First Impressions Count, But Second Impressions Are What Really Matter

First Impressions Count, But Second Impressions Are What Really Matter

What do people think of you when they first meet you?

What do you think their immediate impression is? If it’s personally, you might not care too much – after all, to each their own, right? But what if you’re a business offering a service – does that change your train of thought? Does the view of the same new face now hold more sway?

Even more so, what if your service is one that defines people’s first impressions of your customer – would you place even more emphasis on every single interaction you have, to make sure the impression left is the right one?

First Impressions

I have certain alerts set up via Google (as well as other social monitoring platforms), to alert me to words and phrases that could point to articles or blog posts relevant to me or my business needs. One of these alerts came in recently, so I thought I’d check it out.

It led me to this Facebook Page (note: image was taken prior to the brand pages makeover, but the “content” remains the same).

I’ve blocked out the name of the company (and forgive the blotchy red strokes – art was never my strong point), but you can still see the details of their service.

What stands out for me is that, as part of their service, they offer Facebook and Twitter page design. Since a branded Facebook page can really help you differentiate yourself from everyone else, it’s a service that’s becoming more popular. Yet the company’s own Facebook page is pretty lacklustre, with just the standard options.

Where’s the dedicated landing page, or more interactive tabs and features that some of the best Facebook pages have?

So, not a great start – but it was better than their main point of call…

Second Chances

It may have been that the Facebook page was a work in progress. I wasn’t so sure about this, since administrators of Facebook pages have the option to keep the page private until ready for launch.

But, give the benefit of the doubt – so I thought I’d check out the company’s website instead. Where I found this.

Probably not the best landing page in the world for a company that offers web design and development as part of their core services.

Couple this with the Facebook page – while you can have works in progress, you can also have landing areas that show this information, as opposed to a “parked here free of charge”-type message. For a company who wants to help you design the face of your business, the combination of the non-existent website and standard Facebook page doesn’t bode well.

Second Chances – Learning Points

Now I don’t want to be too down on this company, since it could be a fledgling business from some young entrepreneurs looking to realize their goal of owning their own business.

Yet at the same time, they’re not doing themselves any favours either by launching into the public too soon. So what could they have done differently?

  • Have a dedicated landing page. This relates to both the Facebook page and the website (in its current form). Having a pre-launch landing page on a website looks a lot more professional than a web host message. The same goes for having a dedicated Facebook landing page as opposed to the standard Wall – especially for a Facebook page design company.
  • Keep everything under wraps. While you might be excited to launch a product or business, unveiling it too soon can do more damage than good. Instead, keep everything private with maybe the odd teaser, and make sure you’re 100% ready for the public gaze. Because they’ll be ready for you, finished or not.
  • Beware of search engines. The reason I received the alert that took me to this company’s Facebook page is simple – their information box is full of keywords relevant to my industry. Tying into keeping everything under wraps, don’t stuff keywords into something that’s public but not ready – it’ll just bring you eyeballs you may not want. Hold off until launch instead.

While first impressions count, you can get past a less-than-great one with an awesome second impression – but you need that second impression to be solid. This company’s website would have been their chance for a second impression – and they blew it.

Now. It could be that this company is one of the best in the world at web and Facebook page design, among other social media skills.

But given their first and second chance to impress, would you hire them to paint the face of your business?

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    • says

      I think that’s probably the worst part, the fact they’re online developers/designers. It’s not as if they’re plumbers new to the game. πŸ˜‰

  1. says

    Interesting; we re-launched our website recently and had it on the shelf for about 3 months ’til we got it where we wanted it. I tend to agree; if you are going to do it, put your best foot forward instead of something marginal. You can only make one first impression……..

  2. says

    Well there are many reasons why a website is not perfect. One could be that they are too busy doing great business to have the time to revise and improve their site. I’ve learned this can often be the case and don’t assume anything about what’s happening backstage when viewing an imperfect website, blog or landing page.

    • says

      Hi Zorka,

      That would be true if the website was even live – but it wasn’t, and that’s a big no-no for any self-respecting web company that wants to show what they can do.

      If you’re not ready for primetime, don’t show your face to the world.

  3. says

    Great points, Danny. For a small business, they also have to make sure that the information posted on the site is current and accurate. I had a situation just last week where a restaurant said they were open at 11, I showed, but then was told they did not open until 11:30. Talked to the owner about it and it was a great lesson for him. Thanks!

    • says

      It’s all about managing expectations, mate. Like you say, it was only half an hour difference, but the effect that could have had on the perception of that restaurant is the difference between a busy one and one where no-one goes, because they’re not consistent with a message.

      Cheers, mate!

  4. says

    It’s part of the problematic when you launch your own business. Sometimes you would like to put the cart before horses forgetting that “ignition” is all about details. When i look at my own experience, i should say that it’s not easy to figure when it’s your first time ! That said, this is an article that all entrepreneurs should read before starting !

    • says

      Hi Vincent,

      That’s a fair point for sure. The only thing I’d say is it’s probably even more important for a small business / solo entrepreneur, as they generally don’t have the pockets to afford this type of basic error.

      Cheers, sir!

  5. says

    Interesting stuff, giving the right impression about your business does go along way. Its what your customers will see first before they even meet you, hence its extremely important for any business to get that spot on.

    • says

      The way I always look at it, Wasim, is to compare it to offline actions.

      If you have a meeting with someone, and you’re trying to impress, would you turn up in your underwear and make the least amount of effort?

      No – so why do so online? πŸ˜‰

  6. says

    Excellent post but in my SEO experience its not the matter of 1st, 2nd or 3rd impression no doubt they influence your search engine rankings but all your impressions does matter. & that’s true that only 1 blunder can make you out of the race.

    Keep updated yourself and your website/blog as well :)

    • says

      SEO is interesting, but it’s changing fast. Social actions are taking up a bigger percentage of search results, so SEO agencies need to be on the ball to keep up.

  7. says

    Great reminder Danny. Some people do genuinely forget that everything can be seen on the web.

    I have met some business owners that know they need to up-date something, haven’t got around to posting any up-dates on Facebook for months and that things are stale. And yet they forget about first impressions are crucial and regardless of the issue their end, potential customers will go elsewhere.

    • says

      There’s nothing worse than seeing a company on social media do anything but be social. Especially when that’s part of their stock trade. πŸ˜‰

      Cheers, Melanie!

  8. says


    I like your point about keeping things under wraps. So far my Online efforts have all been DIY and I’m not a programmer or a graphic designer so I “play around” a lot with different variations of pages and whatever. But while I’m doing this everything is Live.

    I hope that is doesn’t hurt my brand but I figure that I’m learning, and I write about what I learn so that others won’t have to take as much time. Hopefully they understand that when they see something that might look a little weird.

    But now I read this and I’m thinking that is not such a good idea.

    I have to marinate on this a bit.


    Ryan H.

    • says

      Hi there Ryan,

      There’s nothing wrong with doing it yourself, as you know your business and needs better than anyone. The key – as you mention – is making it look like it’s not DIY, and part of that comes in appearance.

      By the way, nice job on your SEO experiment – way to show that something works! :)

  9. says

    Great Post Danny – Unfortunately many people aren’t checking out who they choose to work with. You’ve got to talk the talk, but also walk the walk. I posted about what your writing says about you recently – little attention is being paid by many to what and how they’re posting in social media. I always enjoy your content and appreciate your posts.

    • says

      Hi there Cindy,

      It’s so true – the problem with social media is that it can make the village idiot into an expert (and there are plenty examples of this in existence!). The real bread and butter comes from experience, projects, results – get these and you’re already ahead of the ones that just talk.

      Thank you for the kind words – really nice to hear, and makes it all worthwhile. :)

  10. says

    Remember the first time we met you hated me. The second time you hated me. The third time you hated me. Then I said why do you hate me so much? And you said Aliens stole your car back in 79.

    Case studies galore Danny everywhere we look. There is a reason why so many businesses fail. Well many reasons. And this is one of them.

    So yes another post pointing to me to move my blog to Yelp! sigh.

    • says

      I just gave you that excuse to shut you up, Howie – I still hate you. πŸ˜‰

      (Though I have given you your own little checkbox in the comments section, so be grateful for small mercies).

      I wonder how far the paper would stretch if we gathered all the examples of bad business practices? Ay carumba!

  11. says

    Yeah, I may not be an expert in branding facebook pages and customizing them up, but I wouldn’t hire them for mine. I don’t really need it, because I’d do it myself, but that’s not really the point.

    Before I launched my website, I had a nice landing page up with an illustration of a couch (Dust Bunnies), links to facebook and twitter, a mailing list form and a launch date. Clean, simplistic and did exactly what was needed.

    • says

      Hey there Bret,

      Love what you’ve done with the Dust Bunny Mafia Brand, and clearly you knew what to present and when to present it. Maybe this company should have hired you to start with… πŸ˜‰

  12. says

    G’Day Danny,
    Yet another reason to have a crystal clear business focus and a narrow specific target market. Seems to me that they’re trying to be too many things to too many people. They’re confused and so are we.

    Dare I say it again: “Marketing isn’t everything but everything is marketing.”

    I notice that Celtic beat Rangers. That’s fun. But those Boston Celtics……..!


    • says

      You know, that’s the thing that so many businesses seem to get wrong – why the need to try be the catch-all? Like you say, mate, be brilliant at one thing and the rest will come.

      Oh, I’m a Livingston man, by the way, so the Glasgow teams can chew each other up all day. πŸ˜‰

  13. says

    Hi Danny,

    first, i think it`s a great Post and i`m thankful for your sharing your Tips and information.
    So, my english writing it`s not so good, but i think, you have been right. In Germany, we say: “der erste Eindruck zΓ€hlt”. Sorry, but i don`t write this in english.
    What i mean is: the first look on a page or a blog, FB-Page, Twitter Page or whatever… it must work.
    You have one chance and you need really good content, interesting news and when you have answers for problems, the people came back and read more from you. And this is important for any website or blog.

    In last weeks, i read many sites and posts about all “online marketing” strategies and methods, and i learn so much from you all. it`s really great.

    Thanks a lot for this post, i find it very interesting.
    Wish you much success with your projects.

    with greetings from good old Germany, Sandy :-)

    P.S. IΒ΄M not a Bot and i`m sure… i`m not an alien πŸ˜‰

    • says

      Hi there Sandy,

      Thank you for being part of the conversation here, and great having you. I was in Germany a few times while I still lived in the U.K., had friends in Dusseldorf. Always good times. :)

      It’s so true – the web is an unforgiving place, and if you’re not ready for many eyes to be on you, you’re not ready for just one set of eyes to be on you.

      Being careful has never been more important.

      Danke schon!

  14. says

    Actually not always you have a second chance especially in business so better make a good first impression. Possibly a lasting one. Also, if your business is creating wonderful gardens you can’t have a jungle outside your home.

    And anyway I’m not a FB fan. πŸ˜‰

    • says

      Hey there Andrea,

      I think you win the award for best quote this week!

      “…if your business is creating wonderful gardens you can’t have a jungle outside your home.”

      So true, miss, so true. :)

      • says

        Thanks for the award Danny, much appreciated. Based on when I was, a long time ago, a bodybuilder instructor where the rule is that you wear you job 24 hours a day wherever you go and whatever you do.

        Actually is Mr. anyway. πŸ˜‰

        • says

          Ah crap, I called you miss, didn’t I? Sorry, my knowledge of the name Andrea is of girl’s – my bad, I apologize and won’t make the wrong assumption again!

          • says

            Come on, no need to apologize Danny, I know about Andrea/Andrew in English speaking countries. :)

            But what I always find funny is that in Italy Andrea means something like he-man. πŸ˜€

  15. says

    Being a bit of neophyte as you know, I’ve made this mistake more than once (even recently – Yikes!).

    The assumption is (mine anyhoo) is nobody is going to know about these pages – its one in millions with no activity or promotion.

    The facts are different though.

    Thanks for sharing Danny – and Happy New Year to you and yours!

    • says

      In space, no-one can hear you scream. On Google, everyone can hear you make a mistake (or some other made-up analogy!). :)

      Hope you’re well, mate, been a while – make sure you’re looking after yourself. :)

  16. says

    Agreed, it also doesn’t help that they have 2 people who “Like” their page (likely the two guys running it). We’ve chosen not to create a Facebook Fan Page until we have the necessary resources to maintain it and grow a following, there’s no point having a page for the sake of having a page.

  17. says

    Hi Danny,

    Great post. I think the best websites/blogs are the ones that offer a service or product to “other”people.

    The moment we talk to much about ourselves we can instantly lose a customer/reader.

    What do you think?

    Geoff Talbot

    • says

      I’ve always found that those that are willing to help receive the most in return, mate. Especially those that are willing to help with no expectation of anything in return. πŸ˜‰


  18. Anne Sorensen says

    Hi Danny! Happy New Year! Thanks for this – a comprehensive post and excellent reminders – particularly with timing of keywords. :) Hope 2012 has started really well . Best wishes from Downunder.

    • says

      Happy New Year right back at you, miss, hope you had a blast! I wonder what that page and site would look like with a revisit in 2013..? πŸ˜‰

    • says

      Agreed, mate. Heck, even if you think you’ve covered your tracks, there’s always a lovely Internet cache waiting to trip you up… πŸ˜‰

  19. says

    Hi Danny
    I actually buy my domains from 123 Reg – I’ve never found anyone cheaper – small world.

    The main reason I updated my old html site to a Genesis WordPress site was to show potential clients what they will be getting.
    I’m trying hard with that first impression, never mind the second one.

  20. says

    First, I’m actually impressed that you gave them a second impression after your first experience. I think many people would have dropped out after seeing their Facebook page.

    Unfortunately I see this happen way too often with companies that have web-related business. If you’re involved in design, SEO, social media, etc. your company needs at least a simple, professional looking site. With so many turnkey services available I can’t imagine any excuse for not having one.

    It also kills me when companies that are in the SEO space have obvious on-page errors (poor title tags, keyword stuffing) or never update their blog.

    • says

      It kinda makes it twice as bad if you’re in the web and online marketing industry – how do you expect to win clients and instill confidence in your services if your own house isn’t in order?

      And yeah, looking at the source code of SEO houses can be fun at times. πŸ˜‰

      Cheers, Anthony!

  21. says

    Really great points as everyone in life deserves a second chance. That said, I don’t see doctors that smoke or marriage counselors on their 7th marriage.

    When it comes to online marketing, my view is that you’re either in the game 24/7 or you’re not. Today I see many people entering the business that should have been mentored under a solid organization for a while before going solo.. Inevitably, it shows up like your example.

    Of course, if anyone looks at our site, we may need a second chance too.. :)

    Michael Besson
    CEO BizChangerZ

    • says

      Haha, it’s funny that you mention the marriage thing. I saw a story the other day about a new author trying to promote her first book, about how to have an awesome marriage for life. The author has been divorced 7 times…

      Glad you managed to comment at last, sir, and sorry about the previous issues. :)

  22. says

    That is true,Danny. As an author and business man, I can relate to how you said, “What stands out for me is that, as part of their service”. I hope more people discover your blog because you really know what you’re talking about. Can’t wait to read more from you!

  23. says

    Hey Danny,

    It amazes me how careless business owners are regarding the impression they create. Clearly, they have little understanding of the critical role the “KLT” factor plays in establishing a meaningful relationship. People do business with those they “know, like and trust”. It’s tough enough for marketers to gain the confidence of potential clients without shooting themselves in the foot.

  24. says

    Hello Danny,

    We couldn’t agree more with what you have pointed out here. You have been very mindful in giving the companies the benefit of the doubt, however, most people will not. First impressions do mean a lot to people, and it takes a lot of effort to change this afterwards. Social media, especially has served as a direct way to interact with consumers which is a more effective way to obtain brand loyalty. Hopefully businesses will also be more mindful when making decisions that could make or break them. Thanks for posting this, you brought to light some very useful information!

  25. Ellie says

    Hi Danny,

    Excellent discussion on first and second impressions. It has always been my feeling that second impressions are far more valuable as they are likely to be more truthful and less ‘disguised’. I always try to leave my blog visitors with a second impression that I feel will leave them more ‘impressed’ then on our first meeting.


  26. says

    Hahaha! Sorry but I found that funny, or maybe I should find it rather scarey that people might actually be using their services?

    Making a first impression is very important for your business, it is even more important if you are trying to make it as a freelance writer like I am. :)

  27. says

    Hola Danny,

    “First Impressions Count, But Second Impressions Are What Really Matter”…

    Come on…

    What about Love At First Sight??

    Just kiddin’ :-p


  28. says

    Had never really thought about it but it does make sense. I think the most important thing regarding the second impression is providing all correct information. with as easy as it is to edit FB pages, websites etc having outdated information just shouldn’t exist.