Websites must be tailor made

When you look at a web page you decide whether or not to stick around in the blink of an eye. Various research studies put the time taken for us to decide whether or not we like a web page as between 0.2 seconds and 0.56 seconds. That might seem all too rapid to make the decision, but you’d be amazed at what you can achieve within 0.2 seconds.

For instance, that’s the difference between Usain Bolt and the runners who don’t even get a medal, in spite of being amongst the fastest in the world. Time gaps of 0.2 seconds make the difference between winning or losing a Formula One race – so reactions faster than that are needed by the drivers. And a gap of 0.2 seconds means the difference between crashing into another car on the motorway or escaping by 20 feet, if you are travelling at the speed limit. Quite a lot can happen in one fifth of a second. Indeed, you can even work out the emotional state of the people around you all within that blink of your eye.

Your brain is capable of processing a lot of information in that short amount of time. You can, for instance read the page headline and see if there are the keywords you were looking for. You can also detect whether or not the site is easy to navigate and you can check out the images to see if the site is your kind of thing. Plus you make a judgement as to whether or not the site is packed with distracting adverts, whether it is likely to be informative and whether or not it is well put together. All in the blink of an eye.

What your website visitors want to know in that 0.2 seconds is the answer to this question: “Is this web page for me?” or “Is this exactly what I am looking for?”.

Now, new research complicates the picture still further. Psychologists in Canada have demonstrated that in order for us to be persuaded by any information the content needs to match our personality type. So not only do your web pages need to show they are exactly what people are after, you also need to match the content to the personality types of the visitors you are targeting.

In the past, before the Internet, this is what you actually did with all your content – such as your company brochures. You spent time chatting to potential clients and then pointing them to the relevant page in the brochure. If you detected they were not the “detail” kind of personality, but more “gut instinct”, you might even say to them “don’t bother reading this brochure, I’ll get one of our existing customers to give you a call and let you know what they think about us”. In other words, in the “olden days”, sales people questioned their targets and prospects, interviewed them and generally worked out the best way to respond. They did not have a “one size, fits all” approach.

But now, on the Internet, that’s exactly what most businesses do, which is why it is not as successful as it might be. Sales messages are getting lost online because unlike the past, they are not tailored enough. This new research is a reminder that effective selling takes place when it matches the target’s precise requirements and delivers it according to their personality.

Online it is tough because unlike real world sales interviews you don’t have 15 minutes, merely 0.2 seconds. And that means you simply must tailor your web pages to specific targets and match the personality types of these people. In other words, one size fits all web pages are relatively useless; web pages for each individual customer are the way to go, if we could only have an app that achieved that.

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