Let’s take a look at the key numbers involved in impression-making, some of the common mistakes business-owners make when presenting their business to potential clients, and simple fixes that you can easily make to your online presence today.
The length of time it takes to make an interpersonal impression
We ensure we take every effort to make a positive first impression when meeting someone new for the first time. But what about our overall business impression?
We ensure our premises is clean. We ensure our personal presentation is impeccable. We ensure our advertising is on-point. We ensure our products have the perfect captions.
But what about our websites?
How many times have you sat down at your computer with the perfect concept in your head, but when it came to translating your business vision into words, you came up short?
You typed, and you typed, and eventually you came up with something that, as you reached the end, felt communicated your message adequately enough. So you published it. And that is the extent of the content on your website today.
This is the online equivalent of rambling your way through a sales pitch because you were unprepared. You didn’t spend the necessary mental time required distilling your vision down to its essence, so you have to ramble on until you figure out what it is you wanted to communicate in the first place.
The length of time your potential client will spend considering your advertising before engaging with your brand or moving on to something else.
+ professionalism in action.
The process of building initial business trust through communications can be likened to the way we build trust in a social setting.
You gain trust if you pass the first impression, but it is what you DO after gaining that TRUST that makes you lose it.
How can you sustain trust?
What are your potential and existing clients taking away from the time they are investing looking at your site? How can you make your encounters quick, value-adding, and without adding any unnecessary delay? What can you add that will make your clients keep coming back for more?
Do you demonstrate consistency in all manners, from how you handle complaints, to your daily manner, to the voice of your website, design, layout, and communications across all sources?
Is your website accurate? Do you consistently use the same font and headings? Is the language you use adequate for your target market? Are there any typos or grammatical language? Is it your copy clear and concise? Is your website clunky or slow because you’ve added too many features?
The ultimate test of your professionalism is whether your business meets the standards you would expect if you were a client. Take a look at your competitors’ online presence; how does yours stack up in comparison?
Refine Your Online Presence
There are four things you need to do in order to refine your online presence: a value audit, a consistency audit, an audit of your professionalism, and a feature audit.
Are you communicating value?
What are your clients receiving when they come away from your website? What value is your content communicating? What are your values? How do you show you values in action on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis?
If you aren’t communicating anything of value, identify the values you wish to communicate, then identify ways you can demonstrate those values on your website.
Are you consistently communicating?
Is the same voice and style present on all pages of your website and across all platforms? If you retain employees, do all of them approach customers with the same mindset and manner? Do you have a specific style you wish to follow, or is it just ‘anything goes’?
Are your communications professional?
A professional cares for their clients’ business as well as they treat their own business. Is your professionalism up to par? Show potential customers how you would care for their work in the way you professionally handle your work.
Is your website clunky because of certain features?
Do you have a video background on the landing page of your site simply because everyone else has one and they look cool? The question you need to ask yourself is whether the video is adding value to your business. Is it subtracting from the experience because it takes too much time to load? Have you check out how it appears across multiple devices and operating systems?
Consider a value-adding video
If you want to retain your video, think about having a custom-made value-adding video that highlights your products, services, or even your people! Stock videos may look cool, but they aren’t adding much if they aren’t showcasing your products, services, or mission!
Did you make your logo yourself and does it pixelate when viewed on a larger screen resolution? If yes, you absolutely must update this! This is the number one way to look like an amateur, meaning your clients will happily skip over to your competitor who looks like he or she’s got his stuff going on!
Consider a value-adding logo
While a designer can be expensive, your logo is your ultimate first impression, meaning the investment pays off in the long-term. If you are interested in having a custom-made logo designed just for you, please contact us.
Your website should contain only the essentials; each item should add value independently as well as being a component of your overall message.
Filler words add no overall value to your message. Remove any non-essential words, and your writing will automatically sound stronger and more professional.
Stories have their place in business communication, but only if they are strategically-chosen. Do you have any stories, either personal or business related, on your website? What is the purpose of these stories? If you can find no discernible purpose, it might be time to replace it with a value-adding story that communicates your company’s mission.
Click here to download a free Actionable Checklist that will help you enhance your business communications. To find out how a communications professional can enhance your online presence, contact me today.
How To Grab Your Target’s Attention in 8 Seconds or Less, Joshua Conran, Inc.com
Seven Seconds to Make a First Impression, Carol Kinsey Goman, Forbes
The Rising Cost of Consumer Attention: Why You Should Care, and What You Can Do about It, Thales S. Teixeira, Harvard Business School
The Critical Moment: Gaining And Holding Customer Attention In A Fast-Paced Media Market, Michael Brenner, DigitalistMag.com
How important is it for a company to have a great logo? Peter Shadbolt, BBC Business News
8 Guaranteed Ways to Drive Customers Away, Jeff Haden, Inc.com
10 Filler Words to Cut from Your Writing, Erin Feldman, Writerightwords.com
Why Storytelling Is The Ultimate Weapon, Jonathan Gottschall, FastCompany
How to Tell Your Company’s Story, Nadia Goodman, Entrepreneur