Entrepreneurial Quote of the Day:
“The most important persuasion tool you have in your arsenal is integrity.” ~Zig Ziglar
Hello Fabulous Women!
There are many of you out there who, like myself, have a business whose primary presence and existence are on the internet and phone, even if you also have a physical business location. For myself, the great majority of my clients and blog readers are located all over the country, or even the world, and we have never met in person!
For any service-oriented business, from legal services to design to coaching, from editing to real estate to marketing, prospective customers or clients need to feel a sense of connection and trust and confidence before they will consider doing business with you. If they meet you in person, you have that chance to connect with them and start to create a relationship. But what if their first contact with you is not in person, but on your website?
There are many elements involved in starting to create that sense of trust and confidence online. Simple things, like making sure you have no typos, have a huge impact. A site that is easy to navigate, copy that makes sense and engages people – all of these elements and others work together to create that critical first impression.
But one of the most important and effective ways to make a connection with your potential clients or customers is to have a great picture of yourself, a picture that captures your personality and draws people in. This isn’t appropriate for every business, but for many, a great picture of you is a powerful way to start to build rapport.
Let’s face it, we all are much more likely to do business with people we like than with those we don’t like or don’t feel connected to, and a great picture can instantly create that feeling of affinity, and have us thinking “that looks like someone I’d like to know!” A bad or boring picture can also be a real turn off.
For myself, as part of my rebranding of my business and website, I recently had professional pictures taken by a wonderful photographer here in the Rhode Island area, Pamela Bhatia. I had been using a snapshot picture of myself, which had a good feel to it, but was certainly not a high quality, professional picture, and I decided it was high time I went ahead and got the great picture I really wanted for my site.
That was the easy part – and very fun, Pamela was great to work with! The hard part is choosing which picture to use. Since I’ve learned that it is almost impossible to be objective about myself – and especially about the way I look! – I decided to include three of the pictures I am considering using, and am asking you to let me know which one you think would be the best picture for my website.
I highly recommend that when you are choosing pictures for your website (or any use in your business), you do this as well. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that you are the best judge of what picture will look best and be most effective. Even professional photographers and design people will tell you, the hardest thing to be objective about is themselves and their own appearance!
If you have a blog or email group, you can ask your readers to help, but at the very least ask at least ten people to give you their input. You will almost certainly find that the image others find most compelling is not the one you would have picked!
Here are the three images to choose from (none will have the photographer’s tag on them when used):
Any of you who are willing, I would love it if you would send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what your first choice is, 1, 2 or 3. Take a look at my homepage at www.ontrackandonpurpose.com to see where the picture will be located, which may help you decide which is the best picture for that use (as opposed to just the picture you like best).
Finally, I do want to encourage you all to take the time and invest in a great professional picture of yourself, if you haven’t already done so. You deserve it, you’ve earned it, and you and your business are worth it!
For those of you in the Southern New England area, I highly recommend Pamela Bhatia, she is absolutely wonderful and easy to work with and I love her photographs! Her website is www.pamelabhatia.com. For those of you in the NYC area, I have had a great recommendation for photographer Judy Schiller, whose work you can see at www.fotoqueen.com.
If any of the rest of you have recommendations for photographers in other locations, please share them with us all by leaving a comment on this blog post or emailing me with the information. This includes yourself, if any of you are photographers – please let us know!
Thanks in advance to all of you who give me your feedback on which picture to put on my website. Please know that I’m always happy to reciprocate with quick feedback on aspects of your business you want another opinion on – I confess, opinions are not something I ever run out of! It’s a girl thing, helping each other out, and it makes the work much more fun and enjoyable to keep those female qualities of connecting and community in the mix, even as we each work on our own endeavors, all over the world!
Have a fabulous day!