The importance of making a good first impression online
Last year we decided to re-brand PDX and introduce a new website and I am very pleased we did. The re-design has produced a tenfold increase in visitors and genuine enquiries, some of whom are now customers utilising our warehousing, fulfilment and distribution services. It astounds me how straight-forward the ‘move’ was. Compare that to the process of selling my house – another major move I’ve been involved in this year – I would be forgiven for feeling a little exasperated.
Unlike selling a house, we could control and influence our web and content whereas the house sale is in the lap of the Gods (or Estate Agents as we call them), who are good, but where are Kirsty & Phil when you need them?!
Meanwhile, I have learnt a lot about the importance of Curb Appeal because it’s a well- known fact that first impressions count, so I’ve kept the driveway, flower beds and grass all neat and tidy and waited for people to flock to view. But despite my best efforts it was more of the odd flutter than flock! By comparison, our websites refreshed ‘curb appeal’ has had the desired effect.
So why is it so many businesses who are trading online still have such poor curb appeal?
Remember back in the mid-nineties when websites were a bit of a novelty? They didn’t really serve much of a purpose and, all things considered, were pretty hideous to look at. Common design features were primary colours, flashing letters and poorly made pictures. As the web has evolved considerably over the last couple of decades, site design and functionality have changed massively, too. Unfortunately, (and surprisingly) there are some websites that are still stuck in a bit of a time warp.
Let’s face it. Out-dated and poorly produced websites are not going to create the impact they need to sustain the visitor beyond that negative first impression (which is 2 seconds or less of arriving on the website) before they go elsewhere. Not only because consumers have become much more savvy and discerning online, but because we all have this innate ‘judge a book by its cover’ mentality.
It really is not enough to just be online – you need to have a presence, to showcase something that is both appealing and full of sustenance at best. Otherwise your ‘shop window’ will be as underwhelming and static as my house sale has been lately!
Does your website have ‘curb appeal’?
Our core business concern is being the best service provider we can be to the variety of business that have come to trust and rely on us as business partners. As part of that trust and responsibility (especially for the online order fulfilment side of the business), we wholly become our clients brand ambassadors. That is how tightly our relationship is tied to one another. So to be completely frank with you, the better our customers do, the better we do. And sometimes all it takes is small steps to achieve big changes.
The fact is, today, with more than 90% of buyers shopping online, that curb appeal or shop window is a virtual one. (I guess we need to call it ‘cyber appeal’ now, and ‘web-window shopping’?). The speed at which we make these snap judgements / first impressions online are much the same as our offline ones. A whole world of choice has opened up to us now and our attention spans have become smaller as a consequence. Therefore, it has not become increasingly important, but essential for online businesses to put their best foot forward and present themselves and their wares in the most appealing and attractive way they can.
You are your best brand ambassadors for your business.
So whilst you are exceptionally good at what you do and very adept at selling your product or service face-to-face, you are next to useless with a camera, hopeless with designing a logo or building a website, no nothing about Googles robots and spiders or SERPS (Search Engine Results Page Snippets) then you need to call in the professionals and let them give your business the face-lift and performance boost it needs and deserves.
What putting our best-foot-forward has done for us…
…it has been nothing short of a success. It has not only reinvigorated our brand and our bottom-line, but it’s the little things that our new solid, professional and appealing first impression gives to our sense of pride and ambition in our business and our day-to-day activities.