Edinburgh Web Development

What business can learn from Andre Agassi

by Iain Wilson

28 February 2006

Quite a few years ago tennis player Andre Agassi came up with a media quote that has probably come back to haunt him as he got older. He said, "Image is Everything". In those days Andre had hair and was generally recognised as a pretty cool dude. He had advertising contracts with Nike and probably lots of other companies. In fact, it might have been the marketing folks at Nike that actually came up with the quote.

Back then, his tennis wasn't actually as good as it later became when the image and the barnet went and he started doing some proper training and work with Brad Gilbert, but the point is; back then, his image could sell just about anything.

So the quote, trite as it was, wasn't far off the mark. If fact when you apply that to web sites and marketing, it is right on the button.

The point is a web site is a fantastic medium if you can get your visitor interested. If they like what they see, you've got a marketing person's dream; total attention of your audience, involved (see them clicking their mouse to get to the next marvelous page!), and interested to move to the next step.

That's the up-side, when everything has gone well and the first 2-3 seconds of looking at your home page got their interest and made something resonate with them. Why did that happen? Well, let's get back to that in a second, but first what's the downside? The downside is that in 2-3 seconds, if you're site is not proving interesting or soothing or giving something nice, they're gone.

Side note: in the future it will be less than 2 seconds. Believe me, I've seen the next generation coming through. My daughter is absolutely ruthless. She is a clicking machine. You have milleseconds, or it's all over.

So why do some sites capture interest? Usually it comes down to one word: design. If your site has been produced with a customised design for your business, by a professional, then you should have a site that evokes a theme consistent with your business, makes your visitor's eye follow the content in a way that presents your messages in the right order, and provides 'temptation' in the way of links to more information or facilities.

How is this done? It's not magic - well, maybe a little - it is a combination of design techniques, experience, understanding your business and perhaps a good eye. It takes time and it costs money - but at the end of the day, it might just keep your visitor long enough to turn them into a customer. Maybe Andre was right.

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