Perception is Reality: The Importance of Curb Appeal


Since we were kids, those who had a hand in raising us preached about appearances. At that time, the list seemed endless: “Brush your hair,” they’d say. “Don’t wear that, it’s wrinkled.” “Wash your face, there’s ketchup on it.”

If you were anything like me, you didn’t understand why people were telling you this. Did it really matter? Did it somehow make me a better person if my clothes were starched well enough to stand on their own, if my face was condiment-free 100% of the time, or if my hair was well-groomed? I believe the answer to that question is simple: No.

While these things won’t make you a better person, that attention to detail allows you to manage the perceptions other people have of you. Whether we like it or not, people judge others based on their appearance. Even those of us who claim not to care what other people think will wear clothes, choose hair styles, and buy products that fit the persona we want to project.

But perception based on appearance isn’t exclusive to people – it applies to businesses too. Customers are forming their perceptions and making buying decisions based on the appearance of your business. When someone is looking for the latest and greatest advertising campaign, they look for an agency or freelancer that they perceive to be creative. When someone is looking for furniture to adorn the inside of their home, they look for stores that they perceive to align with their style. Here’s the most important part: it not how you perceive your business that influences your customer’s buying decision – it’s how they perceive it.

Your storefront is one of your most valuable marketing assets, and curb appeal is an integral part of the customer experience. A 2011 Omnibus survey of 1,000 consumers indicated that:

  • 95% said that external appearance influences their decision of where to shop.
  • 67% decided not to visit a store based solely on the appearance from the street.
  • More than 50% avoided a store that looked “dirty” from the outside.

Here are a few tips on creating great curb appeal and attracting more customers and clients!

  1. Take Control of Weeds: Make time to treat for weeds so they don’t grow along the front of your building or between cracks in the sidewalk and parking lot.
  2. Add Pops of Natural Color: If you don’t already have natural color in front of your business, consider adding some annual flowers. If you don’t have space for landscape beds, try hanging baskets or get creative with unique container ideas!
  3. Maintain Your Landscape Beds: Having beds in front of your business will require some routine maintenance. The key to keeping them looking nice is to keep them free of weeds, top-dress with clean mulch, and keep the plants nicely pruned.