If you think about it, people browse the internet like they browse a grocery store. When a customer gets to an aisle looking for a product – but not a particular brand – they peruse all of the different brands in order to find one that stands out to them. Maybe the name rings a bell, or they have seen that packaging at a friend’s house, or maybe the packaging simply appeals to them; whatever the reason, they make their decision and put that package in their shopping cart and continue on.
In the same way that a package of crackers or cookies catches a customer’s eye in the grocery store, your website can catch someone’s eye when they use search engines, or are clicking on links on another site, or hear about your site from someone. One major difference is that people can access your site for “free” (with the exception of cookies and other tracking methods that you should be using on your site). So someone could potentially access hundreds or thousands of sites like yours in an effort to find exactly what they are looking for. What are they looking for? You might not know, but like the package on a shelf, you can help them figure that out.
We’ve talked about lining your content up with your sales funnel, and this is a similar conversation: how do you get your content to inform a user how they want to be informed?
You almost never see nutrition information listed in a prominent position on a package, but why? That information might help to inform a customer, but it is more than likely going to overwhelm most uninformed buyers. That amount of detailed information would more than likely drive most people off. When you are looking for a product, you want to see the product, maybe even how the product is used, or some suggestions in how to use it. This doesn’t mean that you have to have a product on your website, simply that you want your site to inform in wide strokes at first.
Look at Oreos packaging: there are big (enlarged to show texture) images of the cookies splashing into milk. This gives the viewer a mouthwatering image and suggestion. Oreo tells you nothing about a cookie, but when you include an image, you get a clear picture of what is on the inside of the package and how to use it.
When a user accesses your website, they should be treated the same way. The home page should have wide swath, 30,000 foot views of what your site is about in order to help direct interested people further into your and uninterested folks away from your site. You don’t want to waste people’s time and they don’t want to waste their own time.