As a small business owner you’ve established the need for a live website that displays your need-to-know business information. However in today’s digital age, consumers are looking for more than just basic insight, they want to connect with a brand and give their business to those companies that take the time to make them feel important, special and heard.
Despite your efforts to develop a brand image, some of your lacking initiative may unintentionally be sending the wrong messages to your audience. Read on to discover 4 missteps and misconceptions of a small business’s online image that you’ll be wise to nix and fix.
I’m Not Dependable
Without taking the time to properly address your business’s availability, you give off the unfortunate impression that you’re not dependable. Avoid this by displaying all available hours and multiple forms of contact information throughout your website and online platforms. Ideally you’ll take things a step further and add a “frequently asked questions” page to you website so that you can tend to customers even when you are away.
You might also consider setting up automatic responses to your online contact form (for example: Thank you…we will respond within 24 hours) or automated emails confirming sales receipts and order tracking. The more you can proactively tend to customers’ needs, the more they will be able to rely on and trust in your brand.
Additionally, remember that dependability comes in the form of trust and understanding. Be sure to keep consistent vocabulary, logos and brand colors throughout your overall image. Customers seek a brand that they can get to know and understand- so aim to present your business in a clean and consistent way.
I’m Not Current
Hopefully you’ve already made the digital step to establish a business blog. In addition to sharing your expertise, a blog also provides a non threatening space for potential customers to interact with your brand (ideally without feeling like they’re being persuaded to make a purchase.) However, your blogging efforts won’t mean much if you’re posting outdated and tired material. Position yourself as a thought leader by setting up free Google alerts for industry terms; this way you’ll be able to stay on top of unfolding trends.
You might also consider inviting a fellow industry leader to interview for your blog. Not only will audience members appreciate the change in pace and widened perspective, but your humbled approach will prove to customers that you care more about providing them with interesting, action-oriented advice than pushing a sale and promoting your brand.
I Don’t Care
In a lot of cases your online image is your first impression for potential customers. Broken links and zero interaction on social media platforms will show off a lacking sense of pride, which will translate over to audience members that you don’t care very much about their brand experience.
Up the ante by going the extra mile; consider implementing an “ask us” tab where customers can submit their questions and gain direct, personalized responses. Other simple tweaks like posing questions at the end of each blog post (or within tweets and Facbeook posts) shows that you’re interested to learn what customers think and that you’re hoping to engage in an ongoing conversation that is of interest to them.
I’m Not Personal
Evergreen content is great, but it doesn’t leave a lot of room to build lasting connections with customers. It’s important to let people in through tweets and personal posts.
Be willing to get personal and share your unique perspective and specific experiences. Sharing your own team photos and revealing past lessons learned will not only increase your brand awareness, but it will provide room for organic growth of brand loyalty and personal connections.
What kinds of messages is your online image sending?