By Lonnie L. Sciambi
The Entrepreneur’s Yoda”
When it comes to image, perception IS reality. And first “perceptions” are critical. Your company image is formed in a prospect’s mind with their first contact, whether it be with your website, your marketing materials, your product pitches or the way your phone is answered. It will make an impression that will get you on the path to making them a customer…or one you may never overcome.
Young companies, especially, need to be aware of this. Customers want to deal with companies with whom they are comfortable and confident. That doesn’t always mean the largest company in the market, but ones that they want to business with, feel will best meet and service their needs… and are going to be around for a while to do so! When you’re small and struggling, when your resources are few and your confidence not as high as it could be, is when you have to make sure you’re not sounding small…or being defensive about being a young company. So what do you do?
Even with limited resources, in today’s marketplace, with the low-cost and free tools available, there should be no company that can’t create a very professional and exciting first impression. And your website will be the absolute first impression any prospective customer will have of your company because that’s where they either discover you or will look when the first hear about you. Make your website as much of a showcase as possible for the brand image you want to create in the market. Make it the center of all your marketing activities. Use graphics and good copy (get help with this if necessary) to make your company look and sound bigger and more successful than it might be – like a company folks just want to do business with. Now I’m not suggesting being untruthful. However, how you tell your story (highlighting the good parts and not talking about the lesser ones) is what creates your first impression. Make it a lasting one. All marketing materials and product pitches should follow the message and the “look and feel” you create on your website. And, make sure that anyone who has any direct contact with a prospect or customer, by phone or in-person, projects the image you’re trying to build and delivers the same message.
Establishing a blog can amplify your image by further establishing and building your credibility with both current and prospective customers and is linked to your website. Use other social media like Twitter and Facebook to drive people to both your blog and your website. Use a networking service like LinkedIn to help create more awareness of the executives in the company and to help expand your network of potential customers and partners.
If first impressions are critical and perception is reality, make the image you create form a lasting first “perception” that turns a prospect into a customer and a customer base into long-term success.
Lonnie L. Sciambi is “The Entrepreneur’s Yoda,” an advisor and mentor to small business owners, translating more than 30 years experience as an entrepreneur and CEO of small business to advice and solutions that help them master business success.
Blog site: theentrepreneursyoda.blogspot.com