It could be your website, or a proposal you submit. It could be your LinkedIn profile, an email, or a press release. It could be your marketing collateral, or a social media post.
Basically, ANYTHING you put out with your name or your company’s name provides the opportunity for one to perceive your brand and decide, even at a very general level, what they think about it. A quick judgment is made. So if there are errors or things are amiss, the viewer might wonder if that company is actually careful. Will ponder if the company pays attention to detail. Will make a decision if the company is truly professional. And your prospects will think about if they really, truly want to do business with you.
With this in mind, realize you need to look carefully at everything with your communications, both the big and the small tactics, and make sure (1) they represent your brand in the way that you want, and (2) they contain no, shall we put it, errors, typos or slip-ups.
Here is an example of a big slip-up. Some years ago in South Bend, IN, it became widely known (thank you, internet!) that these billboards went up touting the local schools: (it’s understandable if you smile at this faux pas):
How did the billboard story above end? People noticed, took pictures, posted them online, the electronic billboard was quickly changed (luckily), and the marketing agency responsible admitted they goofed big time.
But most of the time, the error that is noticed isn’t quite so public (pun intended). The common errors are typically small but noticeable things that will cause someone to do a double take and really consider if they want to move forward and do business with your company.
You can take action today. Here are some top minor – yet important – communication mistakes companies often make. And most of them, as you see, are very easy to correct. But it often takes a set of fresh eye to spot what needs to be improved.
- What is the copyright date at the bottom of your website? If you have one, does it say 2018? If not, it sends the message you might not stay on top of details as needed.
- Is your website mobile responsive and friendly? If not, this signals you do not stay on top of technological developments.
- Does everyone in your company use an email signature line with contact information? You want to make it super easy for people to find you – and bonus points if you make this uniform across your company. Not having this in place can make one wonder about your level of professionalism.
[As an aside, this is one of those details I look for and cringe when I don’t see…. along with business people who use @gmail or @yahoo email accounts.]
- Do you proof everything you send out – and have others do a second pass and proof for you as well? If not, you are rapidly entering the danger zone. Start with good ol’ spell check, then tap into grammarly.com, and also have another human also do a final review. Make sure you don’t subconsciously tell others you don’t take the time to get things done correctly.
While above you see four very common infractions, the list doesn’t stop here. Add in more substantial communication mistakes, such as not having consistent messaging across all your communication channels, or, perhaps even worse, using company messaging that is off-target and doesn’t resonate. While we’re at it we can also throw in the mistake of using incorrect (and ineffective and costly) tactics for your target audience.
As a marketing professional who has worked in the field for a more than two decades, I have seen close to every category of mistake there is to be made. And I have seen the companies who do communications very, very well; this group has a secret weapon.
This latter group brings in an outside expert – one with a fresh set of eyes – to do a communications audit and to review the entire menu of marketing materials. As we know, we all get so close to our jobs and our companies. We get so caught up in the day-to-day that we somehow stop seeing what the outside world sees – which is incredibly dangerous.
So remember that yes, you can do much to improve your communications internally. But think about bringing in someone from the outside and task them with proactively looking for the big AND small areas that need improvement, and to set a process in place to ensure future communications errors are stopped before they reach the pubic eye. [Wait – did you catch that error??!!]
Laurel Cavalluzzo is a Strategic Marketing Specialist at Empirical Consulting Solution and has more than two decades of experience in the world of communications. Want to talk about other communications mistakes? Have a question about the “Fresh Eyes” approach? Laurel is happy to chat and learn more about your particular situation.
Connect with Laurel or any other member of the ECS team at email@example.com or (610) 994-1139.