{branding} you have 5 seconds to make a good impression


think about that. 5 seconds. someone clicks on your site (website, made-it page, etsy store, facebook page, email flyer, whatever it is.) what do they see? what is their first impression? how do you compare to similar sites? can they tell right away what you sell? can they tell right away if you are the right fit for them?

i look at every page of every biz that visits build a little biz. most of them don't stand out either way. some stand out for being awesome: either they have a great name, a great logo, a great tagline or something about their brand catches my eye. and unfortunately some of them stand out for being not very good at all. sometimes i visit sites and cringe.

here are some examples (in case you were wondering what qualifies as cringe-worthy) – font that does not match the rest of the brand, text that i cannot read, colour combinations that hurt my eyes, pixelated or grainy images, stock-art or clip-art logos, names that are difficult to say/read/pronounce, or an image that screams ‘i made this myself in about 5 minutes with no skill or talent’. (sorry to be harsh, but i am purposely trying to be blunt here.)

right now: go look at 5 sites that are in a similar market to yours. what do you notice right away? (good or bad.) what is your eye drawn to? what stands out? would you remember that biz? what suggestions would you have for that biz owner?

now go look at 5 sites of businesses that you really admire or aspire to be like one day. what is it about those sites you admire? what is your eye drawn to? what message does their ‘look’ send to you about their biz and their products?

now go look at your own site. how does it compare? you are going to need to be really honest with yourself here. which is tough, i get it. but i think it is time to man up and look the image you portray with fresh, realistic eyes.

i often have people say to me about their logo/banner/image “i made it myself and i love it!” or “my husband thinks it is fine the way it is!” or “i asked my mom and my whole family and they all think it is great!” okaaaaay..... that is nice and all, but those people support and love you no matter what you do. it is like when you tell your two year old that her drawing is beautiful. it is not really, the girl can barely hold a crayon, but you love her and you are proud of her accomplishments so that makes it beautiful in your eyes. of course it does!

but think about it: your husband/mum/sister/niece/bestfriend are not the ones you are trying to attract to your biz. they are going to love it no matter what. but what about that complete stranger who is stopping by your site for the first time? what are they going to see? what are they going to think?

i also see people putting in a lot of time to building a website, creating an online store, adding tabs and applications to their facebook pages. none of those things are going to help you if people leave your site after 5 seconds because it just ain’t doing it for them. before you take one more action to build your biz, invest some time and money into making the most of your first impression.

and by the way, i get that you might be just starting out and maybe you are just doing this as a hobby for now, and maybe you don’t see yourself as a professional yet. but until such time that you are a professionally run business... FAKE IT!get something up that makes a great first impression. if you don’t, you’re losing clients, wasting an opportunity and creating a brand that screams amateur – all within 5 seconds.

i am creating a workbook that will help you to build a kick ass professional brand, step by step. it will include awesome extras such as access to an online forum and one-on-one feedback about your brand. click here to find out more and to be on the advance notice list for this great product.