Picture a pink elephant dancing the two-step in a bright blue
skirt. Got it? Are you sure? If not, reread this paragraph.
If you really have it, you won't be able to forget it if asked
to do so. Pictures in our minds are simply too powerful to be
erased on command.
We Think In Pictures
If I ask you what you had for breakfast, you'll bring up a
memory of your plate, then tell me what you ate as you "watch"
yourself doing so. While some think in the abstract, just sort
of rattle off a list, most of us will picture ourselves eating
breakfast, then hold that image long enough to answer the
If I ask what you did last summer vacation, and you had a
great, fun-filled time, you may become so overwhelmed with
pictures, you kind of shrug, maybe grin, then say something
inane like, "I had a real good time."
But if I can get you to talking about that vacation, the
pictures will roll out in front of you one by one, and you'll
describe them in grand detail. Swimming in the ice cold stream.
How that sudden thunder shower forced you to dash for cover.
About the campfires, and the very long tales shared over the
coals. And that bear. That for sure is something you'll remember!
Now if I ask what your three favorite websites are, what's
going to happen? Are you likely to rattle off the URLs? Or will
you first remember the image of the site, then maybe plug in
that URL? For most, it's the latter. Because we think, and
remember, in pictures.
The Image Of Your Website Must Be Memorable
To the degree possible, you want the image of your site to
remain as clear in your visitor's mind as that ice cold stream,
that sudden thunder shower, the campfires, and that bear.
Three elements need to be blended with precisely the proper mix
to make this happen.
1) The headline and subheadings must bring a quick answer to
your visitor's question: What's in this for me? And, of course,
they must demonstrate, almost in a glance, that there is in fact
something here of great value to them. To the degree these
collective elements create a positive mental image of your
offer, they contribute powerfully to your site.
2) The body copy under each subheading must also draw a great
picture. In this case, a "picture" of benefits to the visitor.
Seek to create an image for your visitor in which he or she can
see themselves enjoying this benefit.
3) The art work is secondary to the above, but absolutely
critical. All must enhance the presentation, but in a quiet,
non-intrusive manner. Bold images fail because they have a
thrust, a push, unappealing to most. Soften these elements.
Blend them into a simple, attractive, pleasant, and supportive
background. Let the art work complete the task of creating a
memorable image of the site.
Sell With Images Drawn With Words
We must picture ourselves experiencing the benefits of a
product before buying it. There's nothing new in this.
Copywriters have known it for years. We need to listen to these
people, and study their work with care.
If we are selling tickets to Tahiti, we do not attempt to do so
directly. First we show our reader, a man in this case, the
beautiful beaches, with nicely tanned people cavorting about and
having a grand time. And, of course, the hula dancers for which
the island is famous. We show our prospect what he will feel on
this beach under the tropical sun, with the drink of his choice
in hand, and a lovely woman close by.
Only when we are certain he has this picture clearly in mind,
do we begin leading gently toward a sale. Maybe: We can to get
you on a plane, into a great hotel, then out onto that beach in
just a few short hours. Then maybe: Isn't it time you did
something for yourself? Or maybe just for the heck of it?
By Contrast, ...
Picture a site that slaps you the face with images up top which
are slow to load. As to our needs, the comments are limited to,
"We're the best," "Cheapest rates," and so forth. All followed
by a confusing, jumbled array of options that are virtually
unintelligible at least at first glace. And maybe later as well.
Which site will you chose to work with? Which site will you
Not graphics. That's not what I mean at all. What matters is
the pictures you are able to create in your visitor's mind. And
that's pretty much all that does matter.
I continue to be awed at how delicious those hamburgers from
Jack In The Box look in the TV commercials, particularly after
just finishing a great dinner. And only $0.99? Wow. Where do I
sign up? Problem is, I tried one once. Spoils the image for me,
that's for sure.
I love the idea behind, "Sell the sizzle, not the steak." But
underneath it all, you'll do better if there's a great steak.
About the author:
Bob McElwain Want to build a winning site? Improve one you
already have? Fix one that's busted? Get ANSWERS. Subscribe to
"STAT News" now! mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Web marketing
and consulting since 1993 Site: <http://sitetipsandtricks.com>