When it comes to business, being “yourself” can be intimidating. Putting yourself out there can feel like a vulnerable move – and it is. But doing so gives your business an extra dimension that your competitors likely don’t have.
With a sea of options for customers to choose from, it is essential to stand out from the white noise that floods your industry. Whether it is addressing the boring, overly corporate lingo, cheesy stock image of what seems like the same guy on every website, or the cookie-cutter about us page that highlights an award your business won 4 years ago, implementing some (or all) of these are a good way to instantly add more personality to your website.
First off, why does my website need more personality?
Imagine yourself at an industry networking event. You find yourself talking to the same John or Jane Smith from company to company over and over again. They hand you their plain white business cards, logos oddly similar with very little variation, and feed you the same monotoned spiel riddled with buzzwords and things they think you want to hear.
As the night winds down, you meet someone who, rather than starting the conversation off with who they are and how great their company is, does something a little bit different. They ask you what your favorite joke is and in return, they tell you a few of theirs. The exchange lasts less than 30 seconds (assuming you know how to tell a good joke), and you’re still able to talk shop and exchange information. When they hand you their business card, it boasts a coat of color and a memorable logo. On the front of their business card, it was their logo, name, and contact information. On the back, there was a printed joke meant to be an ice breaker for future events.
This is a true story
This actually happened to me at a networking event. Unfortunately, this person wasn’t in the line of work that I was able to work with, but I ended up referring him to multiple people that were in the market for his services. The best part? I met 2 or 3 other people in his industry that same night and had their business cards as well.
What did he gain from being himself?
Outside of the referrals that I sent his way that hopefully led to more business, he was able to set himself aside from the white noise of the typical networking events that many are used to. On top of that, he added value on the flip-side of his business card by giving away an ice breaker joke to use at future super-stuffy networking events. He offered the same service, at the same cost, with the same level of support and professionalism as the others there, yet the experience with him was more memorable. He was a lighthearted business owner and he injected his personality into his brand. By resisting the urge to conform with the tone of voice and simplistic branding of “industry standards” around him, he was able to extend himself into his brand, making it a memorable experience for people that encountered it.
Emotions are a huge part of a customer’s journey, and when it comes down to decide which business they will go with, it plays a huge factor. Companies that come off the same get perceived the same. When customers are met with multiple companies that seem the same, then the only real differentiator is the price. This creates a race to the bottom to see which company is the most affordable.
If you are a company that cares about the quality of the products/services and support that you offer and don’t feel that it is necessary to reduce the cost of what you’re selling, it may be time to evaluate the way you are perceived by your customers.
Here are 5 ways to immediately add personality to your website.
1. Website copy
Your website is the perfect place to start adding personality to your brand. The current state of the internet and how we consume our content daily has been modified from what it used to be 10-20 years ago. Instead of long-form content like newspapers and magazines, a large part of our population is getting their information from 1-2 line headers and a sentence or 2 from timelines or newsfeeds. This has led to long-form content being broken up into more informal, bite-sized pieces that readers can take away in a jiffy.
We also tend to use websites like storefronts when looking to buy something. We enter the website and browse around as we would at a brick and mortar store and see if there is anything that intrigues us enough to buy. Getting creative with the way you talk to your audience while in your store can be a great way to set yourself aside and make the experience more memorable.
Tips on adding personality to your website copy
Try recording a call to see what your tone of voice is like with the people that interact with you over the phone? If you cannot record your call or are having an in-person interaction, focus on the way you are speaking to these people. Is it more playful and informal? Stern and serious? To convert a sale, a lot of your customers may go from website to phone call or vice versa. Making sure the experience around the 2 are synced is essential towards building a great customer journey!
Your website should load all of your colors, images, and content at the same time. If not, you should consider optimizing your website speed, but even with slower speed times, the majority of website visitors will tend to take in the visuals of a website before they begin reading.
This is a good thing to consider when it comes to the design of your website. Alluring a website visitor with visuals is a great way to get them to stay the .5 second or more later that they may need to start reading the words on the page. Now, I am not telling you to ask your web designer to make your logo flash in and out like a strobe light, and display 30 glowing rainbows on your homepage just to grab someone’s attention. This should go without saying, but I think this is a good time to reiterate this here.
As with all things in marketing, it is important to be tasteful and guide your visitors around your website with a purpose. Using the storefront analogy above, if you walked into 5 storefronts and they were all laid out in the same grid-like fashion, the experience of some may be lost on you. The second you walk into a store selling the same things that are laid out differently, but just as tasteful, it makes the experience more memorable.
Tips on adding personality to your website design
Proper use of white space is always a great way to visually break up parts of a website design. Just because it’s referred to as white space, doesn’t mean it always needs to be “white”. Take a look at your logo, some of your other marketing collateral, or your physical store (if you have one). Is there a color that drives your branding that you can use more on your website?
What about specific elements in your logo outside of color and words. Are there symbols like arrows, hearts, mountains? Incorporating those elements into your web design help to enforce some of those branding elements more as users browse your website!
3. About page
We’ve all seen them. The “about us” page with the impromptu headshots that were taken with your webcam or one of you and your spouse that is cropped to just show you because it was the only time you dressed formally in the last 10 years.
When users visit your about page, they want to know who you (or your company) are. If there is any commonsensical place to be yourself most, it is here. Yes, it is important to show any accolades won and anything else the reinforces how great you are as a company – but sometimes there can be more to be desired.
My favorite testimonials when I started my agency were the ones that said “I enjoyed working with Big Red Design Company because…”. It wasn’t until I started getting testimonials that mentioned “Mike” rather than my business name that made me change my mind. Of course, I still really enjoy getting ANY testimonial that tells a genuine experience working with me or my business, but the ones that address me personally let me know that it was a more intimate and personal experience for them.
Tips on adding personality to your about us page
As if this blog post wasn’t enough of a spotlight on this issue – BE YOURSELF. Of course, this applies to companies as well. Be who you all are as a group when you are in the office talking about work. Carry that atmosphere into your about us page and give users a little bit of insight into who and your office actually are. Share memorable stories between staff members, and get creative with headshots. Create fun, engaging videos showing who you are in your office to give your audience a better idea of who they are actually working with!
4. Customer support
“I loved waiting in line or on the phone for 30 minutes to have my problem be assessed. It was great!”
Customer support isn’t fun for anyone. In a perfect world, everything would work, fit, function great and nobody would have any issues. But we know the world isn’t perfect. Customer support is an essential touchpoint you have with a customer in their journey and one that you CANNOT afford to get wrong. Keep in mind, typical customer support situations are ones where you are dealing with people that have already given their hard-earned money and trust to you to provide a solution for them. Their journey does not end there and you need to capitalize on the moments like these where you can really shine and keep them loyal to your brand. Some business owners don’t account for dealing with support when they are selling a product or service and often come overworked when needing to deal with it. This leads them to be shorter in conversations and treating them more like a number in a line, rather than a customer or potential customer.
Because support issues tend to be technical in nature, a lot of companies either outsource it or give it to that really smart and introverted technical person in the office. You want to make sure the person greeting those needing help has a warm and welcoming presence to them and can apply empathy to their needs.
Tips on adding personality to your customer support
These requests are likely already people who have paid for your product or service and instilled trust in your business. You owe it to them to empathize with their situation and come off as understanding, rather than combative and dismissive.
We all know customer support isn’t glamorous. If your company has a lighthearted approach, why not point out the obvious? Maybe lead your customer support page or emails around the idea of how annoying it can be. It’s a brash, yet honest approach that users can level with at the very least!
Rounding the list off is Marketing which is essentially a round-up of most of these points, but important enough to address it all again. Do you feel like your marketing as a whole is a good portrayal of your business and workplace? Is the atmosphere of your day to day injected into your website, marketing collateral and emails?
I’ve been guilty of what I like to call “email voice”. It is the voice that I wrote emails in that often tried very hard to come off as overly professional and someone who read the dictionary daily. I realized when I read those emails back to myself a few days later that there was a huge difference between the words I use in emails, and the ones I use when dealing directly with people in person or over the phone.
It made its way into a lot of my marketing emails as well. I would send out email blasts with my “email voice” on and wasn’t getting the level of engagement that I had hoped. I spoke to a few marketing mentors who advised me to use a voice to text platform like Siri on my phone or computer to write out an email, and refine it with the keyboard as necessary after the fact. The emails were just so much more lighthearted and open to conversation with those receiving them, which made engagement higher.
Tips on adding personality to your customer support
Assess your current marketing offerings as a whole. Do your social media ads sound like your website? Does your website sound like your brochure? Does your brochure sound like you do on the phone? Keeping all of that in sync is a great way to successfully inject yourself and your company’s personality into your website and brand!
:: Personality has entered the chat ::
When you carry personality into your brand, it leaves a humanizing and personal experience with the people that interact with it. Creating a website and digital marketing strategy that speaks with potential customers rather than speaking to them allows them to feel more comfortable interacting and engaging with your business.
So go ahead and be yourself. If you work alone, start letting a little more of your personality seep into your brand. A team of people? Extend the vibe of your team into your office, customer encounters, and marketing collateral. You will see that you’ll start to attract the customers that match the level of energy you put out, making interactions and relationships so much easier to build.