We have just seven seconds to make a good first impression according to Forbes; 27 seconds according to a study by Dollar Shave Club; or as little as one tenth of a second according to studies by Bulgarian psychologist Alexander Todorov. The data differs, but it’s pretty clear we don’t have long.
A Harvard study revealed that it typically?takes?eight subsequent positive encounters to change another person’s negative opinion. When it comes to our businesses, our brands and ourselves, we don’t always have that luxury of eight further attempts to undo damage, which is why it’s essential to get it right the first time. This applies to all of our business endeavours, as well as in our personal lives.
When it comes to your website, customers will leave within seconds if they don’t like what they see or can’t find the information they’re seeking. At a show-round, guests will make an instant judgement about the suitability of a venue and their perception of the tour guide. During a business pitch, an interview, a marketing campaign or a speech at an event, the same applies.
As the hospitality sector prepares to reopen over the coming weeks, the competition for a website that stands out will be tougher than ever. There will be so many options, and therefore the moment your website captures the attention of a prospective customer, it needs to work hard at making a good first impression to retain their attention.
Here are five top tips for ensuring your website makes a positive first impression:
1. Understand the audience you’re trying to captivate
It sounds obvious, but first and foremost, you have to understand exactly who you want to make a good first impression on. Who is your target audience? Why would they be visiting your website, and what are they hoping to achieve? This should always be the basis of your targeted strategy.
2. Don’t waffle above the fold
Get straight to the point! The content hosted above the fold (i.e. the content that is visible in your browser window before having to start scrolling) is where visitors spend most of their time and therefore where a first impression is formed. The content should immediately grab the user’s attention and offer the solution you anticipate they are looking for, so that they don’t bounce and visit another site. Your website users should understand exactly what your product is within the first two sentences of copy.
3. Focus on visualisation
Sometimes, you can spend three paragraphs trying to describe something that could be conveyed in one image. That’s why investment in quality photography for your website is imperative. A mediocre representation of your venue or hotel is the difference between securing and losing a booking. You won’t have the opportunity to jump into your prospective client’s DMs and reassure them that you look better in real life, so to give you a chance – by this point, they’ve already swiped left.
4. Make it easy to take action
Although your customer might not be ready to make a booking within the first few seconds, you need to offer instruction on what they do next. Providing sufficient calls to action shows the user that you’ve understood their thought process and keeps them on your website. Your home page should invite visitors to find out more, to subscribe to your database, to enquire.
5. Ensure due diligence on quality control
Grammar matters! Although spelling and choice of language might not directly correlate to the quality of service that you can offer to guests, you’re still going to be judged on it. It’s a statement of professionality and helps customers take you seriously as a brand. If writing is not your strength, you should consider seeking out professional services to write your website content for you.
At Custard, we are currently embarking on a full website redevelopment project of our own and look forward to unveiling our brand-new site in the coming months. For support and guidance on making the best first impression to your target audience through your website and wider marketing channels, get in touch with a member of the Custard team today.