By Amanda Plavner, Summer Marketing Intern
It is common knowledge that businesses need to reach those outside of their company to actually do business and reach a revenue goal. A website is a great way to do that! Why then, do companies make it so difficult for Internet users to learn about their company? Recently, I have been searching for prospects in the engineering field, and while they may not be primarily focused on marketing themselves, I find it hard to believe that they do not even list a contact email on their website. My research has consisted of countless hours of Google and LinkedIn searches trying to make up for what many companies’ websites lack; most prospects, suppliers, and referral sources would not spend the time trying to find out more information and would give up.
Although in today’s world electronic communication is very prevalent, a mailing address is also helpful when doing business. A mailing address allows one not only to send something through the mail, but also to determine the location of the business. While finding addresses of companies is usually simple online, older websites will display a location different from that of the one posted by Google or stated in the meta description. I question which address I should be sending information to and often come to the conclusion that it depends on the size of the company and how recently the website has been updated. Ultimately, I get confused and discouraged to reach out to the company, let alone visit them.
Deciphering who should be the contact person leads to more issues. The first issue is that many websites do not even offer information about who works at their company; they lack an “About Us” page or some variation of that. More often than not, the information about the employees of the company is hidden. I understand that companies do not want their employees to be hired by a competitor, but how else can you qualify a professional services firm? After searching for a while and coming to the conclusion that a website does not offer any information on leadership or employees, what am I to do? Occasionally you can find the name of an employee of the company on LinkedIn, but LinkedIn searches are limited. Some industries may not even be listed on LinkedIn, as a company or as employees, leading to a failed search and no possible communication with the company.
Sometimes you get lucky and the website lists a contact name. That’s when I get a little excited, until I realize that there will still be mountains to climb in my desired path. Many websites that list contact names do not list the associated emails and instead offer an firstname.lastname@example.org email. When I see this type of email I question who will even see my correspondence and in fact, if anyone will check the account at all. Will the person who opens it forward it to the person who should have received the message? I highly doubt it.
Other websites do not even list an informational email and just offer a form to fill out and submit. This type of contact page is the worst because you cannot even add their email to your list; they remain anonymous. On top of that, once again the questions of ‘will anyone read this?’ and ‘who will actually read this? pop into my head.
Overall, the reasons behind why businesses make it so difficult for Internet users to find simple contact information is puzzling to me. Businesses want to interact with those outside of their company to provide their service and succeed financially, so why make that interaction so complicated?
Here are a few suggestions:
- Always list member of your leadership team, along with contact information. I doubt a competitor will steal them, just because you mention them.
- Check and verify all of your contact information, including a physical address.
- Make sure Google has that same physical address.
- Update (or create) your company LinkedIn page to align with your website information.
- Make sure that whatever employees are on LinkedIn display consistent company information.