An excellent way to convert leads into customers, generate more referrals and support your existing customer base is to develop an online community built around supporting and discussing your products. Here are a 3 suggestions to make the most of your online community:
1) Enlist your biggest fans
Get the people who are fanatical about your product on board. Give them an additional incentives to participate by offering them profiles on the site and a link back. Offer them sneak peeks at new products to come and put them on your beta testing list. Involving the die hard customers and having them show their enthusiasm for your products online will give you the third party validation that many small business are looking for before making the final purchase.
2) Have employee involvement
An online community can be a great way to learn about how your customers are using your products (the answer will often surprise you) and what new features they would like added. Many small business owners look online first before calling into your support line to find an answer to their problems. If they know that they can get a fast answer through your community from one of your staff you will earn a reputation online for excellent customer service. Your sales prospects will also see the responsiveness and be secure that if they have problems with your products they can find a fast answer online.
3) Include valuable resources
Make sure to link to valuable tips, resources, white papers, guides, and other information you have about how to best use your products. Having new resources gives your community something to talk about and helps the members better understand your products and how they can get the most out of them. By monitoring the community and seeing which are the most common types of questions asked you can develop guides and tools that are most suitable to the needs of your customers.