There is an odd phenomenon that I have noticed in the world of websites. There is a small, yet vocal, group of people that love crap! Time and time again, when I advise a client to improve their website or logo, I hear, "we get complimented on it all the time."


It brings up images of Charles De Mar from the movie Better off Dead saying, "I've been going to this high school for seven and a half years. I'm no dummy."

The problem is, these websites are speaking to the minority that are already sold on you. Congratulations, the choir knows God loves them. Now how about tailoring your message for those that have yet to be convinced?

In online marketing, you have to reach past even the point of conversion. In the religious world, it's called "discipleship". In online marketing, they call it, "customer satisfaction."

Too many companies let the conversion process end at the point of sale. In the service industry, customer satisfaction obviously happens AFTER the sale. We get that. We don't just take the money and run, we have to deliver. This is especially true if we want to earn their business a second (or third) time.

But, retail isn't so different. You can't wash your hands of the customer once you ship them their product. That may be the end of one sales process, but it's also the beginning of another.

The Client is Yours to Lose

In the service industry, once you've got a client, he or she is yours to lose. That means that, unless you screw something up, they'll often continue to be a client for as long as there is a need for your services. But, it's your job to continue to sell them on the quality of what you provide by giving the best service possible, and making sure the results are more than merely satisfactory.

Providing quality services can net you far more than just an ongoing contract, it can generate great word-of-mouth, leading to scores of referrals, which is the most lucrative form of marketing. What you say about yourself is not nearly as important as what others are saying about you.

Cultivating your existing clients can result in a great source of new clients. But, that's not just for service industries. Again, what happens after the sale in the retail industry matters too!

Anytime you sell a product, you have the buyer's name and contact information, which can be used to cultivate them for additional sales down the road. You have the ability to send them product updates, sales information, warranty expiration notices, satisfaction guarantee information, related products, product updates, and more. The cost of communicating with a customer to keep them a customer is far less than the cost of acquiring a new customer!

Once a customer has bought from you, there is a good chance he or she will buy from you again, provided that the experience was a positive one... and they remember. Following up after the conversion ensures that you keep your "good name" before them, so the next time around, you are on their mind instead of Google. They'll go directly to you - no additional "search" needed.

Sometimes, preaching to the converted is the exact thing that needs to be done. After all, there is no such thing as "once saved, always saved." Or in this case, once converted, always converted!

February 4, 2011

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.


Great points Stoney!

Nice job tying in religious metaphors in a non-confrontational way, while driving home your main point.

As a friend of mine says regarding customer service, "be average when it comes to customer service, because everyone else is horrible."


Nice one. Thanks.

But that's the problem isn't it? They can't hear the ones who land, wince and bounce can they?

It's basic human nature, no one wants to hear, let alone admit, their baby is ugly. Couple that with a general aversion for change, and messy and mediocre will remain the norm until even the converted stop coming. Then it's a crisis. The whole thing gets patched up, only to be left for dead for too long again. And the cycle continues.

The difference between small companies that remain small, and small companies that grow are the growers are willing to change and do what it takes to grow. On the other hand, the smalls remain small because they wait for the world around them to change. And like you said, they continue to preach to the converted even when the number of unconverted is more or less infinite.

Nice piece. People definitely need to keep an open mind about the opinions they receive on their products and services. For instance, I managed email newsletters for a company for many years, and often there would be concern over people complaining about a certain article (maybe it was a bit on the controversial side). The problem is, people forget that they are only hearing from a vocal minority. For every one person who complained, there were probably 100 who read the article and were totally fine with it. Sometimes you have to ignore the squeaky wheels.

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