Why Your Online Presence Might Be Turning Off Customers (and How To Fix It!)
April 22, 2017
Let's say you walk into a store...let's make it a shoe store. And let's call it Shoes-R-Us. You need to buy a pair of shoes. You're not sure if you'll make a purchase at this particular store, but you stop in to see what they have.
You walk through the door (which is clearly marked by the Shoes-R-Us sign overhead). A store associate might greet you right away, or they may ask if they can help you once you've been there a few minutes. You see nice displays showcasing the latest styles. You might see a few other items besides shoes, like purses or socks or hats.
The aisles are well organized, perhaps by size or by style. The shoes are easy to see, and if you need a different size, it's easy to find. You might notice a banner advertising a sale. Likely the banner has the Shoes-R-Us logo on it, and there might be other signs or posters with the logo as well. The store is well lit, there might be some music playing. The store looks professional, clean, and the salespeople are helpful. If you find a pair of shoes you like, you wouldn't mind spending your money there.
You probably have certain expectations even before visiting the store. You probably expected many of the things described above. Most of us wouldn't go into a shoe store expecting the aisles to be messy, the store to be hard to locate, or the salespeople to be inattentive.
It's 2017, and customers today also have certain expectations when they visit a business's website or social media page. In fact, they might visit Shoe-R-Us's website long before they visit the store in person. Their impression of what they see online will likely impact their decision to visit the store.
Could you be making mistakes with your online presence that are actually costing you money?
You are fantastic at running your business. If you're reading this, I'm sure that you're also conscientious about how your business is perceived online.
So I want to alert you to some common mistakes that businesses make in their online branding and marketing, that could adversely affect your bottom line.
Their Website Is Outdated
Some businesses have a website that's been neglected like an abandoned house. It might have an old version of a logo, links that no longer work, a blog that was last updated 3 years ago, or an About page that doesn't really describe who they are today. Businesses grow and change over time. That's a good thing, but make sure your website grows with you. If customers see an out of date website, they may assume the business has gone OUT of business, or that the business is not very professional. Having an up-to-date website is an absolute must.
Their Website, Photos, Graphics, or Videos Look Amateurish
Would you go into a store if the sign on the door was drawn in crayon? Probably not! That would look a little sketch. Online, customers will make value judgments based on how professional (or unprofessional) your business looks online. Photos, graphics, and videos that look DIY or homemade will make your business look amateur as well.
Their Online Presence Is Inconsistent
Look at major businesses. If you go to Coca-Cola's website, and then their Facebook page, and then their YouTube channel, they will all look like they coordinate. The colors, style, look, and feel will be consistent with Coca-Cola's brand, even while conforming to the various platforms. This is how professionals do it, because they know how much brand recognition means for them in the long run. All you have to do is see a little bit of the cherry red background and white, script font to think of Coke. Does your online presence have this kind of consistency across all your channels?
They Post on Social Media Too Often
Think of your own Facebook preferences. If you get 10 notifications a day from the same page or group, is it annoying? And if you get annoyed, will you turn off notifications for that page? I would. Businesses that post too often might be inadvertently causing customers to tune out. Each social platform has its nuances with posting. For most businesses, posting on Facebook and Instagram once a day is enough to raise brand awareness, without being annoying. On Twitter you can post more often. The Twitter feed is live, meaning that only followers who are online when you post will see what you post, unless they visit your profile. So tweeting a few times a day ensures your tweets will be seen by more people.
Their Posts Have Nothing to Do with Their Business
If businesses post things or blog about things that have nothing to do with their business, they could be confusing potential customers. Keep your online message focused on what would be interesting and relevant for your ideal customer. This doesn't mean that you should be self-promotional all the time either. People will tune out a constant stream of commercials. By the same token, posting political or religious views AS your business can be controversial. There's nothing wrong with speaking your opinion, but keep it classy!
Has you business fallen victim to one of these ills? No one expects you to be an expert at everything. and it's okay to ask for help. Hiring someone to improve or manage your online image is worth the investment.
I offer an Online Review, where I evaluate your website and social mediapages, and make recommendation for what you can improve. I'll also test links, proofread copy, and view your website on multiple devices to ensure it displays properly. It's a comprehensive technical and stylistic review. I'll give you written feedback, as well as an optional phone or Skype call.