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3 Critical Brand Communications

(updated 2020)

Studies vary, but in 2020 it's estimated that 80% - 90% of consumers research products online prior to purchase, and 65% - 75% actually make their purchases online.  Consumers spend approximately 30 seconds scanning your landing page to determine if it meets their need.  So, the time you have to clearly communicate your brand's intent to potential customers is extremely short. I can attest to the time limit; as an individual with a relatively short attention span, I confess that for personal purchases, in particular, I want to know the facts quickly and succinctly.  During a recent disappointing search, with my feet firmly planted in the shoes of the consumer, I wondered unexpectedly, "if this is how you feel, imagine what your customers may think." Right?! So, I took some notes on what I hated the most about the whole research-to-purchase process, and worked to streamline my own communications to meet and then exceed expectations:

Details Matter
Make your product or service mix readily discernible in your site’s meta description; SEO saves a lot of time as consumers browse. The sites where the description immediately matched my search are my favorites – these are the ones I click the little star and add to my bookmarks for future reference. As for those that don’t seem to match my search at all - I’ll simply say that it’s really disappointing as a consumer. (1) But, it's even worse for the site owner, because I bounce.  And, if a lot of consumers bounce, it's going to drive up the bounce rate, and lower the search engine ranking. 

Embracing differences can help you learn more about the public’s perception of your brand, and enable you to capitalize on “not-previously-identified” strengths and opportunities. Fine Tuning Your Brand

Anticipate Obstacles
Consumers have lots of questions. They need to know how your product or service satisfies their needs. And then they will have a plethora of logistical questions: Can I pick it up on the way home, or order online only? Are expedited delivery options available? Are there incentives for waiting? What payment options are available? What if I encounter an unexpected issue with the product or service, what do I do then? (2) Sometimes consumer frustration, is a function of too much consumer choice, and sometimes it is simply a function of not enough information. You can reduce this frustration, put the consumer at ease, and remove some obstacles to decision-making by anticipating potential questions and providing FAQs and a reliable method of contacting you, should they encounter an issue. Otherwise, you are simply offering them torture, which they'll likely bypass for a more customer friendly option.

Embrace Constructive Criticism
As I peruse the internet and discover these many annoyances, they are not lost on me as a business person. My consumerism is perhaps my greatest critic, spurring me to correct the errors of my own sites. If you can handle it, constructive criticism is a blessing, saving you time and money, in the long-run. Anything that helps to reduce cost and increase brand loyalty, will also bring about increased ROI.

(1) I rarely click the “block from future searches” link, because I may need that link at some future point; however, the existence of this google search option should give pause to site owners.

This text was removed because it's no longer accurate.  But, wow! We used to have the ability to block a link from appearing in our internet search. 

(2) Online marketing is a new social norm; so as we all rush to meet that "norm" I am finding more and more “informal” sites that do not provide clear site navigation instructions. 

This text was removed because online marketing is a not-so-new norm, now...time flies.