Because you can easily interact in real time with prospects and clients, the Web is ideal for building one-to-one client relationships. If you consistently identify what your clients want and notify them that you can meet their needs, you can turn those Web site visitors and one-time customers into loyal long-term clients.

The key to one-to-one marketing on the Web is effective use of permission marketing -- getting your potential clients to volunteer their attention. Opt-in e-mail, online communities, electronic newsletters, and Web-based client support services are powerful tools for one-to-one marketing, but only if you have the permission and participation of your prospects and clients.

Your first step is to figure out the characteristics of prospects that would be most able, willing, and ready to buy, often using online forms to gather the information. Once you have defined the target market, you can target your sales and service messages based on the demographics and interests of the individual. Your delivery may be in the form of special Web page content or a targeted newsletter or an e-mail offer.

Why would a prospect or customer supply you with the information you need to make one-to-one marketing on the Web work for you? The answer: value and trust.

Value

Does your offer meet your prospect's needs? Whether it's customer support on your Web site or a new product offering sent via e-mail, it must have value to the prospect or customer.

Keep in mind that your target audience is continually barraged with barely meaningful banner ads, Web sites, and e-mail that compete for their attention. Your offer must stand out from all the competition by offering value to the recipient. Otherwise it simply goes in the trash and your relationship has come to a dead end.

Trust

Your target audience trusts you to:

  1. Adhere to your privacy policy.
  2. Not sell their information if they haven't given you permission to do so.
  3. Avoid offers and communications that are too frequent, too loud, too long, and too insistent.
  4. Be honest.
  5. Nurture the relationship and interact with them, providing information, education, and products and services of value.
  6. Provide the option to opt out of your promotional actitivies.
  7. Honor opt-out requests when made.

As you build your relationships with your customers and prospects, they'll provide more and more information that you can use to be of better service to them.

Developing and sustaining one-to-one relationships is an ongoing process. As you learn more about your customers, you can serve them better. You can make inroads for maintaining profitable, loyal, one-to-one relationships resulting in increased business. Implementing an effective program of permission marketing on the Web is a step in the right direction.

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