Marketing is hard work. And I believe if you are reading this, you care a great deal about how your customers, clients, and the marketplace feels about you.
Reputation is critical to a successful business, and so is making it easy for people to find you and engage with you. Every marketing strategy is not a home run — and much of what the gurus say “Everyone” should do or use is, sadly, not going to work for everyone.
Here are a few examples of ways we lose business and how to fix them:
- This first example of how to lose business is one you’ve probably been on the receiving end of, and it never ends well.A friend told me of a conversation with a service provider where she wanted what the person offered but the person wasn’t good at describing what she did for people. None the less, since my friend had been referred she persisted, got a bit of clarifying information and then asked the cost.Them: “Oh, I don’t talk about that, I’ll have my customer service person contact you.”
Insert record screech here.
Even if you have a dedicated sales team, if you have a potential customer on the phone you have to be able and willing to talk money. There is only one reason you wouldn’t: they are not a fit or not your ideal client. In that case you don’t make an offer. By asking someone to wait for another call you have broken the tension, urgency and interest. Here’s a sales tip: the further away you get from the initial interest, the less likely you’ll get the sale. (Unless you have a long sales cycle — and some companies do.)
After 48 hours there was no contact from said customer service person. Guess what? No contact, no sale. Lost revenue and bad PR.
This seems like an extreme example, right? It’s not. If you’ve ever promised a proposal, a follow up call, or introduction to someone and dropped the ball or taken a long time to get it done, you put yourself in the position of having the same result.
- There are also small ways we push potential business away. Here is a list of 5 of them. We are easily annoyed and none of us wants to be that person, so check your site for these simple fixes and fix ‘em:
1. We with attention spans like goldfish, (9 seconds or so,) we do not like to be kept waiting. I found these horrifying stats on the Kissmetrics blog: “According tosurveys done by Akamai and Gomez.com, nearly half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less, and they tend to abandon a site that isn’t loaded within 3 seconds. 79% of web shoppers who have trouble with web site performance say they won’t return to the site to buy again and around 44% of them would tell a friend if they had a poor experience shopping online.” More bad PR lurking.
If you aren’t sure why your site is slower than desired, I recommend this Kissmetric blog post.
2. Another annoyance? Poorly thought out popups, extra small close buttons or text at the bottom of an opt-in form that tries to guilt you into taking the bribe. I realize there is data that proves that welcome mats — the kind of pop up that covers what you have navigated to see before you see it — but they can be annoying when all the person wants to do is read your content or see your store before deciding what else they might want. Use with caution or split test with and without one and check your conversions.
Pop-ups done well are useful for increasing conversions to your list but read about best practices and make sure the offer on the pop-up form is pertinent and valuable rather than just “Sign up for my newsletter.” As for the wording under the information form, if I don’t want what you are offering, just say “No Thanks” or “I’ll pass for now” rather than “No, I don’t want to grow my list” or “No thanks, I’ll just keep losing money by banking with the other guy.” No need to insult people.
3. Women may not mind asking for directions, (and we know guys would rather drink pink wine,) but when I land on a website for the first time, if it’s not obvious what you want me to do I’ll leave without doing anything. Have clear copy about who you serve and how, and give me a call to action throughout your site. Make sure your navigation tabs are well thought out.
Here’s a tip: always put your contact tab at the far right hand end of it. Why? People remember, the first thing and the last thing they encounter more than things in the middle. (This is also why you want to start a talk, FB live, webinar etc with a strong hook and end with a strong point.)
4. Contact forms that have no automated response attached lead to concern on the part of the form filler outer; “Did it send? Should I do it again? How come I didn’t get anything back?” are not the kinds of questions your potential customers should have to entertain. I don’t care how good you are in getting back to people, automation is expected — so even if you’ll return a request within an hour, you still want to let people know the request is on its way.
5. Chat apps that pop up and ask if I need help but during off-hours when there is no help and no alternative offered. Chat applications can get costly to include the feature that captures messages and sends you a notification when it’s not manned on your site. But more affordable ones and even a few of the free ones allow you to put a custom message on the chat box to give people another option. No one likes to be left hanging when they’ve got a question.
People want to feel how much you care at every step in the journey. One misstep or bad chat box moment won’t likely ruin a relationship. But with people able to find us from any social channel, referral source, ads, and on and on, you don’t want to blow a first meeting. I like to take this whole thing a step further and ask, how can you Wow people at every step along the way? Your reputation will be rock solid, and people will say “yes” when you show that you care more than the next business owner.