What Does Your Business Look Like Online?

Your business has something fantastic to offer.

You’re an expert in your field. You care about your customers and you help them solve real problems.

This may all be true, but what happens when a prospect Googles your business? What if it’s nowhere to be found, or worse, your competitor comes up in the top spot? What about when they look you up on social media and see a grainy, outdated head shot? What about a hard-to-navigate website, or a social profile riddled with spelling errors (or with no content at all)?

Even if you’re an industry leader, if your online presence tells a different story, that story is keeping you (right now!) from getting sales.

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It may sound shallow, but it’s the truth: when we’re online, digital images and words are equivalent to first impressions.

Your prospects can’t get the warmth of your handshake or the sense of your personality like they would through a direct conversation. Instead, they get what they see — and if what they see isn’t polished, they’re going to doubt your credibility.

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I know because I went through this. This is a quick story about when I was freelance writing, and it’s a story about the best investment I ever made — one that took me from that abhorred “feast or famine” freelance lifestyle to earning a stable income and enough to retire my husband early!

The investment I made was $120. That’s it. I spent $120 on professional head shots and replaced my profile photos on my online networking channels.

Suddenly, I started getting invited to jobs on Upwork. I was making new connections and sales on LinkedIn. The shady clients looking for cheap work fell away, and I developed relationships with clients of a higher caliber, relationships that I still maintain to this day.

This shift impacted my actual behavior with a powerful ripple effect: I started learning new skills, expanding my reach online, creating and improving my website, and honing my service offerings. I started to see myself differently. I saw myself as someone who wasn’t afraid to take up space in the world, someone who cared enough to invest actual money and time in my business.

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I ultimately grew my freelance business-of-one into a content marketing agency of many.

The more time and money I invested in my organic content — from web pages and blog posts to social posts and email marketing — the less I had to work at garnering leads, nurturing leads, and making sales.

People would come to me already pre-sold on my expertise, with their wallets out, ready to get started.

Those head shots were only $120, but they triggered a new path for me. I went from looking like every other freelancer on the internet who can take selfies with a smartphone, to a legitimate professional who kept up with changing times and cared deeply about her own professional development.

Is it unfair that something as shallow as this was what finally set me apart from the competition, and led to more and more job offers over the following months? Maybe. Does that make it less important and less true? Absolutely not.

What mattered, and continues to matter online, was perception.

Businesses who establish and maintain a positive online image succeed more than those who still see it as “optional.” Everyone’s online, including your customers. What do they see when they look at you?

If you’re serious about building up your business and creating (or improving) your image online, let’s talk.