Not so long ago, first impressions would be made when you encountered someone face-to-face or on the phone. But since then, everything has gone digital. For businesses, this means customers are checking them out online before they make direct contact.
At least in the good old days of networking events, if you turned up un-showered, wore an ill-fitting outfit or got a bit too merry at the after-event drinks, you knew exactly why your phone wasn’t ringing the next day. Now you don’t even get the opportunity to make a fool of yourself in person because your first impression is made in cyberspace.
To cultivate the perfect online image takes hard work and dedication, but seeing as it’s the shop window for you, your company and your products and services, it’s definitely worth putting the time in.
Here are the main areas on which to focus:
As most communication is now done online, you’ll need a professional email address, preferably one that matches your website’s domain name.
You should also pay attention to your email signature. It can be tempting to try and include any and all relevant information in your signature, but it’s best to keep it clean and straightforward. Your name, job title and contact information sitting alongside your company logo will be just fine.
You can almost guarantee that anyone who wants to do business with you, or is even just contemplating using your service, will check your website before they call or email you. Make sure that your site is a good reflection of you and your business. If you haven’t updated your site recently it’s worth doing so, both from a design and content perspective.
A prospective client won’t just look at your website; they’ll look at what other people think of you too. This is so they can get a feel of how trustworthy your business is likely to be. Google is both a blessing and a curse in this respect; all the good reviews you’ve acquired over the years will be easy to find, but sadly so will any negative ones.
We suggest Googling yourself, seeing what you find and cleanse the results by using services like BrandYourself.com to make sure your positive results are at the top.
Check your reviews on other sites too, and make sure you address any criticisms so you can demonstrate your ability to act on negative feedback.
As we’ve said before, social media is a powerful tool if it’s used correctly. When people look for you or your business, they will stumble across one or more of your social media platforms. LinkedIn is the social media network of choice for business types. Make sure your profile is up to date and you’ve added all your business contacts as connections. Keep your brand pages on Facebook and Twitter up to date too.
These changes will help improve your online presence and make you and your company more appealing to your audience.