You only have one chance to make a good first impression…
We have all heard it. The statement is undeniable. Your mother probably said it to you first. If not her then perhaps you heard it from your elementary school teacher or your favorite aunt. It is completely obvious. No one doubts it. You only have one chance to make a good first impression.
…and yet it’s easy to forget or get it wrong!
You might have spent over one hundred hours crafting the look, message and overall content of your webpage. You may have spent thousands of hours, involved every member of your team over weeks. It was probably an exhausting and draining process. None of that matters effort matters to your audience. Your audience will give you about three seconds before they judge all your hard work. Make sure those first few seconds count!
Most people will give your carefully crafted content only the quickest of glance before deciding to stay or go. Seriously? Yes, Definitely!
Before you get too judgmental about this, think about how long you take to decide if a website is good or bad for you. Have you ever clicked away from a site within the first few seconds because you just didn’t like something about the site? We all have!
Knowing that, make sure your first impression is the one you want to convey. Here are a couple of ways to help you do a great job of this important first step.
1. Make Sure They Can Connect With You
Do a quick search in any of the major search engines. Enter your company name and see what comes up. Obviously, you simply want the top results to lead straight to your business. Your desired goal could be an Instagram channel, a Facebook page or group, a video or to a website. Where ever you want them to land be sure they have a clear path to take the next step. That could be a CTA (Call To Action) button or even just your phone and email. Don’t make them work to get in touch. Make it easy for them.
Remember, search engine links may lead to internal pages of your site, be sure that every page features your name, best contact email address or phone. Make sure your logo and other branding materials are available on every page. A link back to your desired starting point such as a home page is also a great idea.
Be sure to make it easy for your potential clients to connect on other social media platform. Some people prefer to only use Instagram or Facebook on one type of device and other platforms when they are in front of a computer.
An important caution: If you link to a social media platform, keep it updated. It will reflect poorly on your business if the link you send them to was updated was two years ago.
2. Keep Things Relevant and Current
Learn and notice everything you can about your clients or customers. Study them to discover what is important to them. What are the things that inspire, excite or thrill them? What do they fear? Learn what keeps them up at night. Once you understand this, connect that to your product or service. Be sure to give it to them on a regular basis.
Build your message around what they are already thinking about. On a hot day, does the driver of an Ice Cream Truck need to explain the health benefits of cow’s milk to a child? Of course not! The child has already decided that the most important thing in the world is an ice cream cone.
What would make your business as appealing to a child as an ice cream cone on a hot day? Find that ‘something’ and promote it in a strong emotional way. If you can do that, half of your marketing battles will be over.
3. Leverage Your Best Customer’s Wins
There is nothing stronger than a testimonial. The online world calls it social proof. You want it and your clients will want to see it! Don’t make it difficult for them to see the social proof. Encourage your client’s to send in their wins and successes. Truth is, most of them won’t bother.
You have to be more proactive about asking for testimonials. Your Facebook can be a great place to do a poll. Find out what your customers like then use that in your marketing. Have you ever purchased a product on Amazon based primarily by the number of stars it has gotten from previous buyers? If so then you are like 99% of the rest of the planet!
4. Respond quickly
The first tip in this blog was to make sure they can easily connect with you. When they do be sure you respond in a timely fashion. It seems we have all had the experience of sending in a ‘Support Ticket’ to a company only to hear a deadly silence. That sends the exact opposite impression than what you want. Most of us have also had the experience where a company responds much quicker than you would have anticipated. Even if there is a problem to be solved, a quick and positive response draws your customers closer to your company.
Remember online your response might seem like it is to just one person. That ‘private’ conversation is only as ‘private’ both parties want to make it. If one of the people involved really wants the wider world to see the problem they have only to post it to another social media platform.
You can be sure when that happens in an adversarial way the offended party is going to be telling only one side of the issue. The guy kicked out of the airplane will only talk about the mean airline company. He won’t mention that he was drunk, foul mouthed and abusive when the problem started. The video of him being dragged out of the plane won’t show the ten times the flight attendants tried to calm and deescalate the situation.
The video he presents to justify how horrible the airline was to him will only show him as a poor innocent being hauled away by cruel heartless people.
That is, of course the most extreme example possible. Something similar could happen to your business if you are not careful. You can easily find yourself in an un-winnable twitter war. Every attempt to defend makes things worse.
Don’t let that happen. Respond quickly and in the most positive way possible. That can be hard when you want to scream at the unfair complaint.
A better approach is to remember your conversation might be seen by hundreds of potential customers. Respond with civility and grace (even if you want to choke the jerk!!!) When that happens you will be responding to one unhappy complainer. More importantly, your conversation will be seen by the hundreds or thousands of potential clients who might see the issue online.
5. Be Consistently Consistent
Everything you post or display to the world should meet a high standard. By doing that you are training your audience that they can expect you to perform at an optimal level. While it is true you want to surprise and delight. You never want to surprise and disappoint.
One or two fonts, a consistent color pallet, a standardized placement and usage for your logo make it easy for your potential clients to focus on your message. You don’t really even want them to notice the layout or design. You want them to focus on your message. Even your tone will communicate volumes to your potential clients about the service they can expect from you if they become clients.
A great (but unobtrusive) design and easy navigation cannot be overlooked. You don’t want them to have to spend a second in a frustrating hunt for what they need. Don’t leave them wondering how they get to where they want to go on your site. The frustrated web surfer is the one about to click away from the page. Take ten minutes to look at your content. Is it easy to navigate? Is it easy to get to your message?
Make sure you view everything you put online on each type of device your customer’s might use. View everything on a computer, a smart phone (both iPhone and Android) and on a tablet. Be sure that your message shows up well on whatever device your audience chooses.
You only have one chance to make a good first impression…
Fortunately it is easy (with a little thought beforehand) to get it right. That great first impression will help make your cash register sing!