So at a recent conference I was talking about creating content for your business that educates, and I was stressing the importance, for small business, of making sure that some of that educational content was about you – the people in your company, the executives, the personalities that make you who you are. And how it is so important today to NOT have your website be faceless – that this “personal, personnel” information should be up there front and center.
When I looked down at the front row, there was a gentleman, one of the business owners, in the front row holding his head in his hands. So I stopped and commented to him – “Am I distressing you that much?” He just looked up and me and said “What you are telling me is that I am doing everything wrong” He went on to say that he had tried very hard to depersonalize the company – to make it look bigger, to not be about a few key people.
We continued our conversation afterwards, and the point I made to him is that as a consumer and as a business owner, I get to deal with faceless companies all the time. The utilities, the telcos, the insurance company (not the agent), they are all anonymous companies I have to work with because there are no local, personal ones. But when I get to have a choice, I want to pick a vendor that I can have a personal relationship with – a connection to. And a lot of businesses and consumers I talk with feel the same way.
Since your company website is often the first point of interaction with a prospective customers, you’ve got to personalize. Yes, tell them about all the great things you do for your customers and let you customers tell great stories about you. But you also should take that opportunity to tell who you are. For many companies, the “About Us” or Bio’s page is the 2nd or 3rd most clicked on page (have you checked your web stats lately?). Is what you have on that page telling your story in a compelling and interesting way – or does it just reinforce the facelessness, the sameness, of all your competitors?
Yes, putting yourself out there – your name, your contact info – will increase your spam level and it will increase the cold calls from sales people who see it as invitation to call you by name, but putting yourself out there also makes you a real company and a real person, not just a collection of words and services.
If you have a story to tell about results you have seen when going from faceless to face in front, I’d love to hear it – leave me a comment or thought.