So there are these two accountants…
Both have achieved identical qualifications and broadly speaking have the same experience, resources and team behind them.
A new client calls them both and agrees to meet them.
One turns up in a pin striped suit, nicely laundered shirt and shiny black shoes the other in jeans, t-shirt and scuffed trainers.
Now, the truth of the matter is that either of these people could probably provide excellent service and judging them on looks is unfair and unnecessarily prejudicial.
But here’s the problem, despite our best intentions many people will judge you on looks. Not that I’m saying you have to be groomed to within one inch of your life, moreover your image should be commensurate with the industry you’re in and (more importantly) the clients you serve.
The same goes for your online footprint. For the most part, existing and prospective clients will be viewing you through one screens worth of virtual real estate so it’s vital to get the look, feel and message spot on.
Here are 6 top tips to ensure what you project is perceived correctly:
1. Brand Consistency
Ensure you logos and brand standards are maintained throughout your online footprint including all your social channels (often forgotten).
2. Narrative Consistency
Beware of narrative inconsistency. Websites that have grown organically over the years may have a mish-mash of styles and tones making it jar for the reader. Better to have a professional copywriter check that what you are projecting is in keeping with who you are and who you are talking to. Savvy copywriters will also write Google friendly text that will significantly upgrade your SEO profile.
3. Relevant imagery
Pictures of the London skyline for a sole trader accountant based in Horsham send a confusing and inappropriate message to clients and prospects. Use real world images of your team, products and services to give visitors real insight into who you are and what you do. Avoid at all costs that stock photograph of a cheesily happy business team pointing at a computer screen and looking smug.
4. Don’t be afraid to personalise
Following on from point 3, use a personal brand where possible to get a more direct engagement with your audience. We have a client where most of the traffic is derived from team pages. There is always a balance to be had in projecting an image that is “big enough to cope, small enough to care” but think of Virgin and you will see Richard Branson in your minds eye. Real people are attractive and eye catching.
5. Get visitors to recognise themselves within your brand
Invariably visitors are on your site because they are interested in your products and/or services so communicate to them visually and verbally with words and pictures that allow them to recognise themselves within your business.
6. A Hotmail account for business, really?
Lovely website but your email does not relate to it. Please, please, please ditch the personal email account for a professional one i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org. Please.
So, in summary, projecting the right image is a vital tool in being perceived as a reliable, trusted supplier.
Now where did you put that mirror?