In the real world, people judge books by their cover. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is. What impression is your “cover” sending to the world when they find you or research you?
It is human nature to seek shortcuts. When faced with new input, like being introduced to a person or product for the first time, we look for ways to categorize them and judge their importance and status to us as quickly as possible.
As the world gets busier, it only gets worse. The experts say that today, we have somewhere between 3 and 9 seconds to grab and keep someone’s attention. Your first impression on someone is more important today than ever.
Is Your “Good Enough” Good Enough?
As Direct Response Marketers, we are very familiar with the term “good enough is good enough” as we race to be prolific implementers taking massive action. After working with SMBs, Authors, and Professionals for over eight years, I have found many folks take that term too far, to the point of neglecting the quality of their first impressions.
Before the Internet, it was acceptable to be less fancy. Desktop publishing was limited, and you weren’t worse off than your competition. With today’s tools and affordable vendors, it is inexcusable to not dress up your materials.
At a recent conference, I witnessed an attendee, who was reading another marketer’s propaganda say “I wouldn’t hire this service, I wouldn’t give them a dime. They dress sharp, and if they’re making millions and can really help people make money, their materials and website don’t look like it!” The copy may have been great, but this prospect didn’t get past the cover to take it seriously. A perfect Message – Market – Media match won’t matter unless it gets read.
Takeaway From The “Branding” Guys
Having been raised by direct marketers, I admit to having neglected the look and feel of my businesses in the past. Your incredible sales copy may not get a chance if it doesn’t pass the sniff test.
One thing I learned from working with big brands and their ad agencies is that people are attracted to a brand or company by a “feeling”. Essentially, people choose to buy or work with those who they feel philosophically aligned with. The brand’s number one goal is to encapsulate their core values into a “look and feel” that can be quickly recognized and understood.
Because the term “Branding” carries a lot of baggage, I coined it “Core Imaging: The Expression Of Your Company’s Core Values”. Your values should be expressed across all channels of your marketing with a consistent look and feel.
We don’t brand just for the sake of branding, however having a consistent look and feel is practical and has many hidden benefits:
- A consistent look and feel telegraphs care and attention to detail – this transfers to how the prospect feels you will treat them
- It evokes trust in your product and service
- It removes a layer of doubt when you have premium fees
Tuning-Up Your Core Image
Express Your Core Story: What is your origin story? What makes you do what you do, and what does that look like? What is your point of differentiation? What is the language of your company? Create a Core Image document and get it all down on paper.
Express Your Values In Imagery: If your core values were a book, what colors would you use? What kind of photos or graphics would you use? What fonts would you use? Include your list in the Core Image document.
Express Your Image Across All Channels – Including Offline, All Digital, and Social Media: Start by tuning up your website and all of your landing pages. Be sure you are consistent with your Facebook page, YouTube channel, and Twitter.
Use your Core Image document as a filter when you create any content. Also use it when communicating with designers and other vendors. It is beneficial to consolidate your Core Imaging to a vendor who not only is expert in direct response, but also knows the importance of a consistent Core Image. For many New Mavericks, your web presence is your storefront – treat it with care, as you would a physical location where you would meet clients.
A Consistent ‘Look And Feel’ Converts
The next time a prospect lays their eyeballs on your stuff, and what they see passes the 3 second sniff test, your sales copy gets a shot.
When the prospect Googles you further, and your social properties match, you’ve quelled even more of their fears.
Congratulations! You’ve got their undivided attention, and a shot at converting even better, faster.