Very often before speaking to someone for the first time I will check out their website, Google their name and look at their LinkedIn profile. In fact, I am not alone in this process, as the Hinge Research Institute found that clients will check out potential suppliers by:
- looking at their website (81%)
- searching online (63%)
- social media (60%)
However, the problem which can often happen within a business is when the LinkedIn profile and website copy are written in isolation. The problem tends to be exacerbated when the website is obviously overdue a radical overhaul. After all, there is no point in updating your website copy when you are going to be redoing the site in the near future. Read on to find out whether you have this problem and how it will be impacting your networking and marketing effectiveness.
What is the problem?
The problem is one of incongruent marketing messages. In the online world, trust is often very low or non-existent. One of the ways to build trust is consistency with the messages you are putting out online and offline. Whether someone hears about you in an real time conversation, or meets you on line, they are initially wanting to know:
- Is this person who they say they are?
- Can I trust them?
- Can they do what they say they do?
Because many people often start with a ‘guilty until proved innocent’ view when meeting people online, any incongruence within your online footprint could be enough to get you passed over. Consequently, when people are checking you out online, they want to see the same or similar type messages from your LinkedIn profile AND your website.
What is the impact of this problem?
As a potential client the mixed messages can leave you very confused. Particularly if when you have met them they have claimed to have a very strong personal brand, which becomes very watered down when they check you out. So, who do they really specialise in working with? Or are they actually generalists trying to claim to be a specialist? With this level of confusion, it is often easier to move on to work with someone else.
How to check whether you have this problem with your LinkedIn profile?
Get someone you trust to take a fresh look at your website. Ask them to tell you what are the core messages that they get from the website, i.e. 1) What do you do? 2) Who do you generally do it with? 3) What are the typical results you help your clients achieve? Now go onto your LinkedIn profile and look at these particular areas of the profile:
- Your professional headline
- The LinkedIn summary (including any embedded media, e.g. photos, white papers etc)
- Recommendations and endorsements
Are the same messages from your website mirrored on your LinkedIn profile? If they are not, then as the immortal line goes, ‘Houston we have a problem’
How to rectify the problem
Depending on the size of your organisation it may be easy or hard to rectify the problem. Let us assume that you are in the position to influence the copy about you on your firm’s website. What you need to do is build yourself your own personal marketing tool-kit. (See chapter 4 of The Go-To Expert to find out exactly what needs to be in the kit) Your personal marketing tool-kit enables you to keep the messages congruent regardless of where someone meets you online or offline. Within your personal marketing tool-kit will be the following building blocks of your LinkedIn profile, short bio, long bio and author credit: Credibility statements: These are sentences which qualify or quantify your credibility and/or expertise. E.g. I have spent the last decade working within the professions. Credibility stories: These are short stories which sometimes are called war stories or sales stories. They typically illustrate how you have helped a client solve their problems. Sound bite: This is a short sentence which describes who you help and the value you help them gain. For example, “I help professional become the Go-To Expert”, whereas Jon helps owners of professional service firms grow their firm from 5 to 50 people. Once you have built these elements, it is time to weave them together to form the basis of your LinkedIn summary. Often an ‘edited highlights’ of your LinkedIn summary will form the bio about you on your website. Your final LinkedIn summary needs to fulfil these criteria:
- be distinct
- be written in the first person
- let your voice and personality shine through
- tailored to the sorts of things your potential clients/employers will want to read to take the next step to call you
After you have written your LinkedIn summary it is time to now tackle the copy on your website to make sure that the messages are congruent! Good luck!