In Netflix’s new Black Mirror episode “Nosedive”, they chronicle a world in which you rate, and are rated by your peers after every social interaction. This “5 Star” rating can dictate your good standing or ill repute within society. Fortunately, we don’t live in this technological twilight zone, but this cautionary tale says a lot about how we currently act with each other on social media and online. Ultimately, first impressions matter.
And while Black Mirror speaks to the pitfalls of such interactions, you have a chance to be genuine, forthright and informative online. If you have your own Weebly website or are interacting with potential online customers or clients in other capacities, here is what you need to know in order to put your best foot forward.
This may seem like a no brainer but you would be shocked by how many people take a blasé approach to quality images. If you are a personal trainer and the first thing a prospective customer sees on your website is your shirtless selfie do you really think they’re going to trust you as a fitness professional? If you think the image in question would make a cute Facebook profile picture then you’re probably barking up the wrong tree when it comes to projecting professionalism.
Don’t underestimate the power of professional photos, no matter the industry. There is a reason that if you have a listing on Airbnb that they will send a photographer to your home to ensure that your are putting your listing in the best position to succeed. They understand that we live in a visual society and the quality of your picture, or products picture, can be the difference between someone exploring your site further or clicking the back button.
Testimonials and Reviews
Testimonials and star reviews let new users know that there are other people out there who trust you or your product. Testimonials benefit from the domino effect as well. Once you get those first few reviews, more customers will buy what you're selling. In turn, those customers will leave more reviews and the cycle continues on from there.
Reviews should however, come with a warning label. For many people once you have lost their trust, you’ve lost it forever. If you aren’t prepared either for a spike in traffic or feel you may not be putting out your best product right off the bat, you may want to be strategic about when you give users the option to leave a review. How often have you been on Yelp and dismissed a three and half star rated restaurant as trash? Yeah, I’ve done it before too. No matter how ruthless, it’s a reality of running an online business. Utilizing tools like Google Places, companies like Trust Pilot, and tactics such as positive PR from experts, are all great ways to get reviews off the ground.
Know Your Audience
Knowing your customer expectations when it comes to website landing pages and online ads is essential. If you are a small business owner who runs their own website, running PPC (pay per click) ads online might seem like an expense you can’t afford. However, if you utilize Google’s keyword planner you can figure out exactly how many people are searching for your product or service on search engines.
Say you own a small boxing gym and don’t get many people signing up with you online, you can search the relevant long tail keywords for your particular business and see just how competitive those search terms are as well as the predicted cost per click (you can usually bid much lower than Google recommends as well…). From there, if you write copy for your ads that includes the known pain points, such as membership, price, and variety, people are more likely to click your ad over your competitors. If the content on your website is consistent with that on the ad then you just killed your first impression.