Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Small Potatoes a Big Deal!

Is it just me, or do a lot of small business people have an email address that does nothing for their personal or corporate brand because it doesn’t identify them. For instance, does nothing for my brand other than to say that I am not professional. Many who use email addresses like this, do so (so they say) for privacy.

I ask you - “What are you afraid of?” Is it fear of being taken seriously? Do you really want to look as though, this business thing of your may not last, so why identify yourself correctly? It can’t be a cost saving measure as email accounts are pretty cheap.

The only rational I can think of for having an email address that is generic is for personal use web browsing. But honestly,
I think you should take every opportunity to push your personal and corporate brand. When ever I see this kind of email address, I immediately question my relationship with this person no matter how small.

What else is the small business owner short-changing themselves on? I was at a business expo a few weeks ago and remarked to an exhibitor that their display had the logo in three separate configurations. The booth back panel had the logo widely kerned (extra spaces between the letters), one on the T-shirts that they were wearing and another completely different looking image on their Power Point presentation. The only explanation given, was that they used three separate suppliers. This firm should have brand image regulations in place to be sure that their brand logo is consistent in every instance.

A pet peeve of mine, is as a viewer of the hit Canadian television show “The Dragon’s Den” and it’s sister show in the States “Shark Tank” - many of the inventers go in front of the camera with no website proudly emblazoned across their chests. Even if they have no hope in hell of getting any of the venture capitalists to invest in them they at the very least get to advertise their brands to a national audience for free. It just irritates me how many miss this simple opportunity.

When you do any Power Point presentations, do you put your logo on every page? You should. Don’t let them forget who is speaking to them.

I believe the little things can sometimes give you the best exposure. One business person asked if I was satisfied that 100% of my html emails are not opened? (my open rate is typically from 13 - 20%) I remarked that I was satisfied if they see my name in the subject line. That gives exposure to my name. That is why my subject line is set up that way. I’m not naive enough to think that
everyone will open my email. But everyone will at least see my name right away - that I can depend on.

Small potatoes? Perhaps, but a big deal in my eyes. Don’t let any opportunity to deliver yourself pass you by - no matter how small.


Brandi Grays said...

In my business I work with a lot of entrepreneurs that haven't quite got on board with technology. I know it seems unbelievable, but a lot of business owners don't have websites, no social media presence, and generic emails.

When I speak to these people it sometimes amazes me at how they are so resistant to making small changes that can have a big impact. I read a post on's blog that reported that 46% of small business owners didn't have websites.

It is all amazing to me. Don't they know that Google is the new Yellow Pages.

Ed Roach said...


I read that article as well. Frankly I found it hard to believe that 46% don't have websites. I would have thought it to be around 20% or so.

It's as though they are afraid of success. Interesting you mention the yellow pages. I haven't been in the yellow pages in years and it hasn't affected me at all.

John Adams said...

Brandi and Ed,

I have been on both sides of this subject and can say from observing fellow entrepreneurs that they likely dont have an online presence because they are too busy to think about it or are so afraid at what the costs may be (especially in my area at least) that they do not want to listen.

I think once they the direct advantages and reasonable costs, they are onboard.

Now on the other side of this (webdesigner/internet marketer) I see a huge problem dealing with these types of businesses as that 46% is likely "opportunistic customers" to me that I will have nothing but trouble. Lesson? Don't try to sell people on the idea. If they are not already spending money on Internet Marketing, you will likely lose money/time trying to convince them.

Ed Roach said...

John don't you find that small business is generally way behind the curve? The interest is there, not the motivation at this time. They certainly are not "early adopters." From my experience there are certainly more followers than leaders.

John Adams said...

Ed, I find that they just don't know what it can actually do. For instance, I am trying to show them how to use their current print ads to drive customers to a squeeze page to build a list and then build the relationship via email until they are a buying customer. This is a VERY hard sell especially in the Essex area. I don't know if the concept of "customer building" instead of one-time ads is to alien to them or if it is the area because many people are doing well with this concept all over US and CAN.

I would actually love to build a brand or "franchise" of local internet marketing but cant seem to see a market for it in essex. I know it would have worked in my previous area of Toronto. Any ideas?

Ed Roach said...


I'm with you guy. Essex County is a strange brew. I find the same reluctance even with tech savy clients. They are often fascinated by the success I've had, promoting myself online. The first thing they typically say after a discussion on the issue is, "that sounds like a lot of effort."

You mention your old markets - why can't you still service that area. The web is awesome for that.

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