LESSON FOUR: LOOK THE PART WITH A POLISHED BRAND STYLE
Branding is all about how people identify your business and how they experience your business. It’s a whole, well-rounded package that definitely includes a well-designed website, professional (or at least high-quality) photos, and a consistent brand style and color palette. A cohesive brand helps you look more professional, reliable, and capable, especially when attracting higher-paying clients who only want to hire the most capable they can find!
In this exercise, we’re breaking down the whole idea of branding into the tangible parts, those parts that you can control and physically change. Think of your brand image from Step Two. How do you want to come across to those 6-7 figure clients? Put yourself in THEIR shoes, too. If YOU had that kind of money and clout, what would you think if you stumbled upon your own website or social profiles? When in doubt, ask for some feedback from an impartial business peer, mastermind member, or online branding expert.
Obviously, your website is the hub of your online activities. Your home base, your business card, your resume, and your blog. Everything there is to know about your business (with the exception of your financial records) should be available on your website.
Look closely at the design and think about these questions:
- Does it look professional or DIY?
- What do the colors say about your business?
- What type of images are you using?
- Are the fonts easy to read?
- Are you distracted with too much going on or can you focus on the body copy?
- Does the copy tell the reader quickly what you do and who you serve?
- Is your contact information easy to see on the home page?
- Is there a photo of you on the home page?
- When was the last time you updated anything on your website?
Even the most laid back 6-figure earner likely won’t hire someone who has a DIY website design. If you want to attract those high-end earners, you need to look the part of a professional expert. Invest in your business by hiring an experienced website designer (and look at their portfolios first).
Now, let’s talk about professional headshots. A selfie is not a professional photo; it’s a fun photo which can help in a pinch as a place holder until your professional photos are taken. A professional photographer will worry about the lighting and the background. You just have to smile and exude confidence.
Why do you need a headshot? Think of it this way: Would you buy a product on Amazon without seeing a photo of it? Would you hire a babysitter without seeing a photo and then meeting them in person? The same is true in this scenario. Like it or not, your headshot and website are the first impressions you’ll make with some prospects, so don’t lose the opportunity to make it a memorable impression. If you’re the face of your company, then your prospects are looking to buy your expertise.
Not all photographers are created equal so ask first if they do business photo shoots or headshots. You may want to enlist a lifestyle photographer, especially if you rent a cabin or swanky apartment for a photoshoot. They can also advise you about what type of props to bring and what colors or patterns will look best for your clothing choices. Go one step further and pamper yourself by getting your hair and makeup done prior to the photoshoot! Your photographer probably can recommend a stylist.
Do you have up-to-date business cards? I know…with so much online networking they seem like a thing of the past, but you sure don’t want to be caught off guard meeting someone in person and not having a card to exchange. You may as well count that contact as lost.
Graphic designers have a knack for squeezing a ton of information into that small space and again, it’s won’t give off that DIY vibe. Business cards are relatively inexpensive and worth the effort.
Exercise: Brand Audit Guide
Identify and analyze all aspects of your brand. If anything needs updating, hire experts to do the work. Consider this an investment in your business and if you want to reach the high-end clients, now is NOT the time to pinch pennies.