How important is brand image when it comes to customers buying from you?
A few months ago I was out for a walk with my son and we passed a For Sale sign for a property, and the contact details at the bottom of the sign included an email address that was Hotmail (such as firstname.lastname@example.org).
My teenage son called out jokingly “at hotmail, I’m not buying that!’ - which got me thinking about the importance of professional branding (the fact a teenager is suggesting he’s interested in buying a house didn’t bother me, knowing that anything on the market is clearly out of his budget in the short-term!).
For many years, I’ve always argued that businesses serious about growth need to look professional, and seeing signage or wording on vans (such as for electricians or plumbers) that have a gmail or hotmail email included is likely to put doubt in the mind of the buyer. If you don’t know the two electricians, would you rather buy from email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org?*
But I would argue the importance for having a professional brand, right? Afterall, I’m in marketing and brand reputation, and building credibility and trust with customers is something at the front of my mind on a regular basis. But in this scenario, it wasnt me. It was a teenager with little knowledge about marketing concepts and who has no experience of buying high priced items such as cars or a property who clearly pointing out that the lack of professional branding in the contact details could be a reason not to buy.
Potential customers seek credibility
When a potential customer looks to buy from a business, they want you to show credibility that you are a trustworthy brand. If there is any doubt about your credibility then they will look at buying elsewhere, and not from you.
Think of it like a job interview. When recruiting, a business might receive a stack of CVs to find their ideal candidate. They can’t interview everyone and if they all look good then there’s a dilemna, so what to do?
An easier option, which is usually deployed, is to find a reason to discount a candidate with reasons such as ‘there are a couple of spelling mistakes, do we really want that lack of attention to detail in that role?’.
Finding reasons not to hire or interview is as powerful as finding a reason to hire someone, and when it comes to brand reputation the same applies. The copywriter that sends you a badly worded proposal, or the accountant that messes up the figures in their quote they send to you, are sure to reduce the chances of getting the business. Of course there are many other factors that come into the decision making process but building trust and credibility is a major reason for someone to buy.
Attention to detail
Often it doesn’t take much effort to re-check wording on your website or in proposals to make sure that there aren’t any obvious mistakes, and having a professional email address or company logo doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to implement. In fact, the cost of having a registered domain that looks professional should be compared to the cost of losing business from potential customers who decide to go with your competitors!
In the example above, an estate agent makes thousands of pounds on the sale of a single property. The cost of registering a domain and setting up an email address with that new more professional domain can be as little as £20-80 a year (in fact, you can use Zoho mail which is free and the total cost can be even lower).
Is your brand up to scratch?
If you are worried that your brand isn’t providing the professional image that you need to win business then get in touch for a free marketing review. We would be happy to provide you with some top tips and suggestions. Call us today to find out more.
*These email addresses are made up. I also mean no disrepspect to hotmail and gmail accounts. On a personal level, they are great to use.
The opinions in these blog posts are those of marketing expert and book author Darren Hignett.