Successful marketing depends enormously on the first impression. Well, consider that people are too busy today to actually READ your marketing. That means they glance and skim. It's like looking at a stranger and getting that quick burst of impression. Good? Bad? Attractive? Trustworthy? Dangerous? It all happens in about half a secd.
So, how do you create a positive first impression? Two things: design and content. If the design and content are not presented (in the right way), your message will very likely fall on deaf eyes. (There is a tremendous amount of research to substantiate this point.) This goes for ALL marketing, but especially for your website. After all, that is where people go to check out your credibility. So, let's look at design in the context of your website...
The design has value only if it is effective at making the visitor feel comfortable and secure, and guiding the his/her eyes to relevant information. Consider where that person looks first? If that position is not inviting and compelling – game over. The visitor will abort the site. The look needs to be guided by psychology, but very few designers understand psychology. Thus, they tend to make a catastrophic blunder.
They build the top of the marketing page around a generic image that is irrelevant to the visitor (your prospect). An image of a horse or tall buildings might look pretty, but prospects are not looking at marketing hoping to find something pretty.
Research into the eye-movement patterns of people viewing websites clearly shows that those generic photos are a negative, adding zero value to your site. Imagine I walk into your office and say, “I’m looking for a good advisor to handle all my family’s finances,” and you respond by showing me a photo of a horse. How long will I stay in your office?
In the next post, we'll look at the content and how you should approach what you say in order to attract people and engage them.