Do your small business marketing materials, and the personal brand image you project make your spine tingle? Or, do you make excuses about how they look, apologize because they’re outdated, or find yourself saying to others you’re “working on getting new ones printed” soon?
A Story about a “Perfectly Polished” Woman…Almost
About a year ago, I met a woman at a business conference at a local college. She approached me to ask some questions about the small business coaching services I offer. She was a very attractive woman, tall, with classically refined features, and perfectly manicured and polished nails. She wore a well-cut designer suit, clutched a high-end handbag, and wore shoes to “die for”. I thought, “Wow, this woman puts on a winning image”, and I felt a little embarrassed, because I knew I was not as well “put together” that day.
Then, as she turned to walk away, I spotted it…
…a plastic tortoise shell hair clip.
Her dark, shiny hair was pulled back by a clip that looked like it had layers of hair grooming product residue on it. A corner piece of the clip was actually broken off. Everything positive this woman had projected was immediately tarnished by the negligent afterthought about her hair accessory.
I assumed the woman must have been in a rush that morning, and grabbed the first hair clip she could get her hands on…because she looked so fabulous in every other way.
Recently, I saw her again at another small business conference, and she looked fabulous, just as before. We spoke for a few moments, and as she turned to walk away, there it was, AGAIN…
…the dirty, broken tortoise shell hair clip.
I then realized that she had no idea the hair clip had a negative affect on her entire appearance. She must have thought no one would notice, or, because the rest of her outfit was so polished, it wouldn’t matter.
My point here is not to ridicule this woman: but, how one bit of negligence can ruin the the presentation of your entire small business marketing package, and, guess what…there goes the sale! (The same applies for men, too.)
Seeing her made me realize that I had a few “marketing package blunders” of my own—especially when it came to the personal brand image I was projecting.
I realized that if I wanted to project being a polished, knowledgeable professional, and be on track to grow a million dollar business, I had better start looking like one!
That’s what made me decide it was time to redefine and update my personal brand image, have professional photographs taken, create a new website for my small business marketing and coaching business, and invest in a few more high quality pieces of clothing for my wardrobe.
Even getting eBook covers professionally designed is part of my “marketing makeover” plan. (My new personal brand image has not been released yet, but will be in fall 2008.)
I know my attitude, and the actions I am taking will pay off immensely. When I started the Internet business segment of my small business marketing and coaching business, I was just “playing around”. Now, I’ve decided, it’s time to get serious.
Are you just playing around? Or, do you want to be taken seriously by your target audience. Do you want to set yourself apart from your competition, and sell a lot more products and services?
Assess the *Tingle* Factor of Your Marketing Materials
Take about 30 minutes this week and objectively assess what personal brand image you are projecting, and inventory the quality of all of your small business marketing materials. This includes your website, photographs of you, business cards, brochures, product packaging, business forms — anything that your prospects or clients see. Do they look consistent, professional, up-to-date, and polished? Or, do some of them look like your eight year-old child designed them? Do they make your spine tingle in a good way? If any of them give you shame, they’re your “marketing package blunders”, and need rework!
Make a list of:
1. Which marketing materials need rework.
2. What you’re going to do about them, and by what date.
3. Identify who can help you fix them.
I recommend you outsource and get some professional design work done on your marketing materials, or development of your personal brand image.
If you do, you’ll be more confident in the small business marketing image you project, and you’ll see your business sales rise, as well.