Growing up, you were probably taught not to judge a book by its cover, right?
Here’s the deal, though…
This “golden rule” doesn’t apply to the rapid-fire world of marketing and advertising.
(Sorry, mom and dad!)
Appearances matter. Period.
Oftentimes, appearances matter a whole lot more than we’d care to admit.
And this is especially true for marketers who feel “not quite there” in terms of their advertising ROI.
Hint: if you’re not satisfied with your conversions, it might have quite a bit to do with how you’re presenting yourself.
What do I mean by that?
Uncovering the “hidden price” of presentation
Here’s a classic story that illustrates the sheer power of presentation for marketers.
A true story, too.
Flashback to the 1970s.
Wide-eyed newlyweds Mel and Patricia Ziegler decide that they’re going to travel the world.
Unfortunately, there’s something holding them back from their big adventure…
Strapped for cash and frustrated with their dead-end gigs at the San Francisco Chronicle, the Zieglers decide to ditch the grind and go into business for themselves.
Oh, and they also decided to start their world tour too, despite having near to nothing in their pockets.
Throwing caution to the wind, their travels eventually bring them to Australia.
While in the bush, Mel picks up a local, outback-style jacket for a couple of bucks, which he eventually brings back to the States.
The Zieglers were so infatuated with Mel’s “safari look,” they decided on a whim to start up their own clothing company.
They had no business experience, by the way.
No fashion background. No investors, either.
Just the bizarre idea to sell safari garb.
Sounds like the makings of a disaster, right?
Not so fast.
After all, the disco era was in full swing and that “Saturday Night Fever” world of polyester was a pretty miserable time for fashion, but a window of opportunity for our couple in question.
Going “all in” on the safari craze, the Zieglers visited a surplus store in town and spend the bulk of their cash on a shipment of paratrooper shirts that cost around two bucks each.
They sewed elbow patches onto them, stitched up the bottoms, and figured they could sell the shirts for profit at a local flea market.
During their first sale, they charged $6.75 a pop and sold four total.
Yeah, you read that right: a grand total of four units sold.
Not a great start for their new venture, to say the least.
Dejected but not defeated, the couple decided to try something different during the following weekend’s flea market.
Patricia decided to make a few quick alterations to their inventory.
She belted the shirts, rolled up the sleeves, and put a sign on the table that read “Short-Armed Paratrooper Shirts.”
Oh, and one more thing:
The Zieglers also doubled the price of their goods
And guess what…
They sold every single shirt.
All of ’em. In one day.
In an instant, the Zieglers experienced the irrational power of presentation.
They saw firsthand the concept of perceived value, based on price, and price alone.
Who in their right mind would double the price of something at a flea market of all places?
But with the exact same product and subtle change in presentation, their shirts doubled in value.
Piggybacking on the success of those initial sales, the Zieglers continued to sell safari shirts and eventually decided to open a small retail store.
Their success grew and grew (and they eventually sold to The Gap in 1983).
Their brand was called…
Banana Republic Travel & Safari Clothing Company.
Yep, the same Banana Republic you’re familiar with today (even though the safari theme has been phased out).
Why marketers need to dress themselves up
The takeaway here?
You don’t want your business to look like something that you might come across in the proverbial bargain bin.
Instead, we want to be the premiere display on the mannequin.
While some marketers might romanticize the idea of the shaggy, flip-flop clad entrepreneur that breaks all the rules, 99% of businesses owners could benefit from dressing themselves up, so to speak.
I’m not talking about a full-blown marketing overhaul, either.
You don’t have to play a character to be an effective marketer.
You can still be you.
At the same time, ask yourself…
What are you doing to signal you should be taken seriously by your prospects when they spot you online?
Because if you’re not establishing a perception of value, you’re going to have trouble attracting the right kind of prospects (let alone getting paid).
The good news?
Dressing up your business is arguably easier than ever with the tools and tactics available today.
A step-by-step guide to “looking the part”
Reality check: the Internet is maturing and your prospects are savvier than ever.
In response, your online presence needs to look reputable and authoritative at every turn.
Facebook. Email. Your blog. You name it.
No tricks, no gimmicks.
Just a clean-cut look that’ll help you impress your prospects and score more business.
Now, let’s dive into the specific steps you need to take to make it happen!
With your website, you have literal milliseconds to subconsciously grab the attention of your visitors and send a message that screams…
“Hey, I’ve got exactly what you’re looking for!”
First impressions count, and your website’s design and imagery represent the crucial initial contact between you and your prospects.
But if your site looks like little more than a generic template riddled with stock images from 2005, you’re not going to “wow” many visitors.
Now don’t get it twisted: templates are awesome for getting started and sometimes we have to get by on freebies at first.
Yet you can’t afford to look like every other business on the block if you want to stand out.
And while acquiring creative assets like a custom logos and banners might have cost an arm and a leg a decade ago, they’re dirt cheap for marketers today.
Services like Fiverr and 99designs are lifesavers for business owners looking to dress up their websites on a budget.
Offering up a competitive marketplace of designers, you can source everything from site headers to featured banners and everything betwixt and between for next to nothing.
Want your very own minimalist logo à la Apple or Nike?
Yeah, you can get that, too.
Given that many projects start for as little as $5 on these platforms, the ROI for these sorts of assets is absolutely nuts.
For what you might spend on a few trips to Starbucks, you could totally take your site out of “template mode” and into professional territory.
Not a bad deal, right?
As information consumers, we’re all incredibly visual.
We’re serial scanners.
Here at EMP, you might notice that we brand each and every one of our blog posts with nifty images (like the ones you see above).
These graphics not only serve as branding tools, but also are designed to pique the interest of our followers on social media via the included text.
Creating your own custom-branded graphics for your headers, blog posts, and social content is a subtle yet significant piece of appearing “top-shelf.”
Again, rather than relying on generic imagery, you can cement your brand identity and signal you take your business seriously.
Think about it…
Nobody wants to work with an amateur.
Now, I know what you’re thinking…
“I’m a marketer, not a graphic designer! Am I supposed to shell out for this stuff each an every time I write a blog post or come up with an offer?”
Thanks to tools such as Canva, you can actually create your very own imagery for absolutely free.
Facebook banners. Blog images. Email headers. The works.
Canva provides a series of image templates that you can totally customize based on your brand’s color scheme and tone.
The free version allows you to choose from a myriad of fonts and other creatives, representing the perfect tool for those of us who aren’t exactly artistically inclined (myself included).
Once you’ve created a few graphics, you can easily roll out your own templates time and time again, which are synonymous with your brand.
Definitely beats the heck out of stock images or plain text!
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but is easy to overlook when everyone’s an amateur photographer thanks to their smartphones.
Simply put, a high-quality headshot represents major marketing firepower.
Perfect for your site headers, opt-in banners and email signature, including photos of yourself throughout your marketing is low-hanging fruit for making a personal connection with your prospects.
And while there is no such thing as the “perfect” photo for your business, here are some tips that’ll get you pretty damn close based on the psychology of photography:
- When in doubt, put on a smiling face (but don’t squinch)
- Literally dress up for your photo (think: collared shirt versus your favorite concert tee)
- Don’t go overboard on editing, filters, and color
- Torso shots from the shoulders-up are ideal
Again, it’s all about perception and value.
A high-res headshot signals that you’re putting effort into your appearance as opposed to the random selfie you took in front of your shower curtain.
Even if your online presence is clean-cut from a visual perspective, there’s still one last hurdle to overcome.
No matter what you’re saying or selling, your prospects are skeptics.
And they have every right to be.
In order to seal the deal, you need to provide that final knockout punch that not only proves that you look the part, but can also walk the walk.
There’s no “right” way to show off your credibility, and doing so is probably a lot easier than you might think.
- Have you produced positive results on behalf of a client or customer? Ask for a testimonial and plaster it on-site.
- Has someone ever complimented you via Twitter or Facebook? Slap a screenshot on your latest blog post.
- Recently publish an amazing piece of content? Link to it in your email signature for your list to see.
When you’re able to provide concrete proof that you’re worth working with, a light bulb goes off in your prospects’ heads.
You look the part. You talk the part.
No red flags, just results.
That’s how you score business that runs like a well-oiled machine.
What does your online presence say to your prospects at a glance?
Recall the key to increasing your earning potential isn’t always about what you’re selling, but rather how you present yourself.
It starts by understanding what message you’re sending to prospects and how you can fine-tune it.
For the Zieglers, all it took was a bit of a price hike and a snazzy slogan.
Simple, but sometimes that’s all it takes.
Your prospects have no shortage of options when it comes to who they buy from.
If you want to attract the best products, you need to step up your presentation game.
Because until you consciously communicate trust, value and respectability that go hand in hand with being a legitimate business, you’re going to be stuck in the flea market.
And with the tools and tactics outlined above, you can stand head and shoulders above your competitors in terms of how you’re presenting yourself.
Are you making the most of your first impressions?
Once you’ve given your business the proverbial “makeover” it deserves, a significant question still remains…
How do you get significantly MORE prospects to see your new “dressed up” online presence (so you can convert them into customers like a boss)?
Because you’ll need a proven system to generate eyeballs and impressions, grow your audience, and send super-targeted traffic your way.
And if that sounds like something you might be interested in, you’re in luck!
Here at Elite Marketing Pro, we’ve put together a step-by-step tutorial that reveals our exact advertising process in a 100% FREE online workshop, hosted by none other than Tim Erway, our co-founder and CEO, who’s responsible for generating over 30 million dollars in online revenue (and counting).
You’ll discover how you can put together a profitable ad campaign in just 10 minutes a day with as little as $10 in initial ad spend.
We’ve used the exact formula to turn a $10 test campaign into $141,246.30 in sales.
And Tim will show exactly how we did it.
(Including a few timeless strategies the likes of John Deere, Michelin, and Jello used to make millions.)
So if you haven’t registered yet, what are you waiting for?
Here’s to your success!
Director of Content
Elite Marketing Pro