Connect With Customers

Today, business is all about relationships. We buy a car from the guy our neighbor's brother recommended. We hire the contractor our mother's accountant used. We go see the movies that everyone on Twitter talks about. So finding ways to take business relationships beyond transactional is a sure-fire way to cement yourself in the minds of your customers. Social media – blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, – are all ways to connect with your customers, family and friends. And if you can use these tools to establish and enhance your relationships with your audience, you've got a leg up on your customers. Some examples are: The yarn store owner who tweets her new customer to ask how the new sweater is coming along… The car salesman who leaves a link for $10 off an oil change on a customer's Facebook wall… The homeschool curriculum vendor who records a short video showing how to set up a classroom in the home in a back bedroom… The golf instructor who holds a Skype party during the Masters… Possibilities are as endless as the world of Internet business. You will notice some commonalities between the ideas above: They're relevant. They are directly applicable to the niche or industry you're in (the golf instructor, for instance, isn't sending out oil change coupons; the yarn store owner isn't hosting a Masters chat). They're personal. Each interaction connects with the audience in a manner beyond a simple “buy my stuff” way. They're useful. Each interaction provides value to the recipient. In some cases, it's a dollar savings (the coupon); in others, it's informational (the video and the...