I saw this photo on a social media blog recently and it really struck a chord with me. Not because I am a casual dresser or even have a sizeable tattoo. It really hit home by the visual effect of the gentleman dressed as both a doctor and what might be perceived as a biker in the second photo. The point is driven home that first impressions are so very important in how we think of people and of places.
On the online forums, a week doesn’t go by when someone isn’t asking about the cheapest place or method in building a website, doing advertising work or even remodeling their practice. I love to save money as much or more than the next guy or gal. However, I also realize most times you get what you pay for. Want to buy a new computer? Think that $300 lost leader will be as fast, as powerful or last as long as the $1200 model near the top of the line? Hardly. Think that $13,000 Smart Fortwo has the passenger comfort, acceleration, and handling of Lexus LS for $60,000 more? I think not. You may not be able to afford the best in everything, but that is no reason to buy the cheapest in everything either.
Take your website for example. Practice after practice is online asking peers how and where to build the cheapest website, while forgetting that their website is their most ardent ambassador to their practice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In an era where 8 out of 10 people will look at your website before ever walking through your door, do you really want the cheapest site money can buy? You may be much more comfortable in a sleeveless t-shirt and jeans, but which look above connotes a look of unparallel professionalism.
Mike Markula, Apples first CEO, hired by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak back in 1977, wrote the now infamous Marketing Philosophy Apple still lives with to this day.
People DO judge a book by its cover. We may have the best product, the highest quality, the most useful software, etc.; if we present them in a slipshod manner, they will be perceived as being slipshod; if we present them in a creative, professional manner, we will impute the desired qualities.
Your website is your patient’s first glimpse of your practice. If it looks like a 12 year old built the site in trade for a pair of Ray Bans, you will get what you deserve in customers through your door. If on the other hand, your website has the presence that makes the others around you look like a cheap suit, then you are the one who will reap the benefits.
Those first impressions are the ones that last, the ones people remember. Sure you could be a total slob and blow them away with your brilliance, but are you really willing to take that chance? In 2013 we all need all the help we can get to maximize our marketing dollars. Money spent wisely on your web presence is a great start towards achieving your sales and success goals.