The New Year… Time to Revisit and Refresh Your Message?

This is a bit of an extended musing on why the end of the year is so full of potential for businesses to revisit and refresh…

The holidays are abuzz with activity, much of it focused around commercial enterprise while it still is regarded by many as the one time each year they relax their boundaries a bit and reach out to others a bit more… Or, perhaps they contact someone who they feel a connection with from a business or personal contact yet it’s started to fade away a bit. Some might call a little contact under such circumstances as sort of a “ping” or follow-up—a gentle prompt. Regardless, it’s a grand time to reconnect by refreshing and renewing as networking with others is where many of us find satisfaction, knowledge, and sometimes even new business. With that in mind, perhaps the close of the year is a perfect time to take a look at how our businesses communicate… not just the means or media, but the quality of the message. Are the messages getting stale? If you truly do a “challenge review” of your brochures, Web content, prospecting letters, collateral materials, and advertising can you truly say that it would intrigue you if you were your own prospect? We usually remember to put up the lights, take down the lights, send out a greeting card. We sometimes forget to look closely at how our businesses are communicating to our prospects and existing clients and whether it really is in harmony with our business plans (which we should also be revisiting and updating often!).

The Geography Issue—Is it Clear Where You Are?

If your business has a product or service that would appeal to a more-extended area either because you can ship it or deliver it via the Web, are you sure that your materials are written in such a way that they would make sense to someone from outside the area and that you’ve provided enough information for them to contact you if they happen to see it while just visiting the area? This might be as simple as putting the city name in your ads. Even in the burgeoning Boise Metro area, where advertising may cover not only Boise but go to Meridian, Eagle, Kuna, Star, Nampa, Caldwell, Middleton, and beyond—it’s important to not assume that everyone knows where your street is especially if you have a brick-and-mortar storefront they’ll need to visit. Even in an ad just limited to Boise, merely having your street name and address often isn’t enough. Just giving the name of the office or retail complex isn’t enough, such as Black Eagle Center. Most of us are creatures of habit and prowl our own neighborhoods and the pathways we’ve established to go to the places that we already know–yet, as new business develop, often on the outskirts or farther out than the original five-mile or so radius from which many businesses draw, you may need to help your prospective client find you. Have a map on your Website, add information such as “on the northeast corner of XX and XXX.” If you’re going to refer to your location as next to another business, make sure 1) it’s a business that will reflect well on yours and 2) that you get their name right! Sounds simple, but it’s amazing how often it seems one business butchers the name of their neighbor’s business. At the end of the day, it doesn’t end up reflecting well on either of you!

Seek Some Objective Input

If you have a professional associate who does not work with you, consider asking him or her to give you some 100% honest and objective input after looking at your Website or brochures or other materials. It might be a great time to freshen up the message or clarify or even fix typos or inconsistencies and other mechanical issues with the content.


New Year, New Message?

The closing of one year and embarking on another is perhaps a perfect time to reevaluate and revisit with a positive intent for feeling more in alignment with our own messages. Think about the advertising that appeals to you and words that resonate or capture your attention. Consider adding aspects of that to your own materials as appropriate. Hire a professional to help you either write it or at least edit and proof for you letting them know clearly what your intended result is… and perhaps 2008 will bring mo’ betta business and exciting new potential. Happy New Year!

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