Marketing research tells us that people make buying decisions either based on trust, on emotions and connection, or both. The artistry of using your brand images strategically and intentionally is powerful enough to build–or break–those connections and push clients from on the fence to booking. Raising your brand image is about consistent reinforcement of your expertise and value through purposeful image placement.
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For you to book the client, you first have to make a great impression.
When someone is searching for a product or service, they will compare you to your competitors, Pinterest-worthy ideals, and the brands that have professional marketing teams. People are bombarded with perfectly curated social media content and targeted ads all the time, raising the bar for captivating content.
As a small business owner, appearing professional and experienced is critical to building trust. The care you put into your first impressions and client experience–including their visual experience–says that you are thorough, detail-oriented, intentional, and your work is not sloppy.
Consistency in branding and appearance is a sign of a healthy business. It’s like having running water. You don’t really notice or appreciate it most of the time. But when it’s not there, you are suddenly aware! Even if your business is otherwise fantastic, people notice when you don’t take care of your online presence.
Leaving outdated, inaccurate, or irrelevant content online is another way to break trust with potential clients and lose them in the booking process. Once a year, you should be evaluating your client workflow to find all the places people are hearing about you.
For example, what does your Google Business profile look like? Is there an unclaimed Yelp page floating out there? Do you have old blog posts with inactive sign up links on them? Are your headshots super dated? Are you using different headshots on each platform? It’s time to do a sweep! Update those business hours, services, and brand photos everywhere you see them each year. Keep a list of places where your information is published so your next audit is even quicker. This will ensure you are findable, recognizable, and look professional throughout the web.
Consistency is the key to a strong online brand. Your headshots will only take you so far. Your ideal clients want to get to know the authentic you. Offering impactful images that show who you are and the story of your brand will grow your audience and build a quality online brand.
Your website makes it obvious what you offer. (If not, it should! What does the first paragraph say?) But remember, people buy into products or services when they feel a connection with the person behind the brand. Given two equal options, are you buying cupcakes from the baker you know nothing about, or the baker whose daughter named all their cupcake flavors after her favorite book series? This silly example shows how brand storytelling brings you more clients. People not only want to know more about the brands they support, they’ll pay more for the same services if they feel an emotional connection!
Most business owners are not also masters of visual branding, graphic design, and content marketing. These are three unique skills that it takes to pull off high end branding implementation. But making an effort will go a long way towards raising your brand image. The more put together you appear, the easier it will be to gain your client’s trust and help them recognize your value.
Remember what I said about neglecting your social media presence? Getting out there and telling your story consistently is one of the ways you can build that emotional connection with your clients. Keep reminding them who you are, what you do, why you do it, and what makes you different–nay, better!–than your client’s alternative options. You are the one amazingly unique thing setting your business apart from others like it. Don’t be shy about that!
Personal brand imagery is an investment in yourself and your business. It enhances the client experience and raises the perceived value of your services. In the same way that clients are willing to pay more when they have an emotional connection to a brand, they’re also willing to pay more when they perceive a service as high-end, luxury, or more valuable. You create (or even degrade) value in the way that you present and talk about yourself and your business.
It takes the average person seven interactions with a brand before they make a purchase. Seven seems like a lot, but today, most of these are quick digital exchanges.
Everyone’s “seven touches” will look different, and you probably have multiple paths to becoming a customer in your business. Evaluate how people find and book you. Ask yourself:
The visual elements, verbiage, and information should be consistent, on-brand, and clear. Otherwise, it’s easy for a potential customer to get turned off by the inconsistency and not progress to the next step.
For example, if I inquired with a business I was familiar with, and received an email back with a signature that didn’t identify them, had a headshot that looked really outdated–or like it might be someone else!–I would be confused. You never want to give clients a reason to second guess booking with you, even if it’s just a surface level impression.
Thinking about how your clients find and book you, write down some places where you haven’t personalized your appearance but would like to. Here are some often forgotten places you can implement personal brand imagery to raise your overall brand image right now:
It is really common for clients to be super excited about their new personal branding images, but not know how to use them correctly. I want to support my client’s businesses and see them grow. This means now just taking your photos, but giving you actionable steps towards raising your brand image, increasing your value, and being more successful. I offer support after your personal branding session in order to help you make the most out of your investment in your brand. Just reach out!