By Mark Kakkuri
In marketing speak, when a potential customer checks out your website before calling, emailing, ordering or visiting, it’s called validation. In other words, they’re looking at your website (i.e., your 24/7 digital marketing presence) to make sure you’re a legit operation, up to date and worthy of their time and money. They likely do this on a mobile device, but may also do this from a laptop or desktop computer. In any case, when someone sees your website, hopefully they’re seeing an updated, responsive, mobile-friendly site with accurate information and easy navigation.
Validation may take 10 seconds or several minutes. It may take one visit or several. Regardless, even if the site has all the right boxes checked for format, accuracy and navigation — resulting in a decent, digital user experience — you can help promote a faster and more effective validation if your website is more personal.
Here are five ways to make your digital marketing presence more personal.
1. Keep the news/blog page up to date.
Wait, your website doesn’t have a news/blog page? If not, how does a visitor new to the site know it’s living and active? Constantly changing the scrolling banners can help, yes. Adding fresh content to the front page can do it, too — sure. Consider the value, however, of a news/blog page where you can post regularly about what’s happening at the company, new products or services and so on.
Post helpful, professional content, of course, but don’t be afraid to make it personal, letting the readers get to know you and the inner workings of your company — and its people — a bit more. Good content for a news/blog page include employee news (like work anniversaries); the company’s 100th, 1,000th or 100,000th sale; a new class; service or community projects where employees “gave back” to their community through a neighborhood project or fundraiser. In short, post news about what the people of the company are doing.
2. Showcase your team on the About Us page.
The About Us page is a popular tab/page on most websites when it’s about people. It’s okay to put the history of the company and a picture of your facility — as long as it is a professional-grade photograph and it makes sense to show these things. Otherwise, stick to publishing info about the people of the company: owners, executives, managers, ROs and other range or sales staff. If you can’t post a picture or brief bio about everybody (some companies do this), then post info on the staff the customers will actually interact with if they do business with the company. Being able to put a human face and name with a company enhances the validation exercise because the company becomes less corporate and more personal.
3. Add photos or videos of staff.
Using the About Us page and the news/blog page, post photos of your staff in action. Have someone with decent photography skills do this or pay a professional photographer if you can. Even better, use the surprisingly good video recording feature of your mobile phone to capture a five- to 30-second video of someone in your company doing their job. They should look pleasant and hardworking; they don’t even have to say anything. Then, string a few of those videos together in a video editing application, add some appropriate music and subtitles and post it on your site. Don’t have the means or wherewithal to take a project like this on? Find a local college student to help. The tools are out there and plentiful, and it’s amazingly easy to put together a quality video.
You can help promote a faster
and more effective validation if
your website is more personal.
Here’s where you take a moment to consider whether any of this is a good idea. Think of virtually every social media platform out there and what you and other people like to view. Videos and photos capture and hold attention. Similarly, the judicious use of these mediums can greatly enhance any company website.
4. Share real email addresses.
Not only do potential customers like to see who your employees are as they go through validation, they want to be able to reach out to them personally. So, publish key staff email addresses. Yes, you can still publish the “firstname.lastname@example.org” and a “email@example.com,” but an email address with a staff member’s name will go further in promoting a personal touch.
For those concerned with receiving unwanted emails, solicitations or spam/scams, give employees two email addresses: one public and one private. Or, use one of the means of ensuring incoming emails are sent by real people and not robots. Your IT provider can help set this up. It’ll take a bit of coaching to make sure employees realize their responsibilities in handling incoming customer emails, but you’ll be offering a more personal touch to digital marketing.
5. Include phone numbers.
Similar to the last point, publishing staff phone numbers will offer those more comfortable with calling on a phone the chance to do so. Granted, providing one phone number on your website certainly has its strengths, some people are averse to calling because they (may) assume their call will go into an automated system or they’ll be on hold for an inordinate amount of time. If a customer knows he or she can reach a specific person at a specific extension, it provides a more personal connection for them.
A Personal Digital Presence It all sounds so personal, doesn’t it? It is, but these steps aren’t unprofessional. In fact, these personal touches are what many potential customers are looking for as they check you (your website) out online. It’s a digital age, for sure — one that makes validation very easy. You can help make it a bit easier by making your digital presence a bit more personal.
How have you made your digital marketing more personal? We’d like to know! firstname.lastname@example.org