Yesterday I attended Chris Guillebeau’s book signing at Chapman University. When Q&A time came around, someone stepped up to the microphone and asked something to the effect of:
What tips and tricks do you recommend for getting more traffic when you’re first starting out? How did you do it when you first started your blog?
It’s a question that I think is asked often. And Chris answered it well…
“FOCUS ON RELATIONSHIPS, NOT TACTICS.”
Most people will say things like: “I want more traffic.”
But let’s think about this a different way: better traffic vs. more traffic.
“Better traffic” means, a steady stream of visitors who are interested in what you have to say and what you have to offer.
What good is “more traffic” if all you’re doing is attracting large sums of exactly the wrong people (people that will never become customers)?
So, how do you get to better?
By building relationships.
- Talk about things your audience is interested in. (Don’t know what? Ask them!)
- Respond when they have questions.
- Be helpful (always).
Do this consistently and with 100% effort, and they’ll tell all of their friends how awesome you are. If you’re in real estate, you suddenly become the “go to” agent who has all the answers.
WHAT SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE DO THE FIRST HOUR OF THEIR WORK DAY.
This reminds me of an article I read on Fast Company Inc. where they talk about what Craigslist founder Craig Newmark does with the first hour of his work-day: customer service.
That’s right, customer service. He answers questions, responds to emails, and overall engages with his “customers” the way you and I and anyone who’s in business should be doing.
The article goes on to say…
Your own version of customer service might be keeping in touch with contacts from year-ago projects, checking in with coworkers you don’t regularly interact with, asking questions of mentors, and just generally handling the human side of work that quickly gets lost between task list items. But do your customer service on the regular, and you’ll have a more reliable roster of helpers when the time comes.
Which brings me to ask you a few questions…
- How often do you follow up with current customers? (My guess is, not often enough).
- How often do you follow up with past customers? (Again, my guess is not often enough and/or you can do better).
- How often do you follow up with people just to say hello and see how things are going?
I often hear real estate agents talk about tactics and strategies for getting more leads. The thing of it is, think about how you can improve your existing business simply by doing better at #1 and #2.
Put another way:
- Follow up with current customers often (heck, daily) even if there isn’t any update/change in status. Remember, too much communication is better than no communication.
- Follow up with past customers quarterly or semi-annually just to say “hi” and see how things are going. (I particularly like BrightNest for this).
Again, relationships, not tactics.
It’s the best way to build a long-lasting business.