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First impressions and beyond

by Susalyn Bennett

Researchers have determined that, in the real world, you have seven seconds to make a good first impression. In the online digital world, we have just a fraction of that time.

For Websites: researchers monitoring students’ eye movements as they scanned web pages, learned that it takes 2.6 seconds for a user’s eyes to land on the area of a website that influences their first impression. And mere milliseconds after that, they are likely to have developed an initial impression of the site that can greatly influence what they decide to do next.

For Instagram: within three seconds of visiting your profile, users will decide whether or not to follow you. One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi… time is up!

Our brains process visual images much more rapidly than written words. Images, video and graphics provide an emotional connection in ways that text copy cannot do. Ever true, it seems, is the old saying: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” The words you use online are very important. But they may go unread, unless the imagery you use, succeeds first.

Whenever possible, it is best to use a professional photographer, videographer and custom graphics. When that is not an option, stock photography may well provide a good solution. Avoid resorting to low resolution, poorly lighted photos snapped with a mobile device. I must say, however, that cameras included in some of today’s higher-end mobile devices, are capable of capturing stunning images under the right conditions. As much as possible, in your custom graphics, ads and page designs, consistently use the chosen theme for your branding (logo, color scheme, preferred fonts, tagline, etc.).

Once you have managed to capture their attention and keep it longer than a split second, now what? Now you want to present your brand as credible and legitimate, and begin building trust.

[For click-throughs, it is crucial that the landing destination is well designed and meets or exceeds the expectations of the user. Trust can be lost immediately, otherwise. How many times have you backed out of a slow-loading, inefficient landing page?]

Credibility can be established by positive reviews, testimonials, relationships with well-known and respected brands, awards and achievements indicating that you are an expert at what you do…

A large percentage of potential customers will read reviews before delving into the site of a business where they might make an online purchase, or make a call to request your service, or prior to visiting your brick and mortar location.

If you have not yet incorporated reviews and testimonials into your online presence, it is time to get started.

Thank you for reading. For my next post, I’ll share tips for building and maintaining trust, and, how to turn your followers and customers into cheerleaders for your business.

Susalyn Bennett

Social Media Manager/Photographer

Mansell Media offers full-circle creative, design and marketing services. Have something specific in mind? Contact us for a free consultation. Whether it is meeting for a cup of coffee, or traveling to each other, let’s talk.

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