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Yet the public's perception was of this beautiful palace with books flowing and corporate people in power suits selling in comfortable plush office space surrroundings.
I honestly have no idea what my own consumers perceptions of my company are. We have very good photos of our goods, and a professional appearance in our wording, and design ( atleast I think so) my products cater to the upper level of the buying power out their: expensive high quality bedding.
I am thinking about placing a picture of myself ( the owner) online on the same page that explains our history.
do you think this will hurt or help my efforts?
Keep them in the dark.. or put a face with the .com?
I believe this is a good strategy - however, be sure the focus is for the right reasons.
People don't put trust into web sites - they put trust into the company, person, or people that work behind the scenes.
This isn't to say that no one buys from a web site... just that the more personable you make the site the more people will trust.
90% of all products purchased online - are purchased by 10% of the online using market.
This means that the majority of the remaining 90% for one reason or another are not comfortable with online purchasing -- and lots of room to improve.
Effective use of your image can help - but think ahead.
If you are the owner, and sole person of the company - announcing this does help build trust.
Sale/item pages should have a customer service person, if a support section; a support person.
Company info pages (about us) should have an office administrator.
But the office administrator - will not help to get visitors in the buying mood, this would be more for, returns (policy), privacy (policy), maybe affiliated programs, and founding info about the company. Thus if this is yourself (the owner) your image here will likely not produce more sales.
In addition, the same person on every page (or in every section of the site) looks strange.
A customer service person is preceived differently than an administrator or support person.
A few small images, noting their title and if a real company employee even a name will produce much more than none at all.
Will it make a difference to someone who already buys -- probable not (they already buy without needing that personability) but it will improve the chance of non-purchaser purchasing.
I am thinking about placing a picture of myself ( the owner) online
If it didn't violate the TOS, AA, you could post a pic URL and we could all vote! Failing that, you might try one of the HotOrNot-type sites & see if you score above 5. (Hey, there's an idea... Am-I-Trustworthy-Or-Not.com!) ;)
Seriously, I think a photo of the owner is a great idea. It humanizes the site and gives customers a feeling that there's someone real behind the HTML.
When I was in the catalog biz, we always included a Letter from the President with a photo. We often included group staff photos, or sometimes sprinkled individual staff photos, perhaps with one-line quotes, around the catalog. All of this served to add some human interaction to an otherwise sterile envirinment.
Beyond the photo, I'd suggest including a quote from you reiterating your satisfaction guarantee (if any) or at least your commitment to your customers. Also, if you can build up your expert credentials, that will further enhance your site's credibility. ("After working in the bedding industry for 15 years, and negotiating hundreds of deals with the top manufacturers, I knew I could deliver a better product for less money...") People love stories like that, so don't be afraid if your copy runs a bit long. If they don't want to read it, they'll skip it. Pull out a key point or two into big type.
Your instincts are right, AA, go for it!
To reiterate other's points above, you simply feel more comfortable knowing who is behind the scenes of an operation like that.
Its got to be said that I have seen some sites that have truely awful pictures of the owners on them.
Ie, car sales sites with some smug owner on front of it. Do you trust this person? Well, no......
But, I think in AA's case (targeting a more expensive product), a photo on the site could be done tastelfully and would add to the overall professionalism too.
Forget the whole thing if I am looking at the wrong site.
(BTW there is a miss-spell - it's "...and not bred as...")
Off-the-wall marketing idea: If you really wanted to go out on a limb, you could stick in a pic of you holding a goose (assuming you can drug one so it doesn't bite you ;)) with the big flock in the background. This would really show you know your down or feathers or whatever, unlike the "suits" who never leave their office. (Except for geese farmers, who would probably think you were crazy... ;) We have wild geese in our area, and they are rather nasty. Very territorial... when a golfer goes missing, we presume the geese pecked him to death & ate him. It's also very evident where the expression, "Like **** through a goose" comes from. :))
But be careful. I remember a discussion (elsewhere) on this issue and more than one female contributor commented on the danger of stalkers. And they weren't talking about a response to glamour photos either, just everyday businesswomen who couldn't put their professional-looking head'n'shoulders photos online because of creeps who would use the site's contact details to pester them.
The other issue would be the sort of image you want to project. In some sectors, posing in front of your Ferrari conveys an image of success and accomplishment and customers 'like dealing with a winner'. But in other markets the same image might turn people off ("that smug rich guy's more interested in his own take than providing value for money").
and this talk of photos online reminds me of that turkish bloke that became famous for his mugshot a couple of years ago. "I KISS YOU". anyone else remember it?
story from november 99 (most links on the page are dead)
recent update from june 2002 including link to copy of original site
i guess if you're gonna put your face online, do it right and get some decent publicity ..... mahir did it right.