The Power of a Blink: for Good and for Bad
In Malcolm Gladwell’s #1 National Bestseller “Blink”, we learn that:
People have a tremendous ability to ‘thin slice’ – that is, they can take what appears to be the most minimal and instantaneous of information and make incredibly expansive, accurate and insightful judgments and decisions.
… but, unfortunately …
People are also fallible and can make completely erroneous and even dangerous snap judgments biased by prior and existing preconceptions, misconceptions and misinformation.
There are examples all around us:
You see a prospective employee and you often know with great certainty, within a few minutes whether this person will fit well within the organization.
You look at a product and you immediately have positive or negative vibes towards it.
You see a storefront and you know immediately whether you want to step in or stay out.
You see a person and based solely on their look, dress and skin color, you make an instantaneous decision as to whether you might like them or be able to like them.
Read Malcolm Gladwell’s book if you need more explanation, background and examples.
You Only Get a Blink – Make it Count
When you run a business and own a website, much the same thing happens. A prospective client looks at search engine results for seconds before deciding on which sites to review further. When they enter a website, they often glance around quickly before deciding whether to look further or to move on. Decisions are made instantly – in the blink of an eye.
It’s certainly unfair that all the work you’ve put into your website and business gets such short review. But, inevitably how could it be any other way – with some estimates placing the number of websites in existence at 300,000.000.
Information overload – if nothing else – forces us all to make snap judgments and snap decisions.
What happens in that instant when someone looks at your website?
We may not be able to easily express it but we know instantly when we’ve encountered a professional versus a non-professional site; a site we might want to investigate further and a site that repels us for some reason; a site we find trustworthy and credible and a site we don’t; and, we quickly leave the latter.
But, what exactly are we basing our judgments and decisions on? Is it the appropriate landing pages and the easy navigation they afford? Is it the images used and the framing and formatting of the web page? Is it the content and the keywords that appear in different areas of different pages? Is it the well known brand logos that appear on the site? Is it the Better Business Bureau logo? Is it that a real person appears as the owner? Is it because of Client testimonials? Company guarantees?
Yes, it’s that and everything else ON YOUR SITE.
But, it’s also more then that – it’s everything else OFF YOUR SITE.
Note: That’s one reason in SEO we often speak in terms of ‘On-Site’ and ‘Off-Site’ optimization.
If they’ve heard about you or seen you in another context that also comes dramatically into play.
Did they read your blog or read about you in a blog? Have they interacted with you on Facebook or Twitter? Do you belong to the same Group on LinkedIn?
What does your LinkedIn Profile look like? Have people recommended you on LinkedIn? Did they arrive at your site via another trustworthy and quality site?
The more places where someone has interacted with you; your brand and your ‘presence’ the more likely they will have an accurate – and hopefully positive – impression of you.
The Power of Value
When you do get that ‘Blink’, what do you do with it?
What are you offering that’s of value to prospective clients to give you additional time to make your case; to make them directly connect and engage with you? Is it useful, is it compelling, is it sticky? Do they want to link to you because of it or tell their friends about it?
You need to give value. And, don’t think that it’s just the value of your service or product that’s sufficient. There are intermediate means of providing value like free content and information that serve to establish trust, credibility and your credentials.
We harp about providing value to your Clients frequently and that’s because – in the end – it is ALL about value.
The Role of SEO
SEO is all about doing the work behind the scenes so that the first impression is a great impression. SEO is also about creating lasting and positive impressions. It’s about pulling people into your fold by providing them opportunities to access and experience the value that you’re providing. It’s about ensuring that you get your share of Blinks and when you get your ‘Blink’, you’ll already have stacked the deck in your favor.