Ignore the Man Behind the Curtain, Folks

April 28, 2009

Imagine, for a moment, you're thumbing through the phone book (I said this was imaginary) for a plumber. There are hundreds, of course, but one entry catches your eye. It says "I'm a plumber" and lists an out-of-state phone number but lacks an address and any other details. It's as though this plumber has purposefully made it difficult to identify or contact him. Would you hand over your credit card to this character?

Probably not, I'm guessing; you just can't trust someone who hides that much. Likewise, you can't expect visitors to your website to buy your goods—or buy into you—when it reveals little about you and contains a solitary phone number. We may live in an age of anonymity, but that doesn't necessarily apply to sellers.

We're well past the point where the product or service alone drives sales. Your pesky customers want to know about you and your organization and even—gasp—converse with you. Right now, everyone involved in online marketing is talking about building community through social media, but that's useless if you won't even give people your name and an easy way to contact you.

I'm not arguing for a one-size-fits-all solution, but there are a couple of things almost any web user will expect to see. An "About" page is one of them, and it should say more than "I'm a plumber." A contact form, address, and phone number are also essential, and it's wise to make the latter two highly visible. But that's just the bare minimum to keep folks from wondering if you're a Hong Kong-based shell company that will only steal their money.

Certainly, there are cases where your markets just don't give a hoot about your staff or how the CIO is heavily into base jumping. However, if your organization's success relies, in large part, on the individual personalities of your staff, it's wise to share them. Because Digett is such an organization (and because we're latent exhibitionists), we've decided to do just that.

We've been working on a team section for some time, and it's time to tear away the curtain. Visit and find out a little more about our team. With any luck, it will inspire you to open up your organization a little bit more.