consistency to win customers - Write to RightI have learnt from my other business that relationships come first and sales follow. When you are developing a brand, it’s important to ensure that you remain consistent. As a business, there are a number of things you need to be consistent with: your brand, your goals, and your customer.

A brand is much more than just your business name, it’s the experience that people associate with that name. It is this experience, which is the first step in building a relationship, which leads on to sales.

So if your aim is to have a brand that represents quality, integrity, service, and trust; if this is the customer experience you desire, then you need to ensure you are consistent. This consistent branding will help you to be consistent with your customer (and that’s half your consistency battle won).

Let’s look at your brand on your website

Most sites will have the same name, contact details, and logo across the site. If you don’t, this is a quick change for you to make. Ensure that any ‘contact us’ links are headed to the same contact page or the correct email account; any differences in these can leave a customer questioning if you will be just as inconsistent in your dealings with them.

Your name is a little more complex than just what appears on the homepage of your website. It extends to how you refer to your business and yourself as the owner. This is all dependent on the relationship your customer will want from you (professional, approachable, etc.) and the perception you want to build for the business (professional, approachable, etc.). You should have worked this out when finding your online voice, if not, I suggest you revise my blog posts on the topic. The reason being, and as you can see, these perceptions can and should align. If they don’t you are risking confusing your customers and missing the mark with your ideal customer. So when you are writing about the business, will you refer to it by name (full or shortened), using the term ‘we’, or in some other form? When you refer to yourself as the owner, will you use ‘I’ or your name? The decisions you make here need to be consistently applied across the site. This means within a page and between pages. Remember, people generally don’t like change – so keeping your website consistent will put them at ease.

Grammatical gremlins

Following on from keeping your brand consistent is keeping your tense consistent (past, present, future). I have read a lot of articles and sites where the author flits between present and past tense. Again, this swapping causes confusion in the reader. I encourage you to use the present tense for your writing. I choose the present tense as it creates a more conversational tone, it’s easier to read, and easier to write. That’s not to say that you can’t write about the past, it just means you need to consider how it’s written. In these circumstances I would suggest using a more active voice; where the past, and these are mostly achievements, is written in short sentences, using your key adjectives (check out the voice blog post on this), and placing your business name before any action or achievement. If you are writing about achievements, I would also place the year of the achievement at the start of the sentence. Having the date at the start of a sentence creates a simple chronology, building a picture of achievement in your customer’s mind. People are generally time poor: make it easier for them to know you.

A consistent brand makes it easier to build a relationship with your customer. It means that they know where you stand and as a consequence where they stand in relation to your business. If you consistently refer to your brand in a particular manner, it helps to place your brand in the front of their mind. If you match that brand with their experiences of the brand (consistent, reliable, quality, etc.) you will help them form an opinion around your brand. This is when you build a relationship, and you can then you can build on sales.

Building your brand takes time; consistency makes brand building over time easier. It means that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. If you find consistency difficult to maintain, then I suggest developing a style guide for your business. I have previously referred to having a style guide and I suggest printing it out for your reference. Style guides are useful when you have multiple people writing for your business, including employing a writer (including website developers).

Remember, a consistent brand is the foundation of a lasting relationship with your customer.

If you are finding it difficult to achieve consistency across your site, not sure where to start, or are time poor please contact us to find out how Write to Right can help.

  • I have been overwhelmed by the emails I have received about this article. Here are the comments:

    Name: Amy Purdie
    Comment: This is brilliant. I’m really big on consistency and blog about it quite a lot! As a graphic designer I’m always looking at ways to be visually consistent for my clients but I can’t claim to be an expert when it comes to writing. I love how you’ve clearly described why consistency is so important and given great examples for how we can ensure consistency when we write. I will need to go and check through my blogs and see how well I’m doing! I’m going to share this with my networks because I think it’s so relevant to what I do and will really help them.

    Name: Susie Ellis
    Comment: Brilliant reminder 🙂

    Name: Shan
    Comment: Great information on branding. I like the way you explain each part, e.g. that customers like consistency which adds (or not) to our brand.

    Name: Jenny Welbourn
    Comment: That’s a good idea about having a style guide, I hadn’t thought of that but it will make it much easier to make sure everyone is on the same page and delivering the same message in a consistent way.

    Name: Iain Layden
    Comment: I agree – your brand needs to be consistent across all the points where customers or potential customers touch your business. Spelling/grammatical errors and inconsistent writing style can create a bad impression. I like the suggestions about how to use past tense!

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