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The Most Common Mistake ADR Professionals Make (and how to fix it)

One of the key mistakes I see mediators and arbitrators make is such a simple mistake and so easy to fix.  These days we all use social media platforms or belong to an association or organization that uses the internet to promote our services.  One commonality amongst these platforms on the internet is that we’re invited to post our contact information so that our prospective clients or sources or referral can contact us.  It’s a pretty easy concept.  But I see that more often than not resolutionists don’t get it right. 

Here’s what we’re getting wrong and why.  It’s everything to do with social proof and perception.  When we’re invited to post our contact information on social media platforms or as a member of a group too many of us use incomplete or even “wrong” contact information.  The goal of listing yourself on social media or other sites is to make it easier for our potential clients to connect with us.  When you have the opportunity to promote your services I encourage you to take full advantage of the tools at hand.  If you work from home and don’t want to post your home address, I get it.  But minimally post your photo/logo, company name, city, state, phone, and email. 

Email ….. this is really where the rubber hits the road and what I’m so motivated to write about here.  When you have the opportunity to post your contact email you want to avoid posting an email address from a freebie server account like Gmail or Yahoo.  Why?  It’s called social proofing.  When you post an email address from a gmail account (or other provider) you’re not using your business website domain name. 

Here’s an example:  madamemotin@gmail.com   If I post that as my email contact account the reader doesn’t get to know anything about me.  Conversely, if I post Natalie@HowToMarketMyMediationPractice.com, people can simply remove my first name and go to my website.  This little change can make a big difference. 

One, it tells readers what my website URL is and they can find out more about my services.  Even though someone might be interested in my company, they’re still going to look at my website, google search my name, etc.  When they find my website, read the testimonials listed there, watch my videos, see that my name is on other provider’s websites… this is social proof that I’m a professional provider.

Two, it’s just one more way to reinforce my brand.

Three, it tells readers that I’m a professional with a professional website.

Four, it tells readers that I’m serious about the work I do because I’ve invested time and money in my business image and the resources I provide my industry.  These third and fourth points are all about perception.  Although most people don’t even know that they do it, they judge us on these little details.  And they do it quickly.  The difference between using a private email address and business email address tells a reader within seconds that we may not be the level of professional they’re looking for.  We also make it harder for prospective clients to find us and our business website.  That is positively the opposite of what we want to do to our potential clients.  The goal of listing ourselves is to make it easier for clients – not harder.

Now I know that a lot of us use the freebie email addresses because we’re trying to avoid spam in our business inboxes.  But you have to sort through the nonsense in your personal email inbox to get to the good stuff, so why not sort through that same nonsense in your business inbox and use your email address as a marketing tool, source of social proof, and reinforce your professionalism in a competitive marketplace. 

My best advice is take advantage of all listings for your business.  Log on to your social media platforms and association listings and with a critical eye update your photo/logo, confirm that your contact information is complete and correct, and most importantly, update your email address to your business account.  Little fixes make a big difference.

P.S. If you don’t yet have a business website it’s time to get one and too important an asset for every business person to delay any longer.  Find a professional web designer like Mark Johnson at TKOwebdesign.com who is not only a great and affordable designer, but also a member of our ADR industry.  You won’t have to waste time teaching him about what you do and how to convey your services in the best light.  Mark will help you get your business domain and business email address as well as your ADR site up and running.  Once he does, be sure to update all your accounts with the new information.

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