We understand why we need business attire when consulting with a new client. Your online appearance is just as important, and every online representation with potential clients is like an interview. While you might be able to sit at your computer in your skivies, you can still give a professional appearance virtually.
Ever cue in on something that is not quite right?
We humans are constantly alerted to things that are unusual. We might wonder if someone is playing with a full deck before they ever even speak to us: We notice their clothes, their hair, the way they walk, their expression on their face, their gestures. Sit in a crowd and your eye will be drawn to every itch, a dig through a purse, a tag sticking up out of a shirt, the fourth piece of candy. Someone we don’t recognize looks us in the eye from across the room. We catch every weird little detail without even trying.
Of course, not everyone’s social awareness is acute. We’ve seen them at Walmart walking around in their pajamas without a clue. Somewhere there was a mama who didn’t do her job and say, “No Jane, you can’t wear your new Cinderella jammys to the store. You have to get dressed first.” (On a side note, Google “people in pajamas at Walmart” if you need a good laugh)
Put on your virtual best.
Someone has got to say it. Just like there are social cues that say we are “with it”, there are virtual indicators that we are professional. Here are a few things that potential customers might notice as weird.
My Facebook page IS my “website”
Personal phone being used as a business phone “Hello?” *long pause* “is this Mort’s Beauty Salon???”
Inability to communicate with common methods of communication (can’t text, email, send pictures, don’t know how to send or open attachments, etc.)
Being completely at a loss with all social media “No, I don’t tweeter.”
Can’t accept credit cards.
Not having a professional email
But this article is not about all those things. It is about this final indicator: free emails for your business. Personally I have a Yahoo and a Gmail mail account which I use for personal things. I keep these because they are with me forever even if I change internet providers or domain names. But for my business I use firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. This tells my customers where they can find me (at merchantkitty.com). It tells them my email is dedicated to my business which gives a professional appearance. It gives me yet another opportunity to get my name out there which is “branding”.
Having a professional email is easier than you might think. If you already have a domain name, you probably have email hosting provided for you. It is as simple as contacting your host and asking them to help you set one up. If you purchased a domain name, you are paying these people to help you. Take advantage of it. They can help you set up your phone or log on through the internet even if you don’t have an email application on your computer like Outlook.
You can also have your business email forwarded to your personal email, so you continue to check your email the same way you always have, but the sender sees your business name instead of live.com.
But what if you do not have a domain name? I recommend getting one. Domain names are cheap. You can get a domain name, web and email hosting from $4 to $10 a month. Wouldn’t you spend that on a tie or a pair of jeans without holes to make a good impression? You are really paying for web hosting, and domain registration,and the email is included free.
Now of course Merchant Kitty offers web design, setting up your email, registering your domain name and all that good stuff, but if you are a do-it-yourself-er, don’t be afraid to ask the people who sell you that domain name and hosting for help. You work hard for a living, and so should they!
If you are in search of a web host, I recommend Site Ground. They have a helpful staff, competitive rates, user friendly interface, and live chat which gives you a chance to walk through the process with them “on the line” . If you would like to learn more about Site Ground click on the link below.
So if you don’t have a dedicated business email – GET ONE!
Do it yourself by and activate your email by contacting your web host provider or consulting the how to section in their web site
Contact Merchant Kitty to set up a time to discuss helping you with your online presence.
“Now get out of those PJ’s, put on your virtual coat and tie and get professional!”