A guide to playing the polished professional
You don’t get a second chance at making a strong first impression. When you’re a small business, first impressions can make or break your opportunity to win customers, so looking professional and creating a polished brand is imperative to making your business stand out from the crowd.
When larger competitors have whole departments dedicated to their branding, it’s not uncommon for small businesses to feel inferior. But looking as legitimate as bigger competitors doesn’t have to be difficult, nor do you need a small army of marketing employees on your side. With cost-effective tech tools at your disposal, polishing up your professional image can be simple.
So where do you start?
With a professional logo. According to data from Invoice2go, small businesses who take the time to reflect their branding on their invoices do more business (those using their logo on their invoices collect 83 per cent more in payments than those who don’t). In fact, 66 per cent of the top 1000 highest-earning small businesses using Invoice2go have their logo on their invoices. But why is this the case?
Because a professional image for your business and a brand that’s communicated in everything you do instils trust. Once you prove to a customer your business is legitimate, they’ll be more likely to trust you and give you their business.
How do you know what logo is right for your business?
This is where quality design comes into play. When thoughtfully designed and used across all your communications (from your website to your invoices), your logo can have a huge impact on customer recognition and trust.
A recent survey conducted by the global creative platform 99designs found that 42 per cent of business owners see design as a necessity in order to accomplish their goals. A logo that represents the attributes of your company can have a significant effect on customer engagement and, in turn, on company performance.
But many companies are missing out on key elements of great logo design. For example, 99designs recently identified that 65 per cent of entrepreneurs admitted “personal taste and preference” was the biggest factor in choosing colours for their logo, and nearly half said they did little to no research on the implications of colour psychology when choosing colours for their brand. A big mistake when you consider that a logo is the face of your business: it communicates your brand personality, boosts brand recognition and encourages loyalty in existing customers as they see it in different contexts.
Once your logo is established and you are confident that it is an accurate representation of your company, make sure it appears on all facets of your daily business dealings to maximise its impact.
Consider including your logo on these customer touchpoints to streamline your branding:
The first thing a website visitor should see when they visit your site is a logo. This will instantly give them a visual image of your brand and set the tone for whether they want to continue browsing the site. Also include the general information that customers usually need such as contact details, business hours and a list of your services. Avoid creating pages that say “under construction” or “coming soon”, as this can deter customers from visiting again. It’s fine to launch your website with a single page.
While your Yahoo or Gmail address is perfect for emails back and forth between friends and family, an email address that matches your company’s name looks far more professional when communicating with customers. A professional email address will reassure customers that their business dealings are secure, and an email signature will reinforce your brand even further. Including a logo on your signature alongside your contact details will remind the customer of your brand, give an aura of professionalism, and provide an easy reference point should they need to get in touch.
Estimates and invoices
Your job estimate is often your first formal piece of communication delivered to your customer. Use this as an opportunity to convey your brand and show you’re a professional. Add your logo, and any other design elements to estimates and invoices at the end of the job, so your message is seen at every stage. Use simple online and mobile tools like Invoice2go to create professional, fully itemised estimates and invoices that reflect your company’s brand.
Business cards are the go-to tool for word-of-mouth marketing. The trick is to elevate each design beyond normal expectations. A strong logo on a well-designed business card will help yours stand out from the pack. You want your potential customer to be impressed with the business card – so much so that they hold onto it, even if they don’t need your service at that moment.
Almost two thirds of consumers are more likely to trust a brand if they can interact with it in a positive way on social media. Therefore, it is important to identify where your customers congregate on social media, and develop a basic presence across those key channels. Placing your logo within your social posts and profiles increases your business exposure, generates leads and most importantly builds your brand.
You want customers to remember you when they require your product or service. With a simple, clear and attention-grabbing logo, you’ll be well on your way to differentiating your business from the competition.
Greg Waldorf, CEO, Invoice2go