Think about the last time that your heart was so heavily burdened and your mind was going 100 miles per hour, you just couldn’t sleep. What were you thinking about?
If you know me, I am a great sleeper. I take 30 minutes picking out the right movie to watch, get all cozy, and after a couple of minutes of the opening scene…I am out! Most nights, I fall asleep before my head hits the pillow. Except for when I have something heavy on my mind.
Last week, we found out our dog Sugar (sweet Maltese of 15 years) became terminally ill. She stopped eating and her kidney was failing. They say 15 years is a good long life for most dogs, but I just couldn’t sleep thinking about missing her and also trying to figure out what next steps to take.
As a business, we always have to ask ourselves, “What problem are you solving?” But when we ask our customers the same question, they often fumble around not knowing exactly what their needs are…until, we ask them this: “What keeps you up at night? What is it about your current situation that causes such a heavy burden that you are not able to peacefully sleep?”
During our painful research of “what next steps to take” with our beloved Sugar, we ran across a lot of websites that offered the same solution for our heaviness, but they did it in totally different ways. I would like to share with you why we chose who we chose and how they met our expectations and delivered exactly what we hoped for. A peaceful transition for Sugar into her next adventure.
Why we chose this company:
1. Welcome Section: Right away, they acknowledged what we are going through and offered comfort. But what I really loved about what they said was that the focus wasn’t on the pet owners (us), it was on the pet…what they were going through and what we all could do to help. In this story, they made the pet the hero, not the pet owners. This captured my attention right away.
2. Information Section: They started educating us. They showed us why the services they offered were right for us. It answered the most pressing questions we have and it included a link to more in-depth discussions, research, and videos helping us understand and create a clear picture of the process and expectations.
3. Testimonial Section: They offered insight to the people who have used their service. Their testimonials were not templated or generic; they were real, heart-felt testimonials in letter form explaining in detail how much they appreciated the service and why.
4. About Us Section: Even though they were all well-qualified doctors, they focused very little on their own accomplishments but more on their own story of childhood and how they became animal lovers, and why they currently love what they do and how it affects people’s lives.
Why we didn’t choose the other companies offering the same services:
1. Welcome Section: They didn’t take the time to acknowledge the visitors’ heaviness that brought us to their site in the first place. They mainly focused on all the different services they offer right away. Felt very salesy and untrustworthy.
2. Information Section: It was vague and didn’t offer additional resources or videos to educate or address the difficult questions or even controversial issues or philosophies about their services.
3. Testimonial Section: Mostly short, non-descriptive and templated testimonials. They didn’t offer any personal stories or even detailed examples of what was helpful.
4. About Us Section: Heavy emphasis was on the credentials of the doctors. Their education and previous experiences. Felt cold…like reading a resume.
This is why copywriting matters. It’s the latest word in our definitions series, and it really does have the power to shape people’s first impression of you. Although I’ve never met or spoken to anyone from the first company, just from reading the copy on their website, I knew in my heart, it was the right company. And it was.
We all know how hard it is to find solutions to meet our most important needs. Here’s to being that company that answers people’s questions with the empathy they are looking for so that on sleepless nights when people go searching, they find you.
First impressions are crazy. I read about a Princeton research project where people watched a video of political candidates for a microsecond, and then they were asked to predict who would win the election. Turns out the subjects correctly guessed the winner 70% of the time.
We make millions of snap judgments throughout the day, and once that impression is formed, it’s very hard to change it.
I know what you’re thinking: “Hanju, why are you talking about first impressions? I don’t need your help with my online dating!” But here’s the thing: this same thinking actually applies to our professional lives as well.
The big question is, what do you think is the first impression of your business? Nowadays, (much like dating), people are probably making their first impression before they even meet you based on what they see online. So… what would be their first impression of your website?
I wrote a guide to help businesses consider the 3 aspects of your website design that are absolutely essential in creating that perfect first impression. Here’s a link to the guide – but if you don’t want to download it and read through 11 pages, here’s a quick summary.
It all starts with the HERO IMAGE.
- The hero image is the first image or message (or both) that people will look at when they arrive at your website. If it doesn’t make an impact in the first nanosecond, you may have already lost the customer. How do you make sure it connects?
Glad you asked – here are my top 3 tips:
- Evoke Emotion: The image or the message should make you “feel” something. There’s a much greater chance that they will be intrigued and moved to continue reading.
- Be very clear: Your message, and how it introduces who you are/the services you offer should be obvious. Don’t make them try to figure it out or be too clever – it will just frustrate them. Tell people exactly what you do and how it benefits them.
- Tell them what to do now: This is called the “Call To Action” or CTA. Every website should have a CTA to help direct people toward eventually becoming your customer.
In the guide, I also include some great examples and visuals so you can see what others have done successfully if you want to learn more. Here’s that link again.
I hope this helps you think through how you can make a positive first impression on all the potential customers that come to your site. And if you’re single… I hope they also swipe right.
I am a runner. I logged close to 1000 miles last year, and I am tracking to do the same this year. It is important to me that I have the right running shoes that are a proper fit and that allow me to run at my best. So why is that that when I am shopping for running shoes, I neglect looking for the features of how my next shoes can help me run better, faster and free from injury, but I first walk over to the specific brand section and I am immediately drawn to the design – colors, styles and overall look of the shoes before I even try them on?
Psychology breaks it down:
What is a brand? “It’s an emotional and intellectual association people make with a specific person or thing.” What does that mean? Well, it means that a pair of Nike running shoes is not just materials sewn together to protect and cushion your feet while running, it is a competitive, over–achiever with lean and defined muscular physique exclaiming “just do it!” A brand is filled with the characteristics, traits and hopes of a living person. It means that somewhere in my subconscious mind, I want to be that guy, and if I wear these shoes, I am half way there. I just have to work on the lean and defined muscular physique…P90X anyone?
Why we choose Design over Function? Because most of us perceive good design as someone who does good work. It manages our expectations and experience in many ways. How we feel at that moment is going to help us engage and even buy. And it’s directly influenced by the design.
What does this mean for you? When it comes down to it, design IS your brand. It reflects who you are, what you do, and what you care about. For your company, it reflects your culture, your purpose and your vision. Your website is like a room – the only room in your house you can show to the world. It’s where every item is displayed for the sole purpose of impressing visitors to buy products, follow your ideas, or use your services. Does your current website reflect who you are? I’ve added a quick checklist for you to find out.