We hear all the time about how we should approach our online presence with care — the Internet has become a permanent record of sorts, with archive sites and mirror sites creating a history of practically everything that’s published online.
That’s why it’s so important to make strategic decisions and take a long view approach when branding your business and setting your rates. Savvy clients and smart business owners tend to watch the market over time — they’re aware of what various companies are offering and how much they’re charging. And when a company constantly flip-flops on its pricing or drastically alters its entire image, people notice.
I know of one wedding vendor in my market who has really changed his game over time. Over the past couple of years, I’ve watched him double his rates, halve his rates, offer coupons on his rates, and warn of future massive increases of his rates. All of these changes documented forever, thanks to the Internet. (This same vendor also dramatically made over his image some years ago, after what I can only assume was a very long period of soliciting a very – ahem – different market segment.)
I won’t be so bold as to say that my personal opinion of this vendor’s choices are shared by anyone else, but I do know that in my mind, he’s lost a lot of credibility. I’m not a fan of inconsistency, or of gaming people. Something that’s been very important to me as I’ve built my business is that people — clients and other vendors alike — know what they can expect from me and that I’m able to earn their respect. Integrity is everything.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for making tweaks to your image, and even rebranding completely when it makes sense to do so. However, with your every business move captured online and added to your “permanent record,” it’s essential that the choices you make are carefully considered. Can you explain a huge price increase or reduction when someone’s aware of what you used to offer? If you’re rebranding, do you have a clear reason why, and can you account for how the “new” you is different from the old you?
If we’re all stuck with that online permanent record, let it be one that documents a series of ethical, logical growth and smart transformation over time.