Here is a question for you…how often have you made an unfavourable prejudgement of a person, product or company on face value and then found out that you were wrong once you had a little more info.?

Yeah, me too, it happens all the time. But most of the time a negative prejudgement can be avoided if you convey the right message… quickly!

From the very instant a customer arrives on your site, picks up a piece of your promotional literature or gives you a call, they are gathering information about you and your business. You only have a very short period of time to capture your customers’ attention, approximately a few seconds to put it into figures, and it is how you use these few seconds that can often determine whether your customer will be a ‘sticker’ or a ‘flitter’.

Now it is unrealistic to tackle all your marketing activities at once, so if we break this topic down into the most common avenues used by your customers, it may be easier to assess which areas of your marketing you may need to look at.

Let’s start with the website. Almost 99% of companies have a website nowadays which tends to be their main source of information for customers and clients. Without getting into too much detail as SEO has been somewhat of a favourite topic for us Début girls lately, with the right search words and links etc. you should stand a good chance of ranking in a search engine’s results. So let’s say that the customer has found your site…what next?

  • Is it up to date hence showing you are on the ball or was it last ‘updated’ in 2010 by the addition of a then semi-relative piece of information which is now well past its sell by date therefore giving the impression you cannot be bothered?

  • Does it show you are professional, thorough and take pride in your business by having absolutely no spelling or grammatical errors?

  • Is all the information on your site current and correct, easy to find and in language a customer unfamiliar with your products or company will understand?

  • Is your design clean and uncluttered with an easily navigated layout?

  • Are you displaying accreditations, awards and certifications showing you are reputable and recognised?

  • Do you have testimonials or product reviews which customers can relate to and that will substantiate any claims you make? (Or are you all talk and no substance?)

These are all things that customers will notice and pick up on if something is awry. Being the most common port of call for companies it is absolutely vital that your website reflects your company’s business ethics. Often companies are too ‘close’ to their sites and therefore it is advisable to get an independent review.

So moving onto tangible marketing material, this generally comes in the form of brochures, letters and flyers but can also include business cards and corporate gifts. Remember, your customer is likely to keep these items close at hand and have them at their disposal to show any number of friends and family so they need to give the right impression…

  • Is your material flashy and expensive? A potential customer may see this as you being too expensive and upmarket for them.

  • Is your material cheap, unimaginative and run of the mill? Customers may see this as a reflection of the company, product or service.

  • Gimmicky…yes or no? Gimmicky good (and by this I mean clever) is O.K. as it is likely to become a talking point, Gimmicky bad, A.K.A. something that is utterly useless and unrelated to your company, runs the risk of annoying a customer and painting you as being a joker.

  • How much material do you put out? Too much marketing activity and you may appear desperate, not enough and you can be deemed as complacent, also a customer may think your spend could be used somewhere else…like customer discounts.

  • Is your marketing personal, or are you generalising and potentially alienating customers? Know your audience!

It is all very well having pretty pieces of paper but they need to be functional by encapsulating your message, product or service and ethics in one fell swoop. Tricky I know but entirely achievable with the right help.

Having covered the two most common ways businesses communicate with their customers and therefore the most important I will save the rest until next week (and because I don’t want to provide screeds of info crammed into one blog post)!

Remember, it is not difficult to get the right message across but sometimes outside help is required. Début Marketing has been offering reviews, recommendations and professional advice for many years now. And believe me, some of the things that go unnoticed on sites and in marketing material would shock you.

This is your business at the end of the day so it is worth getting it right.

I’ll see you same time next week for part deux.

How customers perceive you through your marketing

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