I Is for Interest

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Picture this: someone clicks a link and lands on your website. Moment of truth. Actually split second of truth. Research has shown you have 0.2 seconds to make a good impression on your site visitor. Then you have 2.6 seconds for that impression to really be fleshed out (hey, we humans have survived a long time based on our fight or flight response). With our attention being as divided and valuable as it is, we only want to spend that currency on worthwhile activities (bottle flipping videos aside). So I is for Interest (remember our AIDA system?). If you want to capture the interest of your website visitors, you had better accomplish these five goals.

Give Them What They Came For

The first objective is to map your visitor’s intent to what you’re giving them. How frustrating is it to research a topic (for example, online marketing) and get to an article that promised 10 things you had to know but find that it’s a content farm site (like About.com) that teach little about anything. When I accidentally click on one of those sites, I hit the back button as fast as possible to get going to something else. So you have to really match what the user wants right off the bat. A classic example I had recently was a company running online ads that promised a special deal landing on a product page that didn’t have that deal. Yes, it was the right product, but no offer – headline mismatch – meant no conversions. Zero. Nada. Paid search. Ouch. An offer that got attention, whether it was from a blog post or an ad, needs to match on first blush.

Show Them Your True Colors, Visually

If you have a short time to convey your message, visuals do more. That is, if your visual appeal is strong, you get more time. Photos and videos above the fold work in your favor, especially if they’re interesting.

Does This Image Make Our Blog Look Interesting?
Does This Image Make Our Blog Look Interesting?

Don’t Scare Them

We’ve written about some scary websites before, where the visual appeal was zilch and the cortisol response was high. If your web page looks like it was written circa 1997, using the blink tag and border size five, you’ll probably frighten people away in less than 0.2 seconds. Keep it visually clean and current. So when a tech guy says “hit refresh”, you may want to add that as an annual reminder to update your website too 🙂

Tell Them Why

While I is for Interest, V is for Value Proposition. Once the user knows they’re in the right place, tell them succinctly and clearly what they’re going to get. If you’re doing it right, it’s part science, part art and part math. Science – getting the right neurological response. Art – being creative with your words and images. Science – measuring and testing and changing to see what works best to get more interest. I’ve seen some of the best copywriters in the world get it wrong with more than one attempt, so don’t assume you’re right with that proposition you dashed off over the weekend. Unless you’re too busy to take more business, you probably have room for improvement. We’ve prepared more on the subject is another article.

Don’t Be Pushy

As a corollary to the idea of not scaring them, don’t try to go too far too fast. Some call it knowing the temperature of your audience – are they a cold lead or a warm prospect? If your page goes from 0 to 60 (e.g., a PPC campaign to “buy our $1000 product in one click”), your chances are quite slim. Knowing the temperature of your audience is key to the future pieces we’ll discuss – Desire and Action – so plan for it when you create the content and call to action. If you have a new product, a big ask or a long sales cycle, make sure you’re accounting for it in your overall plans.


I Is for Interest

If you’re familiar with our approach, you know we talk about the analytics behind all these ideas. In Google Analytics, the foundational measures for Interest are most likely Bounce Rate and Time Spent on Page. If you have a high bounce rate, or if the time spent on your pages is really low, you should strongly consider all these ideas. Start simple, determining whether you have misalignment between your lead magnets and your content (we find this a common problem). Then drill down, fixing mistakes. When you build new content, use these guidelines as a litmus test before you publish. Interest is non-negotiable in your overall marketing strategy – if you have it, it’s a strong currency for sales conversion, and if you don’t, it’s a tax on website traffic…

So I is for Interest. Remember! Remember!