Day 94 of #100daysmarketingcreatives - Who Are You? Do You Have A Name? - The importance of personalisation online
Do you write your website, Etsy shop, brouchures etc in the 1st person or 3rd person? How easy is it to find your name on your website and in your social media profiles? Is it easy to find a photo and a little bit of background information about you?
Every time somebody new likes one of my posts, comments on one or follows me I make a point of a personal direct message (DM) to them to thank them. Some get ignored not because people are being rude but more likely because they simply don't have time to respond, however, those that do send some lovely responses. They are grateful to receive my messages and it is often the beginning of a relationship with them that will build over time. They often tell me how nobody else does this and how personal it is and how they appreciate the touch. Its manageable for me at this time with a small following but as my number of followers increases in the future I am not sure how long I will be able to keep it up. I will try to respond to comments and welcome new followers as long as I can but DMs to new likes that might not follow me if I hadn't reached out to them might have a shorter life but is an important part of my growth strategy at this point.
So what has that got to do with personalising your own online presence? Well its because one of the fundamental elements of your online marketing strategy should be about developing relationships. Developing relationships helps to build trust which ultimately leads to sales and other opportunities. The more personal you are in your online presence the easier it makes it for people to approach you, want to build a relationship with you, trust you and ultimately buy from you.
When I am replying to people who engage with me on social media the first thing I do is visit their profile where hopefully I will find a little more about them and particularly their first name which I will then include in my personalised DM to them. Unfortunately, however, so many people do not include such a basic element as their name. This is essential not only for this purpose when people want to talk to you but also when people are searching for you. Sometimes I cannot locate a name and there is no website or external link so I have to send a generic message which isn't ideal. Sometimes I find a link to a website or Etsy shop where I have to do a lot of digging to find a name but other times I cannot find a name anywhere which will really work against that person. I think many don't even realise that EU law insists that for distance selling within the EU you need to make your name, business address and more available to customers.
Sometimes I do find a name on a website but the website is completely written in the 3rd person - 'Paul Herschell is best known for this and Paul Herschell is best know for that etc'. Who are you kidding here? Everybody knows that the website belongs to the business owner and run by a single person and that person is likely the person that has written that text!
In my earlier life I developed computer software and competed against many businesses that had many employees. As a one man band I was at a big disadvantage. My software was on a par (or better many said) than some of the bigger competitors but given a choice between a small to medium sized company and an individual I would often get discarded before my software was given a chance. To help overcome that I wrote my website in the 3rd person. I was still very clear about the number of employees (i.e. 1) once my product had been reviewed and before any money changed hands but writing my website in the 3rd person at that time gave me an edge to compete on a leveller playing field.
Times have changed considerably since then, however, particularly because of a huge shift in technology. Technology has enabled independent businesses to compete more easily with more established business. Mobile phones, email and social media mean we can always be in touch wherever we are. Websites, selling platforms and social media mean that we can make direct contact and sell to customers all over the world easily and cost effectively.
It isn't the disadvantage it once was to be an independent in fact it is an advantage that many of us fail to recognise and celebrate. Customers don't talk to a sales person to be told one thing to then discover something else from the product team. We don't have to have a board meeting and take weeks or months to make decisions on things. We don't have to consult the whole team to review something. As an independent we wear all the hats, we know our products inside out. We can make decisions quickly and ultimately the buck lies with us meaning we often go all out to ensure a high quality product and customer satisfaction and we deliver that at a lower cost due to lower overheads.
We need to celebrate this. We need to write our website, social media profiles, newsletters, brochures etc all in the 1st person not the 3rd person. We need to make it easy to put a name to the product and brand. We need to show photos of ourselves (I know I find that one difficult too but its essential) so that people can put a face to the name and begin to recognise and trust us as we build a relationship with them.
So go on check your copy now. Change all the 'we's to 'I's. Use your name in all the relevant places where people might look for it - 'About' pages, 'Contact' pages, website footers, social media profiles etc. Make sure your website has an 'About Me' page that includes a nice smiley warm photo of you and a little bit of background about you. Keep it informal not formal. Throw in some interesting facts and maybe some humour here and there and make it feel warm and welcoming to new customers.
Are you already doing this? How else do you celebrate the advantages of being an independent? Why not introduce yourself here in a comment rather than hide from view?
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