Is your website “tip-of-the-tongue”…?

Is the memory for your website being erased?What did you do before Google came along? Do you remember? When I ask that question people generally mutter something about Yahoo! or Excite…but few people recall precisely what they did to find web-based information.

And what did you do before online banking and you wanted to transfer money between accounts? Did you have to go into the branch? Could you do it by telephone? Did you write a letter? The chances are, your memory is somewhat hazy about the precise process of inter-account transfers before the world of online banking.

And what about daytime television? What did millions of people do in the daytime before that was invented? I bet they can’t remember..!

The fact is, Google is part of the daily routine for hundreds of millions of people – so much so their memory for what they did before Google has faded. Similarly, if you have been using online banking for a decade or more, the chances of you recalling the days of inter-account transfer slips is somewhat limited. And, well, I won’t ask you about daytime TV…!

The point is this: if you use something regularly, if it is ever-present in your life, your memory for it is enhanced. However, your past encounters with products and services may be in the dim recesses of your mind, but they are not “tip-of-the-tongue” are they?

Our brains soon suppress memories it no longer needs. So, when you start to use a service like Google on a regular basis, your brain goes “so, this old Yahoo! stuff is now irrelevant, I’ll archive it in this dusty old corner then”.

So, if you are in business, ask yourself whether your online presence is getting archived in the dim recesses of the brains of your target audience. If they don’t encounter you on a regular basis you face the danger of their brains relegating you to the back of their mind, rather than where you want it to be – “tip-of-the-tongue”.

Research confirms that memories are suppressed when things have reduced visibility. In other words, if you are not emailing your list regularly, if you are not promoting your website constantly, if you are not on social media each day and you are not producing new content every day, you are lowering your online visibility. And that means you are in danger of being forgotten.

However, one interesting new study adds a twist to this. Researchers from Korea have discovered that when the memory for a visual object is suppressed we do indeed remember it, if it is presented as a mirror image. This suggests that it is the unusual nature which triggers the memory.

So, if you cannot put the resources into doing constant promotion for your website and producing loads of content, you could increase the chances of being “tip-of-the-tongue” if your website and what you offer is so strikingly different it is memorable.

You have a choice – constant, never-ending promotion or be outstandingly different.


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Graham Jones
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+
Graham Jones


Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist, professional speaker and author of 32 books who helps businesses understand the online behaviour of their customers
RT @SteveHeadSpeaks: Thanks to @GuidesForBrides for having @ChrisHeadMagic at #ukwedconf @MiltonHillhotel learning from the best @grahamjon - 17 hours ago
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