Four Easy Steps to Winning Friends on the Web

Most of you will be familiar with the works of Dale Carnegie and, in particular, his best-selling publication 'How to Win Friends and Influence People.' People.' It may be over half a century old, but this powerful book is still largely relevant today. Some of his basic ideas need just a little modification for running a successful online business. Here's how to win (and keep!) friends on the web: 1) GET PERSONAL. Dale says: 'Remember that a man's name is to him the sweetest and most important sound.' Political correctness aside, he's spot on. We're less likely to trash personalised emails, are more likely to open these first, and (providing the email is also well-written) we'll be better disposed to actually reading them. Limited use of names within the body of the email can also draw attention to important points, but if this is overdone it will loose its effectiveness. 2) PRAISE WHERE IT'S DUE. Dale says: 'Begin with praise and appreciation.' This is a great technique when promoting products or services. A small amount of praise can go a long way - as long as it's sincere and you've done your homework. Take a look at the following two notes: a) Hi there friend! Great site! I've got a great new product to share with you at a very special price ... b) Hi Name. Your articles in X Ezine are top-notch. Your ideas have helped to turn my website into a goldmine. By way of thanks, I'd now like to share some exciting new ideas of mine with you ... No points for guessing which letter will get results. The first smacks of insincerity and contains no personalization or indication that the writer has even visited your website. The second letter uses a small amount of targeted praise as a great introduction to the sales patter. This helps to establish an element of trust - necessary if you hope to make any sales. 3) INFLATE YOUR INTEREST. Dale says: 'Talk in terms of the other man's interests.' Of course, this isn't so manageable with an online business. It's easy to apply with a reciprocal face-to-face conversation, but it's another matter entirely via email correspondence. You have to learn to be an email 'scavenger.' It usually takes several emails before a deal is struck. In this time (providing that you have followed the personalization and praise techniques), your reader will probably have opened up a little. You should read all their emails carefully (keep them together in a separate file if necessary) and search for anything that they let slip about themselves - personal details, country of residence, even their preferred style of writing (formal or informal). These details are your marketing weapons. Comment upon or casually drop in a few of these choice details in your replies for added personalization. When used discretely, they can establish and build a bond between you and your potential client. 4) LET THEM HAVE THEIR SAY. Dale says: 'Let the other man do a great deal of the talking.' Encourage feedback from your reader. Give them a reason to reply and to pass on more of their personal details. This can be done by making a few relevant enquiries. Ensure that you don't ask questions which simply require a 'yes' or 'no' answer. Ask something specific and get them talking. Not only does this help you extract your marketing weapons but it also means that your potential client won't feel as though they've been talked into anything - even if they have. I think you'll find that these four steps will give you a really unfair advantage over your competition. If you want to learn more, pick up a copy of 'How to Win Friends and Influence People.' It's not too old to teach you a thing or two.