First Impression. Two men greet

It’s Your Business: First impressions remain crucial

Joe Smith

Joe Smith

Special to The Record

You’ve got one chance to make a good first impression and if you think in terms of the human attention span, according to recent studies, you’ve got eight seconds or less to do so.

Considering we operate in a world that is for the most part focused on visual stimulation, the images and graphics you convey should be given more than a passing thought. They are in many cases what forms that all-important first impression of you and your business.

The reality in marketing today is that image is everything.

If your graphic design and photography are not of excellent quality and miss the mark, your branding efforts will come across as being weak, amateurish and of course not very impressionable.

From the time we were born, our first impressions of life were formed by the things we saw around us. What we see also determines how much importance we will assign to each of those visual messages.

It stands to reason then that using well-conceived visuals in marketing and communications allows us to reach deeper levels of relationship building and making better connections with specific target groups. Memorable images are what provide those lasting impressions that help build brand awareness.

The key to using visuals is to make them simple but powerful. A poorly designed logo, business card, website, blog, printed brochure or inappropriate photo does not help convey a positive impression.

While a strong headline and copy that is engaging and informative are essential components of any message, good graphics are critical in ensuring potential customers will be able to make a positive connection in just a few seconds.

One thing to remember about good design is that it is not about making things look pretty. In order to be effective it should also entice and persuade. A well designed website can persuade visitors to take action. A well thought out brochure or newsletter can compel the reader to keep turning the pages.

The old adage, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words,’ is perhaps more relevant today than it was in the early-1900s when it was first coined.

With the average user picking up their digital device more than 1,500 times per week and looking for information on that small screen, it is critical that your graphics will make a good first impression and keep their attention for more than just a few seconds.

Careful consideration should also be given to bringing on-board a designer who has the necessary experience in helping to bring measurable results for your business. They can also ensure that you end up with a consistent design that reflects your message and branding.

While there are thousands of free graphic design templates available, you must remember that there are thousands of other businesses that will be using the same ones as well.

A few dollars invested in having a unique design created just for you will go a long way in creating that first memorable good impression.

Joe Smith is a communications consultant and an accomplished fine artist. He can be reached via email at joesmith@shaw.ca

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