Whether you are a tech-head or a technophobe, it’s time to tap into technology to boost your brand.
No matter whether you are a tech head or a technophobe it’s time to tap into technology to boost your image and brand. Whether you like it or not how you use technology says heaps about your business. Just like the way you dress and the car you drive, technology sends a subtle message about where you sit in the marketplace. Over the years I have found that as a business consultant my clients expect me to be ahead of the pack, not just with marketing stuff but in everything I do.
A few years back I started emailing invoices to clients and soon had an inbox full of replies from clients asking me how I did it! Interestingly, the novelty factor was so high that clients opened their invoice email and then, went straight to their banking site and paid by direct deposit …
How good is that for cash flow! Around the same time I discovered a great site called sendomatic.com which sends out animated invitations. I hold an annual Christmas Party for clients and contacts so that year instead of the hand printed, handmade invite that used to take days to prepare I emailed a personalised sendomatic. The response was great and the cost of invitations went from $200 to $25. Think about what technology says about you and your business. If you are one of those people who boast that you barely know how to turn the computer on, think again.
The message to your clients is probably that you are a stick in the mud, old fashioned and out of touch. No matter how old you are it’s never too late to learn. Sign up for an evening course, join a college or there is a great site called http://www.lynda.com which has great on line learning tools. In fact, check it out it’s a great example of a traditional publishing business embracing technology. If you have a database make sure it is electronic, emails offer cheaper, more effective and message delivery can be timed accurately for maximum impact. Snail mail can mean your message doesn’t even make it past the bin outside the post office.
The only exception to this is if you have a target market that doesn’t use computers. If you are sending marketing emails understand the basic rules. On an email BCC stands for Blind carbon copy. If you don’t know how to use it you can distribute your entire mailing list to all and sundry. Definitely not a cool thing to do and totally against the spirit of privacy legislation. Same goes for unsolicited email campaigns, they are no longer acceptable and show potential clients that you have little respect for them or their time. And while I am on my technology hobby horse.
What about your phones? If you are using answering machines with the standard “Sorry I am not available” message don’t be surprised if potential clients don’t leave messages and move on to the next supplier on their list. In this day and age we are into instant gratification. If I call you I want to know where you are and when you will be back. Bite the bullet and pay for a call diversion to your mobile phone. Then get really innovative and record a message that says where you are and when you will be available. Go crazy and change that message several times a day. Clients and potential clients will feel like you are always available. If you need a more professional first impression, sign up at a virtual office for professional phone answering. There are lots of these operations around who take your call and SMS you a message so your clients think you have a receptionist or PA.
Mind you, if you use this type of service you must keep them informed. Send them an email or text every day with you schedule so they can help you maintain a professional image. And while you are at it review your software. If it is more than four years old it could be slowing you down and affecting your interaction with clients and suppliers. Content management software for updating your website, acrobat reader and writer should be compatible with the latest versions; customer relationship marketing packages have improved by leaps and bounds and now have facilities for direct dialling clients. Don’t be stingy when it comes to upgrading software a few hundred dollars spent here can have a major impact on your bottom line.Tap into technology and watch your business image and profit grow!