Sunday, June 10, 2012

Online Branding Tip: 3 Ways to Confuse a Customer about Who You Are

Since I started studying internet marketing, I started to understand how easy it is for people to see things about me--my online brand.

If you have a business and you want to promote it, you probably want to make sure you understand what people will find when they "Google" your name or company.

Here are 3 ways that you can confuse your potential customer:

1. Have your online profiles be incomplete. Open up a lot of accounts, but don't tell anyone anything about yourself, at least don't tell them anything that will help them understand who you are and what you represent.

Examples of Profiles: Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, YouTube, forums, and many more places.

Many people open profiles to try new things, but many of these people do not ever complete the profiles correctly.  Many people figure that just because THEY will not ever return to the site that nobody else will ever see it, either.  (Bad idea!)

This MIGHT be okay, if these unfinished online profiles show on Page 5 or later in the Google search results for your name (or company name).  However, if there is a good chance that people will see it, there is too great a chance that people will find it--when you don't really want that (odd incomplete profile) representing you.

My Profile Examples:
My profiles are not perfect, but hopefully, they tell the person researching me that I am an internet marketer.  (As I look at this, I realize that I might need to refresh my profile description.)

2. Show yourself as an "expert" in different industries.  You can really confuse people by not telling people that you--the same person--are connected to all of these different industries.  Even if people realize that you have your foot in several different areas, people who are just meeting you (or have not met you, yet) could easily question whether you really are an "expert" in that any one of those particular areas you claim to be--especially if you are claiming to be an "expert" in MANY areas.

You might be great in all of these, but the person who wants a specialist in a particular area SHOULD  see YOU as THAT specialist.  When they can see that you do LOTS of DIFFERENT things, most people will not assume that you are focused--enough--on what they want from you.

Examples: Related Areas:
  • Real Estate Investing and Mortgage
  • Basketball Coach and Personal Trainer
  • Computer Training and Programmer
  • Marketing and Business Consulting
  • Internet Marketing and Website Development
Notice how these things relate.  Most people would not be surprised by someone being an expert at two or more of these area at the same time, because they are closely enough related.  The research and skill development for one often overlaps the other similar areas.

Examples: Unrelated Areas
  • Modelling and Real Estate Investing
  • Basketball Coach and Librarian
  • MS Excel Expert and Press Release Writer
  • Website Developer and Farmer
All of these combinations are possible, but they are not probable.  Most people will find these types of combinations confusing.  They might be right to question your skills in these areas, even if they are wrong with their assessment.

It does not matter.  Many of them will be confused and will not trust (or buy) from you because of their confusion.

If you want to confuse them, be an "expert" in multiple, unrelated areas.

(Maybe an) INTERESTING NOTE: Actually, I am an expert at MS Excel and Press Release Writing; however, I do not market these skills anywhere near each other.  People who know me as an internet marketer have NO idea that I can use Excel like a champ.  Most people who know me as "the Excel guy" know nothing about my marketing skills.  It would just confuse them--most people in BOTH groups would get confused!

3. Make your Call-to-Action unclear--or maybe don't have one at all!  Many people want to be led.  If you asked most people, they would say, "No," but their actions tell us otherwise.

People like to be led by people they feel are more capable of handling something than they are, especially if following that leader makes things easy for them.

You can confuse people by...
  • making a sales pitch but never asking for the sale
  • leading them to a website that does not ask for you to call or leave your contact information
  • having them watch a video that gets them excited but unclear what to do next.
You need a Call-to-Action (CTA).

Examples: Call-to-Action
  • Website
    • Buy Now
    • Click HERE (to move to a different page)
    • Order
    • Leave your Contact Information
    • Call (555) 555-5555
    • Subscribe (Newsletter, YouTube, etc.)
    • Follow Us (on Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
    • Connect (on LinkedIn, ActiveRain, etc.)
    • Like Us
    • Give a Rating/Rate Us
    • Share
    • Vote
  • Sales Pitch
    • Sign Here (Contract or Petition)
    • Take these, and I will call you.
    • Let's meet on Tuesday.
    • How would you like to pay for this?
    • Who else would benefit from this?
    • Can you give us a testimonial?
    • What would it take for you to refer our business?
People aren't confused by these.  They will not always agree and do what you want, but they will not be confused about what you want them to do.

If you want to confuse people, do not make it clear to them what you want.  They will not know what to do next, and that makes most people feel really uncomfortable.  (Usually, that means that they will hit the "Back" button.)

When you have a call to action, people know the next step you want them to take.  Leadership comes more easily for some people than it does others.  So you might not get people to follow you immediately, but once they know you can help them more than they can help themselves, lead them.  Give them a call to action to follow, because they will not know what you want, unless you tell or show them.

If you want to increase your sales and improve your business, make sure you do not confuse people who want to learn more about you.

How do you make it clear to people who you are...and what you represent?  Are you sure you're doing it?

Google your name and company name.  See what the search results show.  You might be surprised!

I need to improve this, too!  It's not just you.

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