1.09 Why attract existing clients?
The first question to ask is not how to attract your
existing clients - but why. Why do you want them to visit, what
benefits do you expect for your practice and what do you expect
your clients to take away from from a visit to your site?
All very new
First, look at what you already provide for your existing clients
which will translate into content on your web site. If you already
produce a practice newsletter or regularly send information to clients
then your web site will enable you to enhance their effectiveness
and possibly reduce your production costs. If you don't provide
these, or similar services like regular newspaper articles, then
you should consider carefully whether or not you need to develop
your web site to attract existing clients. It isn't essential to
Why do you want them to visit?
You need to define the benefits you expect to come from clients
visiting your web site. These may be purely commercial increasing
sales of products and uptake of services. At the other end of the
spectrum altruistic - promoting responsible animal ownership within
the community you serve. In practice you will probably find a balance.
What do your clients take
away from a visit?
Information in some form. The challenge is to define which information.
The Internet is an enormous information resource, your practice
web site a mere drop in its ocean. What information can you provide
your clients which will uniquely answer their needs.
Attracting your clients to visit your web site the once isn't going
to keep them up to date with the latest products, introduce them
to your new services or find a home for that unwanted mongrel. You
need them to visit regularly, the more often the better. The information
you provide must both answer their needs and attract them to visit
your site again - and again and again.
It isn't too difficult to convince people to visit your web site
once. If you include your web address everywhere you can - on letterheads,
invoices, business cards, advertisements and posters in the waiting
room and add a call to Visit our web site today
then your clients are quite likely to visit out of curiosity
Once or twice
Put yourself in a position similar to one of your clients. Let's
suppose that you spot a web address that interests you. You visit
the site. You find interesting articles and a promise to remain
current, to add new content, to stay up to date. You bookmark the
Later, you return to the site, if you find that the content has
been updated as promised then you are likely to visit again. You
may become a regular visitor. You are more likely to purchase items
from their catalogue.
On the other hand, if the content is unchanged, the promises unfulfilled,
then the likelihood of your third visit diminishes. A third visit
to an unchanged site will, almost certainly, be your last.
How often do you need to update the information on your site? It's
a balancing act. You want to spend the minimum amount of time creating
new material. Your clients want to see new articles relevant to
their interests every time they visit. You want them to remember
your site and visit it regularly. They will stop visiting if you
update your site too slowly.
Another little exercise. If you find and bookmark a web site that
covers a subject that you are interested in and which promises regularly
updated content - how long would you wait before visiting for a
second time and how many visits would you make before assuming that
the promise was false and that the site wasn't going to be updated.
Assuming that the site was updated regularly, how often would this
have to happen for you to continue to remember to visit?
All or nothing
If you decide that there are good reasons to attract regular repeat
visits from your existing clients then you need to make a full commitment.
A regular flow of new information is essential to keep them coming
back. There is no point in doing it halfheartedly. Better to create
a very good site designed to only serve the needs of your potential
clients than to promise a site with regular updates to interest
your existing client base and then fail to deliver on your promise.
Lets consider what kind of content you need
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