Over on Duct Tape Marketing, the words of the day are commitment and consistency.
John says "I could cite dozens of examples of small business owners who have shown me that all they have done is put out their story and stuck to it.
It may not be that glamorous but few things build trust like consistency."
This is true for your company's web presence and marketing interactions as well. This gets me to the content in context issue. Many websites make their users search high and low to find related information about a product, service or topic. It's frustrating and doesn't generate the kind of WOW experience that you should be focused on delivering. The thing to remember is that everything about your web presence is branding your company. The hardest thing to do is remain committed to it. But with easy-to-update web sites (and the ability to group related content), keeping your content fresh, and using interactive tools to deliver a great experience, there's no reason why you can't WOW them.
A great example of consistency as expressed through ensuring that your web presence and in-person presence match up can be read here: Introducing the Customer Centric Worldview
On The Brand Builder Blog, Oliver Blanchard says, "Brand = Reputation."
He elaborates about web interactions: "Whether a customer is looking for information about one of your products online or needs to call in, his experience has to be swift, painless, and pleasant. Information on the website(s) and your catalogs has to be easy to find and work with."
Blanchard adds, "...from the moment they access your welcome page to the moment they complete their transaction, they have to be thinking "WOW, I wish every company I deal with were THAT good."
There is also the point made that web content is now seen as mostly advertising copy and not valid information, by many. We've spent so much time the last few years trying to harness the Internet to expand our reach to all potential customers, that we're not focused on building relationships with the customers we do have. With the personalization tools available today and the ease for updating content, there really is no reason not to be working keeping your commitment and consistently promoting your story in fresh ways.
I think one of the keys in building a reputation is to use your web presence as one tool to keep your promises. If a customer makes a request or fills out a feedback form and is auto-emailed a message that says he'll get a response in 4 hours - then you'd better live up to that. If your implied promise is to update your content on a monthly or weekly basis, then you should do that. Being able to schedule content publishing out into the future is a helpful tool that allows you to plan for keeping your promise. If you promise real-time pricing in your quote tool, then it should be there.
These experiences that delight your customers will help them spread WOM - Word of Mouth - referrals about your company. What could be better than a delighted customer telling a peer about the terrific interaction he had with your company? I'd definitely remember it, and I'd probably go look, too. If the subject came up in conversation, I'd probably share the story I'd been told.