Many entrepreneurs are so close to their own companies that it’s hard to perceive them through customers’ eyes. Two cases in point that I’ve encountered this week:
What are they selling? One company complained to me that their print advertising had completely tanked this past year. When I looked at their ads, it wasn’t surprising. Their most recent ad gave no clue to what they sell. Other benefits were clear: low minimums, fast shipment, wide selection. There was a photograph, but it didn’t clarify anything. My guess is that, because the company has been in business for 73 years, they assume that everyone already knows what they do. Big mistake!
Repeat the important things. Another company published a scaled-down version of their catalog, intending it as a web traffic driver. The new catalog mentioned the fact that it represented only a tiny sampling of the full product line just twice. The first mention was a sentence on the cover, easily overshadowed by other visual elements. The second was a three-sentence paragraph on the inside front cover, which blended in with the other elements on the page.
Guess what – people don’t read catalogs cover to cover. If there’s a point you want to be sure they don’t miss, you need to give it a prominent graphic treatment and repeat it over and over again.
It’s all too easy to become so close to your own advertising materials that you neglect to keep repeating what customers need to know because it’s obvious to you. Soliciting feedback on your marketing materials from those outside your company can go a long ways towards preventing such pitfalls.