I was corresponding recently with a new colleague who had some great questions. On of the things we discussed was location.
She felt that since we run online businesses that have nothing to do with proximity to clients, we as an industry should be conveying that in every way possible. As an example, she stated that she would prefer to see our directory categorized by country only and not list the state at all.
She correct that we aren’t confined to our own geographic location when it comes to delivering our services.
I definitely share her sentiment that we can definitely benefit from continuing to educate clients about how easy it is to work together virtually, how much more efficient it is, and how much their business can benefit from that greater flexibility.
Providing a location doesn’t take away anything from that effort. Providing a location has more to do with instilling trust and confidence in clients.
Being completely transparent about where you operate from isn’t a matter of whether you can work with a client or not.
It has to do with providing all the information possible to put clients at ease and trust that they are dealing with a serious, legitimate, committed business and not some fly-by-night who may take their money and run. The more straightforward and transparent you are about those kind of details, the less suspicion they will view you with.
In many respects, it falls into the realm of marketing.
Marketing very often isn’t based on anything rational or what should matter. It’s commonly about the irrational, about what does matter to clients for more emotional reasons, regardless of whether it’s logical or makes sense or not.
Some colleagues argue that they don’t need to provide a business address, that it’s a new virtual business world and totally irrelevant to their ability to deliver their services to clients.
They get so caught up in petulantly insisting that they are business owners who don’t answer to anyone, they end up forgetting that business is a two-way relationship.
I hate to burst your bubble if you’re one of those people, but it does matter.
A virtual business is still a business and all the marketing and trust-building rules still apply.
In fact, because we are virtual, it’s even more important for us to be as transparent and forthcoming as possible.
Because that’s what matters to people – and clients are people.
They want to know who they’re dealing with. In healthy, two-way relationships, you make sure you provide the information and do all that you can to let the other party know that you are credible, you are legitimate, and you can be trusted because you have nothing to hide.
And that means you provide a business address of some kind, even if it’s just a post office box.
It might not be something that should matter. It might not matter in reality one way or another (because a business can still be good or bad either way).
Nonetheless, it is something that does matter to your site visitors and prospective clients.
So if you want to make it as easy as possible to instill trust and credibility, and put potential clients at ease and comfort, make sure your business address and contact information is visible or easily found on your website.