The Importance of Online Image

Scott Lambert

Image is a fuzzy term. It means different things to different people. Your online image is driven by buyer behavior. Buyer behavior is deeply rooted in:

  • Internal or psychological factors such as personality, attitudes, and lifestyle.
  • Personal or demographic factors and social factors such as friends, family, opinion leaders, etc.
  • External factors such as marketing.

There was an interesting study done a few years back that outlined the elements that make up a customer’s buying decision. Their research outlined the most critical elements customers evaluate in order to decide who to buy from.
The elements were:

  • Price
  • Product Quality
  • Service Quality
  • Image

What they found was very interesting. It is somewhat easy to compare price between vendors. Yes it may take some work in order to compare “apples to apples”, but it is a rather straightforward process.

The difficulty comes when a potential customer is trying to evaluate Product Quality and Service Quality. If they are not a prior customer of a business, then they do not have experience to draw from in order to make an informed decision of Product Quality and Service Quality. Every vendor says they have great products and services.

So what do prospective customers do?

They use Image as a substitute for making a decision on a company’s Product Quality and Service Quality.

In other words, your Image is the determining factor for Product Quality and Service Quality for your prospective customers.

There are books that go into great detail on Image and Image-related topics such as branding and buyer behavior. I will not go completely into that here other than to give you a little deeper perspective on how elevating your brand impacts your business .

Online Image and the Effects it Has on Your Business

The study suggests that if your website looks cheap, potential buyers will think your products and services are cheap, have low value, and are low quality. If your website is difficult to navigate, people think that you will be difficult to do business with. If there are errors or content missing on your website, perspective clients will think you will not deliver a working product or service.

Your online image is primarily delivered by your website and the resulting experience. Over 70% of people will review a company’s website before they make a purchase decision. In fact, I read where over 80% of all people will visit a church’s website before they visit a church.

Your Website Image is Important

There are many reasons why you have the website you have – money, vendor’s capability, your personal preferences, etc.

Many businesses develop a website that they like, but it is not driven by the Image that your prospective customers are looking for. How do you stack up against your top online competitors? What kind of online experiences is your website delivering versus your online competitors or even other market leaders?

Sometimes the evaluation bar of Image is not set by your competitors. It is often set by your prospective customers’ experiences in other online markets or providers.

Maybe your online market is lagging other industry leaders. You should always stay abreast of the online trends and experiences. If you have evaluated your website closely in the last 2-3 years, you are going to be shocked. Much has changed while you were asleep online. But the good news is that you can wake up your website with an online image makeover. Contact Xcellimark to find out how.

Topics: Inbound Marketing