Web Promotion – Should You Put a Personal Photo and Physical Address on Your Web Site?

I recently received the following question from a fellow marketing consultant over at LinkedIn:

Do you think a small medium business web site should include the physical address and photos of the owner(s)? In other words, should you provide personal touches? Or do people just want professional, quick and valuable service in today’s world without personalization?

To answer this question, I believe you must first recognize what your prospects deal with on a daily basis in terms of promotional messages. Estimates of the number of advertising messages Americans are exposed to on a daily basis range anywhere from several hundred to several thousand depending on the source you read. Consumer Reports magazine estimates we’re hit with 247 commercial messages each day. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists the average American is exposed to about 3,000 advertising messages a day.

With all the web sites and marketing messages we are bombarded with, I believe it takes a more intimate approach to break through the clutter and command attention. A photo is a great start in establishing trust and credibility and can help you develop what’s called marketing intimacy with your prospects.

If you are a web site promoter, it’s too easy to hide behind your domain and email address. A photo associates a real person with the messages in a web site and tells the world that individual is confident about their product or service. This bumps up credibility and trust. To establish even more intimacy, you can add a Flash audio player below your picture and benefit from the synergy of your voice and picture together. For example: “An Important Message From Our President…” audio clip with a nice picture of you in business attire. This can go a long way in establishing marketing intimacy and trust with web site users and prospects. Even in a world of “gimme now” instant gratification, personal touches add value to your business image if not consciously, subconsciously.

So, how else do you personalize your web site and establish marketing intimacy with your prospects?

Well according to marketing guru Alex Mandossian, you engage your prospects and customers on as many sensory levels as possible (audio… visual… tactile) in order to build rapport, trust, credibility and ultimately a positive, lasting business relationship. Mandossian believes the most important principle at work for establishing marketing intimacy is the power of the human voice. I agree.

By using personal photos, audio and video presentations in your web site you are reaching out to your prospects in a way a regular web sites don’t. Let’s face it, text is text. Reading volumes on the Internet can get boring and tiresome fast. Audio and video are an easy and fun to way to consume information. For evidence of this, just consider the wild success of sites like YouTube. The new era of Online marketing spells opportunity for savvy web operators who can provide information, products and services to consumers in the formats they want. This is not only the future of Internet marketing, it’s the now.

Other media and methods you can use to establish marketing intimacy (without physically being there) include interactive web site features like chat and forums, teleseminars, web casts, video conferences and webinars. You can also use social networking sites.

As for physical address, I firmly believe it should be posted on your web site. Again, this goes to trust and credibility. When I can’t find a physical address on a web site that wants to get in my wallet, that concerns me. I immediately feel like the operator wants to hide behind an email address. By including your physical address you help prospects overcome some of the uncertainty about you and what you’re offering.

And, for email marketing you should definitely have your physical address on your site and in emails because it will help reduce potential spam complaints when someone forgets they subscribed to your list. Physical address is a must-have credibility booster. Make sure you include it in your web site.

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