship building isn’t about traditional networking, which is fairly shallow, short-term, forced, and transactional.

Relationship building is quite the opposite of “networking”; it’s deeper, long-term, more open, and organic. In many ways, it shifts the conversation from “What can you do for me?” to “How can I serve you better?”

This becomes increasingly important in today's fast-paced world, where people are bombarded with emails, tweets, updates, and social media messages. You have to stand out, be unique, and create a deeper level of connection.

Your task is to find ways to connect more deeply with your subscribers and followers. This can take many forms. For example, you can ask your subscribers to send in their questions, or you can simply ask them questions on social media or via emails.

Two-way interaction is key. Building relationships is not just about sharing your expertise, but also about engaging and learning from others.

Try to have a genuine desire to connect deeper and start viewing any interaction as an opportunity to build deep relationships — not just a shallow way to add another contact to your list.

* Relationship building focuses on quality, not quantity. One meaningful interaction is worth more than ten shallow ones . . .

Exceed your Client's Expectations

One simple and effective way to deepen connections with your network is to over-deliver on their expectations.

If you've ever received an extraordinary service — one that goes beyond the expected — you probably know how powerful this strategy can be.

What usually happens is that you remember their name, recommend them to your friends, and, of course, keep coming back. You might even like them on Facebook or rank them highly on social-bookmarking sites.

The idea is simple: when you throw in something extra and give more than is expected, people notice and naturally reciprocate.

Ask yourself, how can I over-deliver on my promises and give more than expected?

Here are a few ideas:

- Send a quick email to one of your most active subscribers and offer your services for free.

- Write a handwritten note to a client who purchased your product or service.

- Send a client a copy of your favorite book with a personal note.

- Add an extra eBook or another resource guide to the first email sent to subscribers.

These are just some ideas. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Try to be creative here and think of something your audience or clients will really appreciate.

Gain a Deeper Knowledge of Your Prospects

We all have assumptions about our prospects’ needs. Being intuitive and making assumptions are just part of the game.

However, erroneous assumptions can be detrimental to our business success. They usually lead to poor communication, inefficiencies, and unsatisfactory results.

By gaining a deeper knowledge of your prospects, you’ll be able to optimize your messages, your campaigns, and, eventually, your future products.

The results: your prospects will feel truly listened to, and that, as you know, will lead to a higher quality connection and better outcomes.

Remember, people join your list and buy your products when they believe you can help them solve their problems. Clearly communicating those problems (and their solutions) is the surest way to get noticed and boost sales.

One of the best ways to get to know your prospects better is simply to ask them.

You can easily do that by adding one short sentence to the bottom of your first autoresponder email. Something along these lines will work:

“In order to provide you with the best possible content in the future, I'd love to know: what is your biggest obstacle to success? Simply reply to this email and let me know.”

You can also send an email to your existing clients and see if you could ask a few questions related to the problem you're solving. You could also schedule a Skype call to go into more depth and make it more personal.

Here are some personal questions you can ask:

  • How did you first hear about me or my site?
  • What was your greatest obstacle personally?
  • How would you describe the heart of your challenge?
  • What has it already cost you?
  • What, if anything, have you done to overcome your challenge?
  • What are your top three values in order of importance?
  • What do you stand for in this life?

You can also use this opportunity to ask about your solution. For example:

  • What made you purchase my solution?
  • What were you looking forward to the most when you made the purchase?
  • Was the sales page clear enough? What didn’t make sense to you?
  • What else could I offer on my sales page that would make it better?
  • Was there anything that made you feel unsure or doubtful?
  • Have you achieved any results? If not, what was the main reason, in your opinion?
  • How satisfied are you with the results you experienced?
  • What did you think about the price? Do you feel this was a worthwhile purchase?
  • Any general suggestions for improvement?

With a few adjustments, these questions can also be directed to your prospects, so if you can’t find a client who’s willing to do it, you know you have other options.

Remember, questions can help to create bonding between you and your clients. Perhaps more importantly, your clients’ answers can provide you with valuable insight into their needs, likes, and interests.

Finally, Don’t forget to take your clients' feedback and actually act on it. Small changes can make a big difference in both your business and client satisfaction.

Founder

Tal Gur is a location independent entrepreneur, author, and impact investor. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His most recent book and bestseller, The Art of Fully Living - 1 Man, 10 Years, 100 Life Goals Around the World, has set the stage for his new mission: elevating society to its abundance potential.

 

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Founder

Tal Gur is a location independent entrepreneur, author, and impact investor. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His most recent book and bestseller, The Art of Fully Living - 1 Man, 10 Years, 100 Life Goals Around the World, has set the stage for his new mission: elevating society to its abundance potential.

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