by Kelly Burgos Harper
Kelly Burgos Harper Communications & Vocal Coaching
Did your small business or nonprofit miss the chance to give your communications a spring cleaning? No worries. Fall is a great time to do a little dusting and tidying. It’ll prepare you for the holidays and maybe even set you up to hit the ground running in the new year.
Depending on your type of business or organization, the fall – which runs September 23 through December 22 this year – may be the busiest time of the year. We’ve got big holidays, fall fundraisers, and year-end giving campaigns that bring out the big spender in all of us, but that also require an extraordinary amount of marketing time and energy.
If your marketing efforts work, you’ll stir up lots of traffic to your website, generate an incredible amount of engagement through your social media platforms, and get the phone ringing.
But then what?
What will potential customers or donors see when they start flooding into your website or social media platforms? Will they get the best possible impression of you? Will they find all the information they need to easily make a purchase, a visit, or a donation? If they call, how will they be greeted and routed?
We can't underestimate the power of even our most basic communications, Yet these can be the ones we set up and then forget or push to the side as other tasks rise in priority. Before we know it, they’ve collected a heap of dust. So here we are with our feather dusters, mops, and buckets, ready to go.
There are so many things we could tackle, but let’s just get started with a simple, four-point cleanup plan. For now.
1. Dust off Your Website
If you can’t remember the last time you read through your website copy, it’s probably time for a little look-see. Take a stroll through the pages and see what you think. Could it use refreshing? Does it need a rewrite? Does it need some quick and straightforward updates? Or is it all good?
If you need a rewrite but don’t have time to tackle that now, then start with a little refreshing.
Is there any seasonal or holiday-related messaging you need to add? Is there any outdated information you need to correct? Are there any pesky typos and glaring grammar issues? You know, those are an easy fix with apps like grammarly. If you didn’t know, you do now. You’re welcome.
And those very basic things you’re tempted to skip over? Don’t.
Check your contact info, your hours of operation (especially if your hours change with the seasons or holidays), and your links. Broken links are really disappointing for viewers. Make sure all your links work and that they lead to the right places.
Buttons, Calls-to-action, and Conversions. Oh my!
Let’s revisit those all-important calls to action. Are they clear and strong? Even without rewriting all your web copy, you can add a little spark just by reworking call-to-action copy, particularly on your buttons. How can you make them more action-oriented and direct? Instead of saying, “Click here to save on your next purchase,” what if you tried, “Shop now and save 20%”? What if instead of saying, “Click here to purchase a ticket,” you tried something like, “Reserve my seat”?
Once you refresh the language, let’s not waste those awesome call-to-action buttons by placing them alllllllllll the way down at the bottom of the page where folks have to scroll for days to find them. Put them above the fold. And colorize them for visibility.
There’s no shortage of info out in the world about creating effective call-to-action buttons. Do a little experimenting and see if it helps move the needle for your conversion rates.
And before we switch topics, if you realize that your website needs a total redesign, I know some great folks who can help you with that.
2. Tidy up Your Social Media
Take a stroll through your social pages/accounts and make sure your profiles are up to date. Correct any outdated info and make any seasonal or holiday-specific updates such as hours of operation and office closures. And, of course, if you have fall or holiday offerings, promotions, and events, get ’em up there.
As you’re looking around, if you realize you’re still sportin’ old cover photos and graphics, get your graphic designer on the case. What’s that? You don’t have a designer at your beck and call? Okay, that’s not an impossible situation. Try the Canva app. It's certainly not a substitute for a professional designer, but it is an easy-to-use design app that even non-designers or amateur designers can use to whip up good-looking graphics for a variety of applications.
While thinking about your social media, if you start to get a little nervous about how you’re going to manage regular posting during the busyness of the season, you might want to try a social media scheduling app like Hootsuite. They have free and premium options that are simple to use and will help you stay on top of your social game while saving you time.
3. Perk up Your Pics
From your website to your Google page, revisit your photos to see if they’re communicating the right things about your business. If not, it may be time to call that photographer friend. No budget for pro photography? Click here for ideas and tips.
4. Freshen Up The Forgotten Messaging: Forms & Phone Greetings
Form letters, inquiry forms, and newsletter sign-up forms may all suffer a bit of neglect. But forms need love, too. I’ll bet that if you take even a few minutes to peek at them, you’ll find some quick and simple adjustments you can make to get them current and more effective.
Nonprofit friends: If you’re sending out a seasonal or year-end appeal letter in print or via email, be sure to challenge yourself to refresh and strengthen it rather than simply plugging in new dates to old letters. Need help with your nonprofit messaging? I know a girl.
Now, about those callers. What impression are you making on them? Might as well take a listen to your voicemail greeting and any pre-recorded, automated attendant greetings, options, and prompts. When does “Hello” need to change to “Happy holidays!” or something else? Does any essential information (such as office hours or prompts) need to be updated? Does the system properly route callers?
Have you ever been stuck in an automated phone routing system that gives you incorrect direction or simply doesn't work? Yep. It's pretty frustrating. Don't let it happen to your customers and supporters.
And final question on the phone front...
Do the tone and personality of the recorded voice and script represent the tone and personality of your brand? Or might it be time for a little script update and a fresh recording?
There are probably a hundred other points we could touch on, including your core brand messaging, print collateral, emails, signage, and more. But I promised a “simple” fall cleanup, so we’ll stop here.
Need some help assessing or developing your communications? Let's talk!
Happy cleaning! And may you enjoy a happy and prosperous holiday season!