Let's not fool ourselves. Appearance matters. If you've ever scoped out a blind date on Facebook or generally trolled someone on social media, you understand the concept.
When we're talking about keeping up with current practices, this phenomenon is important. What you put out there for people to see matters.
Whether it's your personal/professional image or your business image, it is vital to take a calculated approach to what public façade you are presenting. If you're cognizant of the image you are putting forth then you know the importance it can have both for your personal brand and for your business.
Give your Place an Honest Face:
Much like someone might do for a blind date, people are scoping out your business before they ever get there. With the rise of Google maps, Google places, and Google Street view there is more information available about your business than ever before.
Instead of viewing this as a liability, embrace the fact that this perception is in your control. Take the tools available to consumers and leverage them to present your business in the best way possible.
If customers can scope you out before they ever set foot in your business, then make sure they like what they see.
Not that you should present anything false, but you are well within your rights to control the narrative a bit. Perhaps you spruce up your storefront to be little more appealing or focus your images on the more aesthetically pleasing areas of the business. If you can differentiate yourself by optimizing your public image then customers are more likely to choose you over your competitors. And who doesn't want that?
Optimize and Realize:
In optimizing your business image, it may help to start with the physical space. Perhaps a little paint, a new façade, or some other cosmetic changes can help improve your image for cheap.
Regardless of the changes you make, the physical facilities should translate well and be sufficiently appealing when they are translated into their online counterparts (Google places, street view etc.).
If you really boil it down, the essential requirements for your online presence are: people can find you, they like what they see and when they arrive, the reality meets their expectation.
Help them find you:
Over 3 billion searches monthly have localized terms in them. If a customer happens to be in your area looking for your service, obviously you want them to find you. Given that desire, it is important to have top visibility on local search queries. Creating an updated Google maps profile with all of the pertinent data can go a long way towards making that happen and will help consumers find you on a variety of platforms and devices.
Make them like what they see:
When your potential customers visit your places page, they should have a good idea of what you do.
Obviously location matters and physical facilities matter, but representing them in a positive light on your places page and using quality, crisp photos that accurately and positively represent your business and professional image can go a long ways towards acquiring a viewer's business.
What they see should be what they get. Do your best to present your business in an appealing, but honest fashion and only establish an expectation if you're ready to deliver on it.
Making virtual reality real:
One trap many businesses fall into is establishing expectations they can't possible deliver on. Don't let this be the case for your business and online presence.
If you find you are writing virtual checks you can't cash, try your best in reality to live up to the promises you're making to your clientele. If you want your business to look good, then make it a reality. Obviously funding can be an issue, but if you are able to acquire funds, it could pay long-term dividends. Invest in your business and make it a place your customers can invest in and feel comfortable bringing their repeat business to.
As with any marketing venture, you want to show what sets you apart. Building market share, acquiring new business and delivering on (or exceeding) expectations to retain customers should all be fundamental elements of your business. This should be the goal of all your outward communications. Start relationships on the right foot, continue to bring value to the table and control the narrative and you're well on your way to succeeding in the modern marketplace.
This post is brought to you by Bizlender.
Bizlender offers alternative funding solutions for established businesses.