Don't hide your people!

Don't hide your people!

Why are you hiding?!

That's what I think when a website invites me to contact "info@abc.com" instead of a named person. Are there real people in there? If so, why are they hiding?

Customers want to do business with people, not with a website. As a potential client, I want to know who you are before I'll do business with you. (So do you - just watch yourself when you are a buyer rather than a seller.)

It doesn't matter much if I'm buying stationery supplies or other commodities, but if I'm buying a service I need to know that I can do business with you, that I can trust you, and that I like your style.

And if I'm buying a creative product I'd like to know something about the creator, their inspiration and creativity. As a customer I want to buy into you, not just your products. (See: What are you selling, really? )

Word of mouth marketing works so well because happy customers tell other people about your personality as well as your competence. But this 'personality' is much harder to get across on a website. Customers need to like you as well as respect you. Presenting your creative enterprise as a professional but faceless corporation to get them to respect you more, has the downside of making it even harder for them to actually like you.

I'm very much in favour of professional presentation, but pretending you are a huge company when you're a small or medium sized enterprise ultimately kids nobody. If they are going to do business with you, they will have to respect and like you for what you actually are. Sooner or later you'll have to 'come out', so why not do it sooner rather than later to save everyone's time? If you think some people won't want to do business with you because of your age, gender, nationality, race, location or personality - you might be right. But by the same token, other customers will love you because of what you really are!

It's worth alienating some people to attract the right kind of customers.

So don't hide your people and the personality of your creative business - show them off!

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David Parrish
25.11.2012