Imagine this: It’s Valentine’s Day, and you want to go out for a nice couple’s dinner.
You want to try something new so you hit up Google and do a search for your local restaurants. You click the link to one and get a broken website – pass. Next. You click another and visit their Facebook page that hasn’t been updated in 2 years… are they still in business? Next. You find a third one with a website that contains a full menu, a social media page that was updated a couple days ago with some photos of delicious looking meals – decision made.
The first two restaurants made poor first impressions and it was an easy thing to pass on. They could have been great places to eat but you might never try them.
This type of quick decision-making and categorizing of “interesting” or “not” happens with nearly everything we are presented with or seek out to purchase. It’s rapid, and nearly automatic. It’s the whole reason marketing exists, and because it exists it must be paid attention to.
When it comes to the internet, you MUST market your business, and you MUST do it well, or someone will move on to the next business. You may not like it but that is how it is.
Your customers can find you in a multitude of ways online, and if there are any weak entry points for the discovery of your business you need to improve them. Customers ARE finding you through those gateways and impressions ARE being made. Even if only 10% of your potential customers are finding you through your Facebook page, for example, would you really want to be making a bad first impression and possibly losing that 10% of your potential customers? Of course not. So why leave it a mess?
Think of all the outlets your customers can find you through. Really, write it down. Make a chart. Where are all the places a customer could discover your business? Pretend to be a customer, search and see what they see. What would you think of your business if it was someone else’s you had stumbled upon? Are any of them weak entry points? If so… it’s time for some renovations! Clean your mess up.
Here are 5 tips to help you improve the gateways you get new customers through online.
1. Make sure all of your information (phone numbers, website, social links, etc) is up to date.
No one likes broken links, out of use phone numbers, and incorrect social media pages – make sure it is going to the correct page; when a simple “The” in the URL is the difference between your business and someone else’s you don’t want them going somewhere else. Check that you are listed with the correct information on databases such as Yellow Pages, Google, Yahoo, etc. so you show up in local search results.
2. Keep your social media active.
Customers will wonder if you are still in business if you haven’t updated in months. Post several times a week at a minimum. Keep your customer base engaged and make your social media accounts interesting or fun. Create and post content that people enjoy to make your page give value to people. If you aren’t adding some sort of value, be it entertainment, intriguing photos of your products (eye candy), helpful information, etc. then people will stop looking at your page.
3. Make sure your graphics, website, etc. look professional.
If you are not skilled in graphic design it may be time to get professionally made graphics. These are well worth the small investment.. It’s the first thing your customers see. You want it to look as professional as your business. If it is grainy, put together badly, or just plain awful looking (you know it when you see it) then it’s time to invest in the work of a professional. Keep your branding consistent to build brand recognition. If you’ve updated your logo recently don’t keep using older versions of the same logo, and make sure you are using the same branding across platforms.
4. Have a website and a good domain name.
You need a website. Even if it is just a simple landing page with information and contact info. If your business is “Jim’s Seafood and Grill” and is in Morehead, KY make sure the domain is something like jimsseafoodandgrill.com, jimsmorehead.com or jimsseafood.com and isn’t something like seafood123.com or bestseafoodinmoreheadky.com. No one is typing stuff like that in the address bar to look for somewhere to eat (they are using search engines instead), and that isn’t needed to end up at the top of local search results – that isn’t how SEO works, and it will just confuse people looking for your business. People will search for “seafood in Morehead” or “Jim’s Seafood” and if you have your information correct and have done proper SEO then jimsseafoodandgrill.com will show up on that search result. It’s important to purchase and reserve applicable domain names for your business as soon as possible – or someone else can snag them and do whatever they want with them.
5. Check your email.
If your business has an email address listed for contact (and it should) then you need to be checking that email address. It’s very annoying when you can’t get in touch with a business, and no one likes feeling ignored. This will make you lose new customers before they ever give you a penny of business and it will make past customers feel unappreciated and they will go somewhere else. Be vigilant in staying on top of that inbox! Be courteous and reply back to people asking questions, send Thank You messages to people who contact you – this includes social media as well. You need to be responsive, and it shouldn’t take a long time to hear from you. Customers will react positively when they feel valued, and when they feel they are building a more personal relationship with a business.
How are you doing with those 5 things?
Originally published: http://printusa.com/index.php/2020/01/30/are-you-making-a-bad-first-impression/