How to align you, the real person, with your virtual alter-ego
Have you ever connected with a new friend online only to later discover that the online version of that person and the real-world, physical version of that person are, well, two very different people? That can be unnerving.
If you’ve been following the last few articles in this series, you’re now familiar with the digital dialog. Let’s review: the digital dialog is the online version of you that starts conversations, develops relationships, and builds trust so you can sell more printing.
Think about the phrase ‘online version of you’. As we’ve unpacked the digital dialog in this series we’ve put a lot of energy into considering the online part of that phrase. How do you start conversations online? How do you develop relationships and build trust online? And most importantly, how do you sell printing online?
The word ‘online’ shouldn’t get all the attention, though – not by a long shot. There’s another word in that phrase that deserves even more focus: you.
You know the best way to help your customers create an effective printed message.
You know the best file formats to use for preparing production-ready artwork.
You know how to adjust the production schedule to make sure your customers’ deadlines are met.
You know the importance of print. Make sure you show it through both online and in-person conversations. You are the most important component of the digital dialog.
Put on your business hat and think about these questions: Are you the same person online as you are in person? Do your customers get the same consistent experience with you both at your front counter and on your website? If you’re struggling with these questions, the answers are not complicated. All you have to do is allow the in-person version of you to serve as the model for the online version of you.
Be true to yourself: next steps
There’s a quote I refer to often with my team. It’s from the book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal. In it, Eyal paraphrases another author, Denis J. Hauptly. He says this: First, understand the reason people use a product or service. Next, lay out the steps the customer must take to get the job done. Finally, once the series of tasks from intention to outcome is understood, simply start removing steps until you reach the simplest possible process.
The quote above can help guide you through the process of bringing the online version of you into alignment with the in-person version of you. If you know there’s a disconnect between the online version of you and the in-person version, here are some steps to make them come together.
Understand the reason people use a product or service.
Why are your customers visiting your website (the online version of you)? You should come up with a handful of answers:
To place an order
To request an estimate
To find your physical address
To obtain technical information
To obtain marketing tips and inspiration
Take a few minutes to write down five reasons of your own.
Lay out the steps the customer must take to get the job done.
Put yourself in the shoes of your customers so you can see and experience things from their perspective. Now, put a pencil to paper and take the time to lay out the steps for each of the reasons you listed above.
Be warned. You might be surprised by how many steps are actually required to get the job done. You might not like the list you came up with, but your customers are counting on you to do this exercise because the results will greatly improve their interaction with the online version of you.
Once the series of tasks from intention to outcome is understood, simply start removing steps until you reach the simplest possible process.
Here’s the challenging part: What steps can you remove without negatively affecting your customers’ experiences? Can you:
Preload certain information into an order form so your customer doesn’t have to enter it on their own?
Turn your website’s order form into an estimate form automatically when a customer requests options that can’t be priced online?
Reduce the number of clicks required to find your physical address from two to one? Or to zero?
Create a repository of educational printing information on your website?
Reduce the number of steps your customers need to take to access that information down to zero? (Hint: Think about sending these tips to them via email or social media.)
Online or in person, you are the killer app. You are your customers’ link to the power of print. My challenge to you: Be the best person you can be in person, then use the in-person version of you as the model for the online version of you. Your customers will thank you, both online and in-person.