Have you ever walked into a room and suddenly felt like you took a wrong turn? You try to retrace your steps back to familiar territory to figure out where you went wrong, and what you should do next. At this point you might ask a passer by for directions, or phone a friend to relay the experience and get your bearings.
Confusion is Uncomfortable
Like walking into the wrong bathroom, confusion is an uncomfortable experience. As humans, we are reassured by familiar environments and faces. For instance, have you ever been to a crowded social function at someone's house you didn't know, or at a place you've never been to? Did you wade through the sea of unfamiliar faces until you found the friend who invited you there? Remember the relief you felt when you finally found them?
Bottom line is: Nobody likes to be confused, and that goes double when you're asking someone to invest in your products or services.
Consistency Cultivates Familiarity
You may not be doing it intentionally, but when you build inconsistent experiences around your website, communications or marketing endeavors, you're literally throwing money at your competitors. Keep it consistent. If someone clicks the Facebook link on your website, they shouldn't feel like they ended up on wrong page. Here are some quick tips on consistency:
- Use your official logo on all of your company's social media properties.
- Use imagery from your website as cover photos on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media that supports it.
- When sending email marketing campaigns, the email should look like the landing page it leads to.
- Similarly, when sending direct mail campaigns, the imagery used on the postcard should look like the imagery used on the landing page.
- Keep the message uniform. It should be the same from email, to direct mail, to social media, to landing page, to website, to the front office.
- Familiarize employees with the message, it will lose cohesion if a prospect calls about a campaign and the employee answering the phone has never heard of it.
Basically, the key to consistency is repetition. Repetitive imagery, copy, colors, message, tone and personality will give prospects the social cues they need to foster familiarity — which for you will translate into increased profitability.
Familiarity Encourages Conversion
People buy from people they like and people they trust. It's a fact of business. If they don't know you, they won't trust you. If they don't trust you, they will be suspicious of your motives and skeptical of your ability to provide them with value. This is a completely natural defense mechanism that helps us place trust where it belongs: with the trustworthy.
And let's be perfectly clear: we're not talking about 'fooling' people into trusting you. You must be able to deliver on ALL your promises to PROVE that you are trustworthy. Consistency and familiarity merely sets the stage by offering a comfortable environment in which you can demonstrate that proof to your prospects. Once they're in the door, and satisfied that you can provide them with value, then the conversion process can begin.
Leave the Forks Out of the Road
You may have heard the term 'Sales Pipeline' before, but have you ever heard the term 'Sales Labyrinth'? Probably not, because I just made that up. Still, it's an adequate definition of multi-message marketing. In the words of the Highlander, “There can only be one.” Don't confuse prospects with competing messages in the same marketing campaign. This will only serve to dilute the impact of BOTH messages and make tracking metrics completely useless. Keep it simple, one message, one path to conversion.