Have you heard of any of these phrases before?
Love at first sight
Don’t judge a book by its cover
Love at first bite
All these quotes speak to the same concept:
First Impressions are Powerful Ways to Stand Out From Your Competitors
First impressions online are just as important… for some businesses, even moreso as that is your only vehicle for communication with your clients. Developing a website design to make that important first impression can go a long way to landing you that client.
Now, before you make the argument that one of my quotes tells you to not follow the first impressions, consider the last time you went into a bookstore or shopped on Amazon or Chapters or Barnes & Noble. If beautiful book covers didn’t help sell books, all these publishers wouldn’t be investing in creating the visual explosion you walk into. Think about all the models or scandalous images on magazine covers that entice you to pick up and read. Consider even the look of the foods you eat and how culinary masters always take time to decorate the plate.
I could go on and on with examples of how first impressions, especially visual first impressions, influence our decisions every day.
The key to success, and the meaning behind Don’t judge a book by its cover, is what happens after the visual stimulus is just as important as the first impression. If there’s a disconnect between that first impression and the rest of the client’s experience, you may lose that client forever.
So it is critical that if you expect to do business online you build a strong first impression. The keys to a good first impression are simple… but they may surprise you.
#1 Deliver a Focused Message
There’s nothing worse than going to a website and having to hunt and peck to figure out what the business is all about. Not too long ago, I saw an advertisement for GetGlue on one of my favorite TV shows. I went to their website to check it out and was lost within seconds. Now, I’m relatively internet savvy so for me to get lost you really missed the boat. They must have realized there was an issue because when I went to visit them again recently, the site is much cleaner and gets to the point immediate… watch TV, login here and get stickers. Stickers really don’t do it for me but at least now I understand what is going on a bit better.
#2 Stay true to your business
There’s nothing more disheartening than to be promised something ritzy only to be let down. This happens a lot when I travel. Hotels normally spend a lot of time/effort to making their lobbies and exteriors look fabulous. But if the rooms are just meh, it doesn’t fit with the overall experience.
Now, I’m not saying your online presence should “slum” it. But, if you and your business tend to lean more towards the structured side of things, don’t then have a website that has wild, flashy graphics. Stick to who you are and it will make you stand out.
In fact, most people I speak to these days prefer to not deal with companies with flashy sites. Many get annoyed if there’s too much flash going on. Most feel the flashiness makes the company unapproachable and very corporate. So if you don’t like flash, don’t be afraid to avoid it. Make a stand. Make an impression by being yourself.
#3 Create paths
One of the keys to creating that first impression is to know what is “first”. Where do clients encounter you? How did they reach you at that point? What are they looking for?
The confusing thing about being online is that there isn’t just one point of entry. Some people may reach you through your website, others through Facebook or Twitter. Still others might land on one of your many blog pages or unsolicited listings like in 411.com.
Regardless of how they come to you, they have all come to you with a desire for something. Let’s face it, people who search online are searching for something. If they find you through that search, you’ve got your foot in the door. If you can answer their question, then you’re ahead of the game.
Now, your first impression must lead them to wanting to dig deeper. You want to leave them with a sense that there is more for them to learn and understand from you and that they need to do business with you, a “path” to the next stage of business.
Does your business stand out?
Do you know if you’re making the right first impression? If you’re still struggling, make sure to sign up for our Quick Tips. We’ll be releasing direct to your email later this month several quick one sheet checklists that will help you determine exactly what you need to do!
So signup below today!