What Do Customers Think of You?

Companies get Judged by their Covers_first impressionsHave you ever walked into a restaurant, business, or retail store and immediately thought: “they’ll be out of business in six months, tops”? Do you think the business owner had any clue that customers had that negative reaction? Doubtful.

We all see what we want to see; and that means that sometimes we can miss some huge, glaring issues that customers will spot immediately. Often, those same customers will choose not to work with you based on this first impression, but may never tell you the reason. And that’s where things can get scary.

Here are the 5 most important first impressions to get right. If you can nail these, we guarantee you’ll see improvement in sales and referral business.

Physical Location

  • How does your office/store/salon/restaurant look to prospective customers?
  • Is your signage visible from the street? Is it modern? Does it attract attention? Does it match your brand?
  • Is your reception area welcoming? Really? What kind of impression do you make to prospects with your furniture, interior signage, magazines, brochures, etc? Do you offer coffee and water to visitors?
  • Do you have a comfortable meeting and/or waiting area for visitors?
  • Is your location easy to find? Is the neighborhood representative of your brand image? Ie: a high-end restaurant will likely not perform well in a downtrodden neighborhood, and vice versa. A modern, high-tech business doesn’t fit well in a strip mall space.

Printed Marketing Materials

  • When is the last time you REALLY looked at your business cards? Are you cutting costs on paper & printing? Your prospects can instantly identify this, and it immediately downgrades your business.
  • Is your logo eye-catching? Is it easily recognizable? Does it convey exactly the message you want it to?
  • Are your brochures and folders representative of your brand? Do they make people want to pick them up from a table or booth?
  • If you’re exhibiting at an event, does your booth stand out from the crowd? Is it clean, organized, and does it attract attention?

Online Marketing Materials

  • When is the last time you REALLY looked at your website? Is it up to date? Do you have calls to action on all important pages?
  • Are your Social Media Channels branded to match the rest of your organization? Each Social Media Channel (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, etc.) allows you some flexibility in customizing page design, so be sure to take advantage of these free opportunities.
  • A visitor’s first experience with your brand, wherever it happens to occur, will help them decide whether to continue pursuing you. Make sure all of those potential ‘first entrances’ to your business are good ones.

Reviews & Testimonials

  • If you haven’t ‘Googled’ your company in a while, now is the time. Check out your online reviews and social media mentions. If no one is talking about you, that’s nearly as bad as having negative reviews.

And all those things your 3rd grade English teacher warned you about.

  • Typos! Grammatical Errors! Misspellings!
  • I am AMAZED at how often I see simple mistakes on company websites, blog posts, press releases, email newsletters, and social media updates. If this isn’t your strongest area, then PLEASE enlist a trusted colleague to review your work for you. Your prospects will pick up on this, and it could cost you thousands of dollars in lost business.

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, and it’s message is a valuable one in life. But realistically, you can be assured that prospective customers will judge your business by its cover every single time they come in contact with you.

In fact, if you think about the last time you purchased a book; you likely judged it by its ACTUAL cover: the title and cover artwork, whether it had made a bestseller’s list, and/or where it was positioned in a physical store or how many stars it had in online reviews. If you’re taking all of these factors into consideration just to make a $15 decision about a book, don’t you think your prospective customers are considering the same factors when choosing whether to do business with you?

Want some help taking these steps to improve those all-important first impressions? We’d be happy to offer you a complimentary analysis of your marketing materials and/or website.  Contact us today for an intial consultation.


Show & Tell: Using Images to Boost Your Inbound Marketing Results

How to use Images for Inbound Marketing SuccessThese days, many businesses find it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to find a way of breaking through the clutter to get their target audiences to notice them. While our prospective customers and clients are more connected than ever to the brands and businesses they follow, it is increasingly more difficult for these brands to stand out in the crowd and convince people to take action.

There is, however, a pretty simple strategy that will help you break through that clutter, get your audience to pay attention to you, and even persuade them to share your message with their own communities.

That strategy involves using visual content and images to tell your story. Sounds simple enough, right? But aside from including a photo in their blog posts or Facebook updates, we’ve noticed that many businesses never get beyond this first step to develop the visual content that will push them to the next level. So we’ve developed this simple plan to start you off on the path to inbound marketing success by using images to boost search results.

Images to Include in Online Marketing:

  • Call to Action buttons – Rather than including a simple “contact us” link in the text of your page; a “Sign Me Up” button in a bold color will lift your conversion rates and get your audience to take action.
  • Memes – As shown in this blog post, a descriptive image with an intriguing message will garner far more attention in cluttered social media news feeds and online publications than even the most compelling text headline.
  • Infographics – These in-depth visual graphs and charts offer a simple way to provide a large amount of complex information to your audience. And they are very quick to read and easy to share, which will do wonders for your inbound links and brand awareness.

How to Promote your Images:

  • Publishing: The first, and generally most important, place to include your visual content is on your website and/or blog. Be sure to include social media buttons so that your readers can easily share your images and content with their own networks.
  • Promoting: Second to hosting images on your site, you would then want to push them out through your social media channels (primarily Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, and Twitter; though you may have others in the mix as well). This will allow prospective readers to stumble on your content within their own channels; and makes it easy for them to help you spread the word.

There are far too opportunities for marketing images to include in this post, but we’d love to hear how you integrate images in your own marketing programs. Please post your creative ideas and uses in the comments below.