The internet can be an incredibly impersonal place.
With all of the socialization that goes on online, 99% of all content we interact with is still text and images. While text and copy is a wonderful tool for persuasion, it still is not very personal.
Yet we hear all of the time that in order to get people to buy from us we have to get them to know, trust and like us.
Don't let "know, trust, and like" become a buzz phrase.
Too often the phrase, "know, trust, and like" is bled together. "Experts" say "get people to knowtrustandlike you, if you want them to buy."
It's as though "knowtrustandlike" you is a single action that will make you internet famous, where you can sell tons of stuff with a single tweet.
Don't make this mistake.
Make a conscious decision to remember that "Knowing", "Trusting", and "Liking" are three distinct and separate actions.
Separate the three and free yourself the mental space to work on each individually.
Know- Allowing people to know who you are and what you're about. Knowing is about being up front about your ideals, principals, who you for, and more importantly who you are not for.
Trust- Can your information be verified by someone else putting it into action? Trust is all about what you can do for your readers.
Like- This is where we try way too hard. Liking is an instant connection. Most people will decide if they like you within 5 seconds of coming to your site. It's more about design, color palette, and use of headlines than anything else. People are too busy to read then make the decision if they like you. Unless you make it easy, you will not be given the time of day.
Don't make the mistake of trying to cram "knowtrustandlikeme!" into everything you produce. (see minimalist guide to online marketing strategy)
What this article will be focusing on...
The "Knowing" & "Liking" aspects of your home base, the website.
But first, let me ask you a question...
Where do visitors land when they come to your website for the first time?
- Is it a blog article?
- The home page?
- A custom landing page?
Most people will answer with either blog article or home page. But will be thrown for a loop when asked:
Where is the second place they go after the initial point of entry?
In an ideal world we'd write every piece of content to be so mind blowingly awesome that first time visitors will be so awestruck they'll want to go through and consume every thing we've every written.
But let's be honest, you can't be amazing all the time. So here are two words that will dramatically improve a new visitors ability to know you.
Before I go into detail, I'd like to share a quick story about how my 5-month-old son helped me realize just how important this is.
My son has recently gotten bored with his play mat. Toys dangling above his head no longer hold his attention the same way they did 2 months ago (go figure).
Thankfully he was given one of those Leapfrog playtables for Christmas, and with his need for a more interactive toy, this seemed like the perfect time to introduce it to him.
But what would seem really simple to you or I, he had no idea what to do with it.
It wasn't until I pressed his hands against the different buttons that it made sense to him.
That he didn't understand, wasn't because he's a baby, but the concept of this toy was radically different from the stuffed animals that hung above his head.
This isn't unlike a first-time visitor.
Something to keep in mind, for the most part, the internet is pretty boring.
Most visitors to your site are likely to be in a similar state of mind as my son on his play mat - bored.
They see a variation of standard navigation for every site, and for the most part, will avoid clicking standard nav, simply to prevent becoming more bored.
As site owners, our biggest mistake is hiding all the "getting to know you" type information on the About me page.
So unless you spell it out and make it dead simple, the majority of people won't take the extra time to get to know you.
Get to the point already!
The point, is to create a "Start Here" page for your blog.
These two words give people a very clear direction of where to go if they're coming to your website for the first time.
If they're reading an article, those two words will ring in their mind until they click the link.
Once they've clicked, the "Start Here" page makes it easy for people to know who you are and what you're about.
Some things to include on your "Start Here" page
- video or image of you
- top posts
- summery of the goals of your site
- who the site is for/not for
- gentle nudge to your mailing list
- any other first impression stuff you'd like to make
The purpose of the "Start Here" page is to give people the chance to decide if they like you or not, instead of cramming "knowtrustandlikeme" down their throat.
It also acts as a filter.
It's pretty likely someone who clicks on a link that says "Start Here", is interested in getting to know you a little better. So capitalize on that. Let your "Start Here" page be the place where you embody what your blog is supposed to be about. Let it be the impression you want people to have of you. It will also give them a lens as to how to look at you too.
And next time you're on a new website, when you click away after you're done reading the article, ask yourself, if you were told to "Start Here" would it have made a difference?