Communicate clearly – say what you do

I have been working on an ongoing project to improve the Pixooma CRM database (such as add ‘Industry’ tags) and cleanse the data, which will benefit our own marketing and also to help with searches when a member of my network says “Do you know someone who does…?”.

In doing so it demonstrated a number of interesting points:

  • When checking Linkedin Profiles and websites it became apparent that a substantial number of the companies no longer existed. This is in line with the findings that 6 out of 10 businesses don’t make it to five years of trading, as this article from Business Advice explains
  • Many company websites don’t explain what they do clearly enough. In some cases I had to wade through paragraphs (and sometimes whole pages) of waffle and jargon to find out what service(s) they provided. In some cases the language was so impenetrable I had to make a best guess as I couldn’t be absolutely sure!
  • Some people are still using ‘Coming Soon’ pages which was a surprise to me. A particular one I visited said the new website would launch in ‘June 2017’ – I was visiting it in June 2017 and there was no sign of the ‘New website’ at all.

More than just the branded marketing materials

Although it is vital to have a professionally designed logo and to spend time carefully creating your marketing material to ensure it is professional and consistent, your ‘Brand’ is much more than this. Having webpages that effectively say “We’re not ready yet” doesn’t give out a great message! Websites are fluid entities, the days of ‘build’, ‘launch’ and then ‘leave it’ are over, now you need to constantly provide new, valuable content to keep your audience interested and that means that the site evolves. There’s no need to have a ‘Coming Soon’ or ‘Under Construction’ message – simply use a ‘Development site’ to get it finessed and ready and then switch to it and replace the old site simultaneously, OR if there’s no existing site, create what you can to give yourself a basic presence and then add features, pages and other content as they become available, but don’t have any area that looks like you haven’t bothered yet. And if you must have something that says ‘We’ll be launching in June’ make sure you do launch by that date otherwise that message looks even worse!

Other regular ways to make your company look bad are: when you have an out of office message on your emails that says you’ll be back by a certain date, but that date came and went weeks or months ago; or saying you (or a colleague) will call me back ‘In an hour’, ‘In the afternoon’ or ‘Later today’ and then failing to do so, even when reminded!

We all make mistakes, after all nobody is perfect, but these things harm your brand in the eyes of your customers and prospects. Once off instances that are dealt with quickly and clearly, don’t necessarily do any lasting damage, but persistently poor communication in the form of failing to call people back, having websites with missing or broken content, or marketing materials (including websites) that would fail a plain English test will confuse people and may dissuade them from contacting you (or working with you).

Your homepage is not a novel

In the course of my database research I found lots of examples that confused and confounded me, but one in particular was unbelievable. I won’t name and shame, but the company in question had a homepage which – when I copied it into a Word document to check it – ran to 153 pages and 49,000 words, yes you read that correctly – 49,000 words! That is several times the length of my University dissertation – who is going to sit at a screen and read that?

If you wanted to have a no-obligation chat about your branding and marketing materials, then please contact us, we’d be happy to discuss it with you.

 

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