One of the fun things about my work is that I get exposure to a lot of different marketing materials from emerging entrepreneurs. Lately, I have seen a few annoying things that really undermine a professional image. If you have committed these sins, please don’t feel judged … just fix them asap.
- Sharing an email address with your spouse. I don’t know about you, but I get very confused when I get a message from "Peggy Sue and Billy Bob Johnson." Which one is sending it? If I am doing business with Peggy Sue, what do I know about Billy Bob? Do both read the email, or do they just have both names on it? What if I have to divulge some information to Peggy Sue that I don’t feel comfortable sharing with Billy Bob? Who is Billy Bob? The part that really drives me crazy is that in this day and age email addresses are free, so it doesn’t take more than 2 seconds to set up your own account. Keep your joint email for personal correspondance and get yourself a dedicated email address for your business.
- Not having complete information on your "Contact Me" page of your website. I get really, really annoyed at contact pages that force me to fill out a form in order to get in touch with you. What if I am a reporter from the Wall Street Journal looking for an expert quote for an article I am on deadline for? What if I want to send you a gift or book or scented candle cause I think you are cool and you don’t have your address listed? I realize that contact forms help with spam filters, but please include complete contact info — phone, fax, email, website, physical address on your contact page. If you are too important to be bothered with pesky people like, I don’t know, potential customers, keep your contact page vague and incomplete.
- Not having your picture anywhere on your website or blog. Mind you, I am not talking about your personal blog where you rant about your lame boss and discuss the exploits of your Chihuahua, I am talking about your business site or blog. I get kind of suspect when someone is not willing to divulge their identity yet desires to do business with me. I love all shapes and sizes of faces, so don’t think you have to be America’s Next Top Model or a Chippendale dancer to show your chops. When I see a picture of you, it breeds familiarity, and that is what you want your potential customers to feel about you.
- Not including an email signature with your contact info. I harassed my friend John the other day (you know who you are!) because he was wanting to get the word out about his blog, but didn’t include the URL at the bottom of every email he sent or responded to. You don’t have to include a huge long list of contact info, but please at least include your phone number and link to your website or blog (which by now is updated with complete contact info). I get so annoyed when I am in a hurry to get things done and I want to call someone who emailed me. Where is the phone number? What if they are not at their desk?
- Not including enough information in the "About Us" page of a website. Maybe this is just me, but I want to read something about the background of the founders of a company, not just what products or services they sell. Often these "About Us" pages are just a sales pitch. I like to see a picture of each of the management team with a personal bio that says where they came from and what they did in their work and life. It can be very whimsical and fun, just make it an interesting story so that I get to know more about the people that work at the company, not just the nameless, faceless brand name.
Alright, tirade over, I just had to get this off my chest before I went into the weekend.
What drives you nuts?