How your business presents itself to the outside world is incredibly important and so often undervalued. As the saying goes: you never get a second chance at a first impression.
Today this first impression is overwhelmingly made on the web. Let’s face it, most customers are not going to stumble upon your physical premises without having visited your website first and they are certainly not going to look you up in the Yellow Pages and give you a call!
This of course isn’t new; the web is now a mature marketplace and no longer a newfangled, unexplored technology. This is why it stuns me that so many businesses still make such a poor job of presenting themselves online.
How often have you visited the website of a company you know to be a reputable player in their field and find their web presence to look like something from the 1990's?
I’ve pasted an example below of a business that fits this bill perfectly. I’ve blurred out the logo and some key elements of the text so as not to expose them but it’s still clear to see that this is a terrible attempt at marketing.
You might be fooled into thinking that this is a small or defunct business but it’s actually a company that’s a long established player in their field.
You might then argue that you don’t need a better web presence to run a successful business – after all these guys are getting by just fine. This assumption is also wrong and here’s why:
Why first impressions are so important
Your website is the first port of call for absolutely everyone who has any interest or stake in your business:
- - It’s the first place a potential customer will call upon when searching for the products and services you provide
- - It’s the first place a potential customer will go when your company has been recommended
- - It’s the first place a current customer will go to find your contact details or to show their colleagues who they are working with
- - It’s the first place suppliers and potential suppliers will visit before they get in touch
- - It’s the first place a potential staff member will visit when applying for a job with you
- - Finally it’s a place that your current staff will visit regularly and point others to
So that poor first impression has a massive, unrealised impact on every single element of your business. It greatly reduces your ability to win new customers, it creates an unfair representation of your business in the eyes of your current customers, suppliers and staff and it even affects your ability to attract the best new talent.
Are you guilty?
Here’s a really important question: if you were to be honest with yourself, is your business making the same mistake? Does your website look dated, amateurish and uninspiring? Is it a fair reflection of how good you are at what you do? Perhaps most importantly does your web presence reflect the business that you want to be?
If the answer to this last question is ‘no’ or ‘don’t know’ then perhaps now is the time to take action.
Act as the business you want to be
One of my favourite sayings is "fake it 'till you make it" because it perfectly sums up the attitude of so many great business owners and marketers.
The best brands are built with a clear vision of not only who they are but also who they want to be. They build a brand around the latter – acting out the part from day one until their vision becomes a realisation.
With the incredibly cost-effective tools and technology at our fingertips today, even the small business owner can make a great job of their first online impression. In other words, there’s really no excuse!
The actionable tip
Today’s actionable tip is quite simple: look in the mirror. Put yourself in the shoes of your potential customers, current customers, suppliers and staff and give your website an honest mark out of 10. If you give yourself less than 7 then now is the time to take action.
If you’d like a second opinion we’re happy to provide it. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free, frank and honest analysis of your current web presence.