When you create goals for your business Web site, one of them needs to be to “tell people how to get in touch with us.” It never ceases to amaze me how many Web sites omit this basic information. When you fail to include contact information on your Web site, not only are you leaving prospective customers in the dark, you’re also probably missing out on a tremendous number of public relations and marketing opportunities.
For example, most companies send out media releases when something notable happens. They release a new product, host an event, or offer a new service, so they want the media to tell the world. The hope is that a reporter will write a glowing article and send customers to their doorstep.
For many years, I’ve been writing newsletters and product reviews that rely on press releases for information. Almost invariably, the first thing I do after reading a press release is visit the Web site. The information in the press release is incomplete, so I am forced to surf for answers. When that doesn’t work, I email or call. Sometimes nothing works. So if you want to get mentioned in the press here are a few “inside” tips:
1. Return your phone calls and e-mails. If you want to reach the press, you have to let them reach you. (In my experience, giant companies with the largest PR staffs are the least responsive.)
2. Put your Web site address, contact information, and prices in the press release. Most magazines that do product reviews put the company name, address, phone, web site and pricing info at the end of the article. Don’t make a writer spend ages trying to figure out how much your widget costs.
3. In your press release, use real words, not vague generalities or industry buzzwords. If you sell software, actually SAY it is software somewhere. A “solution” could be a lot of things. Maybe hardware, maybe software, maybe a garage door opener. You need to be as clear as possible about the basics.
4. Use a spell checker. A grammar checker would be nice too. Unintelligible press releases aren’t picked up, no matter how wonderful the product.
A bad situation is made worse when a company Web site is also incomplete. Every business Web site should include phone, mailing address, and an email address or contact form. This contact information should be linked from the Home page or available on every page, such as in a footer. Don’t make your contact information impossible to find.
Putting all your press releases online also makes it easy for writers to see what you’ve done in the past so they can get a better perspective on your company. If your product is interesting, bloggers and others might link to your press releases as well.
The bottom line is that if you own a business and want to be noticed, your Web site absolutely must make it easy for people to get in touch with you.