Written by Bob McElwain

Continued from page 1

One home page after another was simply pictures with a brief catalog description and a click-to-order button. They shouted things at me like "Buy From Me Now!" Or worse: "Please Buy From Me."

Calming Down

I poured a cup of coffee, sat down to gaze atrepparttar mountains torepparttar 134824 East, and pondered for a bit. Still kind of surprised atrepparttar 134825 way in which I had attacked this task. Puzzled atrepparttar 134826 emotional change that took over completely. I asked myself what is wrong with these sites? What would I do differently were they mine? What could they have done to grab my attention and hold it?

What I Discovered

The pictures did in fact partially answerrepparttar 134827 question, "What's in it for me?" I was looking at greenhouses. But there was nothing that drew me beyond this point. One person boldly commented, "I've been in this business since 1949." How nice. Of no meaning to me at all. (Later, yes, when I want to see who's behind this operation, but never up front.) Another said something like, "We arerepparttar 134828 best." Uh huh. Always a dumb thing to say. Show me, else shush.

Looking Back

I'm sure that several ofrepparttar 134829 sites I dashed through haverepparttar 134830 information I want. But it wasn't obvious atrepparttar 134831 time. And it must be immediately and completely obvious. Why? Because I suspect my recent surfing experience is common behavior among many.

If you can get a visitor to finish your headline, you've beatrepparttar 134832 odds significantly. Ifrepparttar 134833 headline even partially answersrepparttar 134834 question, "What's in this for me?" you are still inrepparttar 134835 game.

However, you will lose your visitor at this point, unless you immediately demonstrate why your visitor should linger. Questions such as "Why should I buy from you?" and "Why should I believe you?" need to be addressed quickly. While it's not possible to answer all such questions inrepparttar 134836 first screen, you best get started and definitively pointrepparttar 134837 way to further information that provides complete answers.

Looking Ahead

The Web is so new, it's difficult to envision what lies ahead. Entire new business models are likely to emerge, concepts we have not yet dreamed of. One thing seems certain, though. The catalog model is here to stay.

However, few catalog sites are going to be successful opening with some pictures, brief descriptions, and an "order now" button.

An Aside

Another mistake noted on sites visited was what appeared to be a determination to makerepparttar 134838 page look like printed offline catalogs. Pages jammed full of pictures. Brief hard-to-read descriptions. Lots of unexplained jargon.

Offline, this is mandatory. Printing costs mount up. And so do mailing costs. Evenrepparttar 134839 cost of paper. Online, there is virtually no cost to adding another page torepparttar 134840 site. Put links on jargon that pop up a window of explanation. Use space; it's cheap. Include more complete explanations with links to more in depth notes.

Whilerepparttar 134841 catalog model will thrive onrepparttar 134842 Web, more attractive formats that make it easy to find further information will berepparttar 134843 winners.

Demonstrate Your Concerns For Your Customers

Saying you're glad a visitor dropped in won't do a bit of good. Showing them it's so will. Show them you value their interest and will go out of your way to provide exactly what they need.

Saying you support your customers in every possible way won't cut it. But showing that it's so does wonders.

Begin demonstrating such essential elements inrepparttar 134844 first screen on your page and reenforce each element throughoutrepparttar 134845 site. And whatever else you do, make certain that allrepparttar 134846 neat resources on your site are readily available.

Bob McElwain Want to build a winning site? Improve one you already have? Fix one that's busted? Get ANSWERS. Subscribe to "STAT News" now! Web marketing and consulting since 1993 Site: Phone: 209-742-6349


Written by Bob McElwain

Continued from page 1

Sell With Images Drawn With Words

We must picture ourselves experiencingrepparttar benefits of a product before buying it. There's nothing new in this. Copywriters have known it for years. We need to listen to these people, and study their work with care.

If we are selling tickets to Tahiti, we do not attempt to do so directly. First we show our reader, a man in this case,repparttar 134823 beautiful beaches, with nicely tanned people cavorting about and having a grand time. And, of course,repparttar 134824 hula dancers for whichrepparttar 134825 island is famous. We show our prospect what he will feel on this beach underrepparttar 134826 tropical sun, withrepparttar 134827 drink of his choice in hand, and a lovely woman close by.

Only when we are certain he has this picture clearly in mind, do we begin leading gently toward a sale. Maybe: We can to get you on a plane, into a great hotel, then out onto that beach in just a few short hours. Then maybe: Isn't it time you did something for yourself? Or maybe just forrepparttar 134828 heck of it?

By Contrast, ...

Picture a site that slaps yourepparttar 134829 face with images up top which are slow to load. As to our needs,repparttar 134830 comments are limited to, "We'rerepparttar 134831 best," "Cheapest rates," and so forth. All followed by a confusing, jumbled array of options that are virtually unintelligible at least at first glace. And maybe later as well.

Which site will you chose to work with? Which site will you remember?

Pictures Matter

Not graphics. That's not what I mean at all. What matters isrepparttar 134832 pictures you are able to create in your visitor's mind. And that's pretty much all that does matter.

I continue to be awed at how delicious those hamburgers from Jack In The Box look inrepparttar 134833 TV commercials, particularly after just finishing a great dinner. And only $0.99? Wow. Where do I sign up? Problem is, I tried one once. Spoilsrepparttar 134834 image for me, that's for sure.

I loverepparttar 134835 idea behind, "Sellrepparttar 134836 sizzle, notrepparttar 134837 steak." But underneath it all, you'll do better if there's a great steak.

Bob McElwain Want to build a winning site? Improve one you already have? Fix one that's busted? Get ANSWERS. Subscribe to "STAT News" now! Web marketing and consulting since 1993 Site: Phone: 209-742-6349

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