Thursday, December 06, 2007

Are you in business, or playing at it?

I remember, from years ago, reading some good business advice which said if you are starting your own business, try to look like the big guys. If you think about it, this is excellent advice! The major yarn companies build brand awareness through the naming of their company, repetition of their logo, naming of their website, Internet moniker, yarns, etc. Everything ties together so that when the customer thinks of the company, one or all of these interlinked ideas or images comes to mind, making their yarn easy to find and to buy.

In my own business I try to follow this advice, and I wish that more of my customers would follow it, too. In previous posts, I have tried to gently suggest that customers simplify the number of different names they go by. For instance, when we set up an eMail account, we choose the name that will be seen by the recipient of our eMails. Signatures are another opportunity to reinforce your name/company/yarn names in the customer's mind. These two pieces of information should form a cohesive idea in your customer's mind, not confuse her/him.

Many of my customers maintain a separate eMail address for their PayPal account. Here is another opportunity to put all of this info into one neat package. BUT what I usually see is a separate name for PayPal email, personal email, signature, and even company name. Four different names for one person or customer. If I have to search through the history of eMails to find out who is writing, time is lost and the experience is frustrating. I always feel like the customer with so many cutsey names/eMail addresses/automatic signatures is just playing at having a business; they are not a serious contender. I am sure it will come as a surprise to some, but everyone does not think a business name/eMail/Internet moniker/alternate eMail address is as clever or as imaginative as you may have intended.

So! Advice to work-at-home-moms who are trying to sell handdyed yarns on the Internet: make all your names and addresses have a logical connection. If you stop and think about how the major companies handle these sorts of business issues -- the very basics of how their customers will communicate with them -- then you'll see excellent examples of business communication in action. Do business; don't play at it. You'll actually sell more when you begin to think of your internet sales as a viable business and give it the respectful consideration it deserves. Good luck!


RoxanneZYG said...

Wow this post. I struggle sometimes trying to keep everything together with reorganizing layouts of websites, etc. but I feel it's important too. People shouldn't have to over-click to find me :)

Dave Daniels of Cabin Cove said...

Thanks for that, Sheila. Sometimes it's easy to overlook the "obvious".