Your (Customer’s) Brain on Computers, Part 3

Some of these online customer characteristics represent challenges from our point of view as marketers. However, keeping them in mind when we structure our online content can help us craft more effective messages. Here are some suggestions.

Ten (plus) tips to reach and retain the online customer

Cartoon - where is everybody?
Ever feel like that little fellow at the top? Follow these tips to capture your online customers’ attention – and encourage them to stay on your site!
photo credit: HikingArtist.com via photopin cc

Some of the characteristics of online customers represent challenges from our point of view as marketers. However, keeping them in mind when we structure our online content can help us craft more effective messages. Here are some suggestions for keeping the attention of your online visitors:

  1. Do your keyword research. The more closely your copy matches a customer’s exact concerns, the more likely he will be to pay close attention.
  2. Pay special attention to headlines and leads. Use powerful, compelling, benefit-driven headlines to draw your reader in. Get right to the point in your copy ; this doesn’t necessarily mean push for the sale right away, but you want to be sure to give the reader ample reason to stick with you.
  3. Use subheads, captions, bullets and graphics. Most web users are “power skimmers.” For max effect, use these elements to tell the outline of your story so a reader can get the gist of your message in a short amount of time.
  4. Avoid large blocks of text. These can intimidate the reader, and encourage him to click away.
  5. Provide excellent, useful information. The online reader won’t stick around if you’re not giving him something on value. He’d rather be on Facebook.
  6. Provide leadership in your copy and design. Have a clear idea of what you want your visitor to do, and include strong offers and calls to action in order to direct him there.
  7. Make it entertaining. Insert a bit of humor where appropriate. Rhyming text and alliterative language patterns are fun and can have a mesmerizing effect. (Just don’t overdo it!)
  8. Use clean, uncluttered design. Your customer is distracted enough without an overly busy web design adding to the mess.
  9. Encourage interaction. When the customer’s involved, he’s more likely to stay around.
  10. Hyperlink mindfully. Hyperlinking is very handy for providing credibility-building references and when you want to encourage the reader to visit a particular page. But hyperlinks can be dangerous, too. They can suck your reader right off your site. That’s why I use them sparingly and strategically. You might want to reserve them for internal links (say, to a landing page), and use footnotes for references as I did in parts 1 and 2 of this article. Why encourage attention deficit in your reader?
  11. Bonus! Type additional tips into the comment box below, and I’ll tweet them out. Be sure to include a link to your site!

<<Read Part 1             <Read Part 2

Your (Customer’s) Brain on Computers, Part 2

Visitors come to your website in a very different mental state than when they’re reading your brochure or speaking to a sales rep. Here are a few of the major characteristics of online customers:

Customer attention and memory retention: a guide to your customer’s brain on computers

Seriously. Wouldn’t you speak to this guy differently? Spending time online really does change the structure of the brain. Make sure your internet messaging reflects the fact!
photo credit: University of Maryland Press Releases via photopin cc

Visitors come to your website  in a very different mental state than when they’re reading your brochure or speaking to a sales rep.  Here are a few of the major characteristics of online customers:

  • Online customers tend to be flighty. The average time spent on a web page is well under a minute – much shorter than the amount of time a casual newspaper or periodical reader typically spends on a page. Web users are usually searching for something in particular, and unless the page they land on speaks exactly to their needs, they tend to buzz off rather quickly.
  • Web customers are multitaskers. When someone comes to your website, you’re competing with phone calls and texts, email and Skype notifications, and other webpages that your visitor has open at the same time (one study indicated that users have open an average of 3.2 browser tabs, with 25% of respondents keeping 11 or more open at a time). 1 Any of these distracting elements can interfere with the amount of time your customer spends on your site.
  •  Internet users will read your content if you capture your attention sufficiently.  A 2007 study found that once online readers settle into an article, nearly two thirds of them will read to completion.2
  • Internet use affects your customers’ memory. Research by Columbia University psychologist Betsy Sparrow indicates that Internet users tend to either remember information they find online, or where to find the information, but not both.3

<Read Part 1          Read Part 3>

 

References:

  1. Open This Story in a New Tab, Slate.com, Dec. 6, 2010
  2. Web News Readers Have Greater Attention Span: Study, Reuters.com, March 31, 2007
  3. Study Finds That Memory Works Differently in the Age of Google, Columbia University blog, July 14, 2011