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This article first appeared in the Fresno Business Journal
After we’ve made-over their web sites, my clients often tell me, “People are coming in and telling us they found our web site very helpful.”
That’s the word you should really be listening for when people comment about your web site. Not cool. Not pretty. Not even awesome!
Not that those things are bad. In fact, having an attractive and well-designed site signals your professionalism and is extremely important. But if you have an attractive site and it’s not helpful to solving your prospect’s problem, you’re in trouble.
When people have a problem they want to solve it. These days, the first thing they do is go to the Internet to ACTIVELY look for a solution. They do not sit down in front of the television and PASSIVELY hope a commercial comes on which addresses their problem.
This is a critical distinction to keep in mind when developing web site content — especially if you have video on your site. More on video later.
When people come to your web site they have done something ACTIVE to find it. Most likely they have typed a description of their problem in a search box.
It could be …
gifts for her
draperies and window coverings
teenagers texting while driving
appliance repair help
commercial truck trader
accountants Fresno ca
bedding for cribs
being sued, what do I do now?
People who type in search terms are seriously looking for answers. If their problem requires buying your product or service, they are hot prospects.
Even if folks are driven to your site after PASSIVELY watching or listening to a broadcast commercial, they are still in that ACTIVE mode when they actually sit down to their computer or pick up their mobile device and type in your web address.
You don’t want to disrupt that ACTIVE mode. You want to encourage it and help them find their answer with your product or service.
This is why videos placed on your site must not disrupt that ACTIVE mode by instantly playing the second your web page is loaded. It is incredibly disorienting because your prospect has to suddenly switch from ACTIVE to PASSIVE without any warning.
If he doesn’t want to look at a video just yet, he’ll scramble to turn the darn thing off or, worse, he’ll just click off the page. If you’re lucky, he’ll watch it in an irritated frame of mind.
You don’t want to irritate your prospects, especially on a first impression.
Now a video can be a useful and powerful tool on your web site. Just make sure you entice the reader to click on it to activate it himself. That way he has time to settle back and enjoy whatever it is you wish to tell or demonstrate.
And, again, the video should be “helpful.” It should give the viewer the information he needs to resolve his problem and take the next step.
I had a client who posted a video clip on her site from a news segment about her business. The video was grainy and the voices weren’t in sync with the action. Most of all, the video gave very little helpful information about her product.
There was lots of helpful information on her web page, but not in the video. Her analytics showed that people clicked on the video in droves and then they clicked away from her site just as fast.
So don’t load a video unless it’s truly helpful.
In fact, don’t load anything unless it’s truly helpful.