Most cold email senders craft their campaigns with a view to acquiring new business relations. They commit all their efforts to planning a new cold email campaign. They spend a long time on precise targeting, perfecting their email copy and taking care of impeccable deliverability.
In the end, they do indeed achieve a very high open rate of their email campaign, one that would amaze even a well-seasoned cold email sender. Yet the reply rate to their campaigns is very poor. How is that possible?
They might have created a top-notch email sequence, directed at carefully chosen prospects. But when a prospect opened the email, she decided to google email sender’s company. She didn’t find much information about it, or worse, she found bits and pieces of information that didn’t make the sender trustworthy enough to make her reply. All in all, what she saw stopped her from replying, and in consequence, the outreach was in vain.
Because of that, it’s important to audit everything our company does online before we hop on cold emailing. And that includes analyzing our websites, blogs, social media profiles, various fora and review sites.
How to Audit Your Brand Online Presence?
There are a couple of areas that influence how others perceive us online. Let’s examine them.
Improving the website
A website, nowadays, functions as a digital business card. It features basic information about the company and what it does. A website explains what the company is about, where it’s based, who works there, etc. It also contains contact information for anyone who’d like to get in touch.
A web page fulfills a couple of functions. It positions us on the market, indicates what our target group is, but most importantly, it’s a way for a company to introduce itself to potential customers.
Visitors who enter the website expect to learn something about the company. They form their opinion about the company based on the quality of the website. That’s why it’s important for us to make a company page as professional as possible.
We, as website owners, are responsible for our website look and feel. No matter whether we use a common website template or we had it custom made, nothing defines our brand as much as our website, because we’re in charge what’s on it.
It doesn’t mean you need a state of the art website to entice customers. No worries. If you’re on the shoestring budget or just starting your business, you don’t need to spend loads of money. All you need to do is to make sure that it’s easy to navigate, fast to load and responsive.
A. Easy to navigate
A professional website should be pretty intuitive. Visitors shouldn’t wreck their brains over where to click. When they hover over the button, they should waste no time wondering what that button means and whether it’s clickable or not.
To make a website easy to navigate, stick to website design conventions that are widely recognizable. To learn about them, I’d recommend you two sources. The first one is Steve Krug’s “Don’t make me think”. It’s a quick and easy read that will help you assess whether your website is easy to navigate.
The second source that helps you measure your website navigation is Nielsen Norman Group. I’d urge you to read Jakob Nielsen’s usability heuristics. They are available here:
B. Fast to load
Visitors are very impatient and abandon pages that don’t load quickly. Slow websites seem unprofessional. Additionally, websites’ speed influences on which position your website rank on Google: the slower the website the lower its positioning is.
Many people read their email on mobiles. What follows is that they may check out the addressee and their business website on mobile, too. That’s why, when doing a brand audit, it’s essential to check whether your site is responsive, that is it responds to any device that is being used.
If that doesn’t convince you to make your website responsive, know that Google is preparing a ‘Mobile-first’ index, in short, a webpage will receive a lower ranking unless it renders well on mobiles. Here’s a web app that tells you whether your website is responsive >>
D. Some additional tips
- take care of your domain name;
- make sure social media icons on your site direct visitors to your social media profiles, not the profile of a web designer;
- put your contact information on the site. It will make you more authentic and trustworthy;
- make an “About” page that shows your team members and what they’re doing at your company. Post a photo and contact information of the person who sent the cold email;
- use simple words, avoid jargon;
- describe what your company does and who’s your customer;
- make sure the pictures scale well.
Analyzing the blog
When email addressees google your business, in addition to skimming through your website, they look through your blog entries. And they measure their quality. That’s why we need to take care of our blog posts as well. A professional blog, to my mind, is the one that it is consistently updated, for instance, once a week.
Some people prepare a few blog posts with the intention of positioning well in Google. Then, they don’t write a single word ever again. Nonetheless, an old article overstuffed with keywords will put you in a bad light. The reader will sense it’s fake.
We can use blogs to showcase our expertise which will immediately position us as experts in our field. Or use a Gary Vaynerchuk’s approach and document our company life, daily struggles, and accomplishments. It will showcase our brand personality and evoke sympathy in the reader. Read what Gary means by documenting here>>
There’s no need to upload hefty articles when you’re pressed for time. Seth Godin publishes a couple of sentences per blog post, yet his blog is widely read.
Looking into social media profiles
Social media channels are powerful tools these days. Not only do they help us to connect with our customers, but also show our company’s principles, areas of interest and achievements.
A lot of small companies, set up social media profiles on every platform they can, and then, forget about them. Yet, their brand name stays attached to the profile. That’s a poor strategy. It sends a bad message about their brand online. It shows neglect and laziness. They also come across as difficult to get in touch with.
Nonetheless, it’s easy to amend that. Just consider those points:
- choose on which platform you want to be – those may be the platforms that you get the most traffic from, you have the greatest number of followers or you feel comfortable being on;
- delete the platforms you don’t have the time for;
- update a profile picture and background graphic;
- write a little description of your business.
Auditing review sites
Sites like G2Crowd, PickSaaS, and the like, are important for online businesses and their brand online these days. Make sure you have some reviews there. Woodpecker struggles with this one, but we’re slowly working on it. And you might think about doing that as well, as it may sway some reluctant email recipients in your favor.
What’s in it for you?
It’s very probable that the people who receive your cold email have never heard of you before. So they wish to know more about your company to form an opinion about it and make up their mind whether replying back to you is worth their time.
They will google your company name, visit our website, blog, read some of the customer reviews and check out what you post on your social media. That’s why it’s necessary to audit your brand online. And then, make necessary changes before sending your cold email campaigns.