When people think about Internet, they think about technology. When people hear that I am a Website strategy expert, they see me as a "techy type".
But for me, most intriguing aspect of your online business isn't about technology. It's about human connections, and how you can create these in a virtual environment.
It's commonly understood that "people buy emotionally, not intellectually." Even when people think they're making a rational decision, powerful subconscious factors come into play. To sell effectively, we're told to anticipate our customers' needs, to demonstrate that we "feel their pain", and to respond to clues in their body language and tone of voice.
In "real world" we do this very well. And we know that if we can have a direct, in-person conversation, there's a pretty good chance that we'll close sale or keep a happy customer.
For online visitor, your Website is next best thing to that in-person conversation with you, your colleagues or employees. And since so many people are researching products and services on Web, it's critical that your site has maximum impact in persuading them to take next step with you.
So how does your Website connect emotionally with your visitors? Do they feel listened to, understood and appreciated by your Internet presence? Are you instinctively meeting their real needs? Do your existing customers feel supported and valued when interacting with you online?
Or are you failing to evoke crucial emotional responses which can significantly enhance your response rates, sales and ongoing return on your Web investment?
The Critical Emotions for Website Success
I've been working with client Web strategies in a wide range of industries since 1995. Based on this experience, I've identified some key emotions that you need to evoke in your online visitors to create and sustain a profitable relationship.
How well your Website does this can have a major effect on visceral, instinctive reactions of your visitors, and their propensity to buy from or connect with you.
In total, I have twenty criteria for emotional connectedness that I suggest for any Website. That's too many to discuss in this article, but let's look at a few highlights:
Do I Feel Recognized?
When we first meet in a business setting, we're introduced, or we introduce ourselves with some statement about what we do, and why we should connect with each other.
When we talk with customers or prospects, it's important to show very quickly that we understand their issues and needs, and that we have ideas and solutions to address these.
The most important task for your home page is to accomplish this initial introduction. You've heard "ten-second" rule about how long a visitor will stay on a site that doesn't engage them.
So, does your home page really tell me what you do? Does it speak to me in specific terms that make very clear what services you provide, and what type of customers or clients you work with? Does it use language that I'll understand even if I don't know jargon of your industry or specialization?
There are astounding numbers of Websites that fail to provide basic information on home page.
If your goal is to get customer to visit your store, does your home page clearly show your location, and how to get there? Every time you force visitor to make a decision, such as "Do I click on Contact Us page to find their address?", you open up possibility that they'll make wrong choice (from your viewpoint), or worse still, they'll just leave.
And is it clear to me whether you can - or would want to - help me? Are you geared towards corporate bulk buyers, or small businesses, or both? Do you operate nationally or only in your immediate location? Will your visitors know what you mean by generic terms such as "business systems" or "total business solutions" or should you be more specific as to what you offer? Do I Feel Engaged?
As we continue our "real-world" conversation, we start to find common points of interest, whether personal or professional. We begin to feel that we can relate with each other, and this helps to build our business relationship.
So your Website has to make visitor feel drawn in - that they want to know more about your business, your products and your services - but again, from viewpoint of their needs and interests. And you have to give visitor a clear sense that you want to find those points of connection, and to learn more about them.
If visitor doesn't feel invited in, if they feel left to themselves to find their way around - if they're overwhelmed, confused, or simply not interested in your site, they'll leave.