Curb Appeal: Your New Front Door {AKA your Virtual Brand}

Picture this. You walk up to an appointment for a massage that you’ve been so excited about.

All you’ve heard is how amazing this therapist is, how every muscle in your body is about to be rubbed within an inch of it’s life and that you will walk out of this appointment feeling like you’re two inches taller.

But, the front porch is covered in old trash. One door is painted bright red and the other is neon orange. The paint on the doors are chipped and you’re not even sure which door is the way in. The hanging sign is turquoise and tilted, but the sign on one of the doors is green and looks ten years old. The windows are filthy and you pretty sure you see spider webs. At this point, you’re not even sure you want to walk through the door no matter how incredible this is supposed to be.

What do you do under these circumstances…or even more important, what does your client do if this is what they saw?

In this day in age, your literal front door comes far secondary to the front door your clients are going to first see—your website. This is your client’s first impression and trust me when I tell you, they are looking at this closely to see if you’re a good fit for them.

When we evaluate businesses, websites are often the biggest indicator of their overall new client success. A carefully branded, wonderfully laid out site that really speaks to a client experience absolutely generates business. But, that’s rarely what I see. Instead I see dated sites that are a combination of hodge-podged branding, old information and schedules and way too much information that’s not relevant to the customer.

Fixing your website isn’t as simple as clean it up because chances are in six months it’s going to look close to where it is now. Instead we need to start at the root of the problem {Which is your overall Branding} and then make adjustments page by page.

So let’s rewind a step and let’s look at a simple question: What is your brand?

Your brand is a combination of who you are, why you’re in business and, most importantly, what your attitude is. Your brand will look extremely different if you’re a yoga studio catering to hard-core athletes, a chiropractor catering to children or a massage therapist catering to the elderly. Your brand is as unique as you {and your very boutique and personalized business} is.

So let’s start with a few questions….

If I asked your top five clients to describe your business’s attitude was what would they say? How would they describe the uniqueness of your business in comparison to similar businesses?

Does your current brand match this in its:

  • Logo?
  • Fonts?
  • Color Scheme?
  • Images?
  • Videos?

These five items combine together to create your Brand Identity. You can think of your brand identity as individual personality traits of your business. If one trait is off kilter, it throws the entire brand. And, Brand Identity is so important to your customer as it’s going to trigger a feeling within them…it’s literally meant to tell them they belong in your company.

About 90% of Brand Identity issues comes from having more than multiple designers creating inconsistent portions—one logo here, totally different styles of images there, color schemes that vary from your website to your marketing to your Facebook ads {if this is your business, you know exactly what I mean}.

So to get our Brand Identity in check we need to rewind and find one common theme.

  1. Start with a great designer.

This is not the time for Fiverr, 99Designs or your cousin who’s getting their graphic arts degree and wants to practice. You will be taking their work and incorporating it into your website, brochures, emails, client agreements and every form of marketing your create that attracts clients. Don’t skimp. If you’re unsure where to start, UpWork can be a great resource. One word of advice: We have found the cheaper the rate on UpWork the more intense project management you will likely need. Look intensely at portfolios and be sure that they’re producing the kind of work that makes you go wow.

  1. If you use multiple designers, have them meet with one another.

I’ve learned from experience to have my presentation designer meet with my graphic designer who is always meeting with my web designer. Everyone is on the same page and building the same brand. Even ten minutes over Skype can prevent chaos.

  1. Create a Brand Design Guide.

Your primary designer should create a Brand Design Guide which includes your colors, your logo, and major graphics. Ideally it will describe that attitude and Brand Identity you’re seeking in all materials you have created. This guide needs to be provided to anyone who is creating materials for you so you have complete consistency. Just as an FYI…my design guide is one page long. I don’t have Anthropologie’s budget or 200 pages of branding requirements. It’s simple, but it works to keep me totally in line.

  1. Branding costs less than you think.

A phenomenal website and branding guide should run between $2500 and $4500. Don’t get sold on too many fancy hosting fees, monthly SEO charges and “done for you” blog posts. Just get the design right without breaking the bank. As you grow this can grow with you, but until you’re bringing in your dream salary and beyond, stay simple and keep that money for your salary.

Where is your brand today? Does it need adjustments or is it exactly where it needs to be? We’ll be featuring some of our favorite brands over the next few months, so if you think your company should be featured email us at and tell us why you’ve created your branding and how it’s helped build your following!

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