Antion and Associates’ Tom Antion on Making Sure Your Web Site ‘Gets Personal’
TM: What are Web surfing customers looking for when they visit a business Web site?
TA: Well, of course that varies according to what services or products are being offered, whether the customer is looking to buy now or just browsing, and many other factors. But in general, customers are looking to say, “Wow! That’s just for me! This is exactly what I’ve been looking for.” They won’t get that “Wow!” feeling if everything on your site is so generically written that it could apply to anyone and everyone. If you have them follow a few simple prompts, “Click here if A” and “Click here if B,” you take them down separate paths, with every word on that path slanted to that particular group.
Let’s say your Web site offers educational help or materials for children. Your first page tells parents to click here, and teachers to click there. Then, let’s say we have the teachers click here if they teach grades one through seven, and click there if they teach grades eight through 12. We can break each category down several times, more acutely tailoring the information at every click. Each group and each subgroup are going to have different emotional triggers, different hot button issues if you will. You tailor each different path to hit a different emotional trigger, and you get that “Wow!” you were looking for.
TM: You have written that it is vital for business owners to continually tweak their sites to improve that interaction with customers. Why is that so important?
TA: It’s part of the psychology of sales. And if sales psychology was important a few years ago, imagine what it’s like today, with consumers bombarded with thousands of sales pitches from thousands of Web sites. You can’t allow your potential customer to get bored with your presentation. On the Internet, bored equals gone. If you lose their attention, even for a moment, they’re clicking out of there, and are gone forever. By custom tailoring your Web site to each part of your target demographic, you have that much more chance of keeping their attention, and keeping their business.