Why First Impressions Matter in the Digital Age 

In today's digital landscape, first impressions happen in the blink of an eye. Studies show we form an opinion about someone online in a mere fraction of a second. That's powerful! 
 
For solopreneurs who are the face of their brand like us, this means our online presence is crucial. Every element, from your social media posts to your website and LinkedIn profile picture, contributes to the image you project to the world. 
 
The good news? You have complete control over this narrative. People make snap judgements based on visuals and overall vibes, so you want to ensure yours scream "expert" and "established authority." 
 
We all make judgements – it's simply human nature. But the key is to remember that you control the story! By crafting a confident, authentic online presence that reflects your unique style and expertise, you set the tone for how potential clients perceive you. 
 
It’s commonly said that we have seven seconds to make a first impression, but the latest research I could find was in Psychological Science Magazine, July 2006 and it had reduced to one tenth of a second! And that was bloody years ago, so I think it’s fair to expect that by now we’ve got even less time to make a good impression these days. 

Online First Impressions: Why They Matter More Than Ever 

Think about all the different places as a woman in business, where you make a first impression. It could be on social media, it could be your website, it might your profile pictures on LinkedIn or Facebook or any of the places where you are showing up daily online as well as in real life. When you turn up at networking events and client meetings – even on Zoom, people make conscious and subconscious judgements. Little details all add up to us making these split-second decisions 
 
Even though none of us like to think we’re being “judgy”, we are. We are all judging all the time, whether it’s a conscious thing or not. There is scientific proof that we very seldom change what we think about somebody once we have formed that first impression. Instead, apparently, we start looking for evidence to support our opinion. 
 
The Science of People Research Lab conducted a survey asking 209 people their opinions on first impressions. Here are the important statistics you should know: 
 
95% of people believe first impressions are very important 
 
68% believe their first impressions of others are accurate 
 
This is why your personal branding and brand identity is so important. How you AND your business show up is sending messages out to the world. We as humans do actually judge a book by its cover. Don't be afraid to inject your personality. Use high-quality visuals that capture your brand identity and resonate with your ideal audience.  Remember, there's no single "right" way to present yourself.  The key is to feel comfortable and confident in your own skin – that authenticity shines through! 
 
When you project confidence and expertise online, you're not just making a good first impression – you're building trust and attracting clients who resonate with your brand. It’s not just about pretty pictures and looking good on the outside, being all ‘top show’. It’s about how you treat potential clients too. 

A Lost Client: How a Poor Online Presence Can Sabotage Your Business 

Here’s a real life story of how, when you get it wrong, you are leaving money on the table. 
 
 A while ago, I was chatting with a friend about a challenge we both share. She had recently started working with someone to help her with it and the results to date were promising. She spoke very highly of them. I expressed an interest in the persons work and took their name. 
 
My research began. 
 
Social media – I’ll check Facebook first. I find their personal page which does have a link to their business page. That’s a big tick. I follow the link. 
 
Unfortunately, though, their content is not that informative. In fact, it’s hard to tell how they work or what they even do from the sporadic posts. There doesn’t seem to be any consistency in when, or how often they post. Sometimes there are big gaps of 3-4 weeks, then a few posts about a variety of topics (none of which are relevant to what I’m looking for). I’m left feeling a bit confused and unable to find any content that inspires me or backs up what my friend was saying. 
 
There is, however, a link to a website. Maybe that’s where they post all the good stuff? I’ll take a look. Disappointingly that’s not much better. It appears very amateurish; the colours and branding are not consistent with anything I saw on Facebook. It’s not mobile optimised either so not a great user experience. It turns out to be just a one-page website. There’s no real information to read up on. It doesn’t inspire confidence. Just a contact page for me to put my contact details in and a checklist of issues I could choose from on what I wanted help with. Based on what I’ve seen so far, I don’t have faith in leaving my contact details. 
 
Because my contact spoke quite highly of them, saying they really knew their stuff I didn’t want to be put off by this first impression. I go back to their personal Facebook page which seems a bit more current as there is evidence of them having changed their profile picture. I decided to send a message on Messenger. Yay! Result! They got back to me within 30 minutes. I explained that they’d been referred by my friend. I asked if they’d be open to booking a call to chat about the issues, I wanted help with. I got a friendly message back, gave them my number and left it that they would call me the following day, which was a Friday. 
 
The call never came. 
 
I figured something must’ve cropped up. I didn’t expect a call over the weekend but thought maybe Monday I’d hear something. I didn’t though. By this time, I’m not having such a great customer experience so far… 

Messy Online Presence Cost Her a Client 

A week or so later my friend got in touch to see what had happened. (Or not happened more to the point.) I explained there’d been no chat despite a call being arranged, she seemed surprised and said she would remind them of me. I thought then maybe I’d get a call or a message to apologise and rearrange. Sadly, still nada… 
 
Had I got a message saying, ‘so sorry I missed our call, can we reschedule?’ I’d have been happy to do that and based on the outcome of that conversation I would have probably spent money with that person. Maybe they are doing so well in business that the attention to these details doesn’t matter. 
 
Instead of handing over my hard-earned cash, I was left thinking about what I learned about the importance of customer experience. I pondered the lessons I could take from this and what I needed in place to make sure that I look after my potential clients, so they don’t fall through the net like I did with them. 
 
I appreciate it’s tricky when you are a one-woman band to keep all the plates spinning. I know I’m not perfect, but I’ve learned that outsourcing tasks that aren’t your area of expertise is where it’s at as soon as you can afford it. 
 
I’d hate to get a reputation for being flaky because I’m not organised and don’t have a system in place…I found this quote and it really resonated with me. 
 
“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” Henry Ford. 
16 Website Must-Haves to Turn Visitors into Clients 
Because of my experience I felt inspired to create a checklist and will be working through it asap. I’m aiming towards getting 10/10 for all of the questions: 
 
1.      Am I easy to find on social media? 
 
2.      Same recognisable profile photo across all social media channels so you know it’s me. 
 
3.      Recent posts across my social media that make it clear who I help and how I do it. 
 
4.      Do all my links on social media work properly. 
 
5.      Does my website look up to date and professional? 
 
6.      Is my website easy for people to navigate? 
 
7.      Is it obvious who I work with and how I do it? 
 
8.      Do my blogs provide free advice across my areas of expertise? 
 
9.      Are there opportunities for potential clients to sign up for a freebie/taster? 
 
10.  Do I have a range of different priced products/services to choose from? 
 
11.  Are my prices current? 
 
12.  Are there FAQ’s that might be helpful? 
 
13.  Are there testimonials from happy clients across the range of services I offer? 
 
14.  Am I happy with how my digital presence represent me and my business? 
 
15.  How do I record and follow up inbound enquiries? 
 
16.  How do I look after my clients once they invest with me? 
 
Is there anything you would add to my list- either as a client or a fellow business owner? 
FAB Business Club : female authentic ballsy 
This community is really special. It's got the most amazing vibe going on. It’s a safe space where you can metaphorically fling off your bra. It’s women empowering women and providing a circle of support because being in business can be a lonely place. 
 
It's a supportive business network with personal development and a heart centred vibe at the core of the community – no pressured referrals or other stuff you don’t like about networking. It’s birds of a feather networking and growing their businesses together, sharing collective wisdom, a place to thrive and celebrate camaraderie. It’s a space where you feel like you have come home. 
 
We have monthly meetings, online and face to face events. Your first meeting is free, hit me up for a complimentary 'Golden Ticket' to see if we're a good fit. 
The paid membership includes an option to upgrade your networking to include personal style and brand mentoring with me. There's also free FB group if you’re not ready to invest just yet. Come and join in the conversation. 
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