c o n t r o l l i n g  f i r s t   i m p r e s s i o n s

First impressions count. Where videos for websites and creative video marketing sit in the sales process. For a long while we were involved with a property development business. One of the most fascinating aspects was the psychology of selling a property. Houses are the all-time emotional sell with less time spent on deciding whether to buy a particular house than on putting together the menu for a dinner party. In fact, some developers believe they have just eleven seconds to make a sale. This is the time it takes for someone to pass through the front door and stand in the hallway. It’s a subconscious decision at this stage, but these first impressions are so strong that everything seen during the remainder of the viewing either confirms the initial decision or is dismissed. (Estate Agents hate the current and growing trend for ‘drive-bys’ where people decide on whether to view a house based on how it looks from a car window).
This latent decision-making runs through every aspect of our lives. When we meet someone for the first time at say a business meeting, we do not look for how intelligent they are or weigh up their expertise. We first glance unwittingly at their clothes, notice how well-groomed they are and make a million other tiny assessments that form a first impression. The human brain is very good at making snap judgements based on comparisons between the huge amounts of data we have already stored. There is a powerful behavioural model called Principal Component Psychology that suggests everything we encounter (whether abstract or concrete) is assessed on many bi-polar scales. So a wooden table sits somewhere on different scales where the extremes are warm and cold, hard and soft, smooth and rough and so on. All of this is done with frightening speed and in evolutionary terms it is obvious that the quicker a person or object can be assessed, the more efficient the process of living becomes.
If birds and fish or even insects can make snap decisions that can save their lives it is little wonder that people have a highly-developed process of speedy decision-making as well. Why is this so important to your online activity? Just think about the way a new visitor to your website behaves. Inevitably a first impression will form. This first impression is critical to whether this visitor becomes a customer or leaves for somewhere else. As with other decision making processes, the first impression will be more emotional than rational. Your strategy should therefore be to control this process and make sure the emotional response to your site is a positive one. That’s why the first piece of marketing communication that your new viewer should see is a video. Video is not so good at imparting information but is second-to-none at generating an emotional response. Moving images create a feeling towards its subject matter that sets the scene for the whole of the rest of the website. No wonder Video Marketing gurus say that your homepage should be dominated by your principal video, set to auto-play so that attention is immediately grabbed from the moment someone lands there.
The video itself should be no longer than two minutes long because on average, 50% of viewers will have tuned out by then. This is more than enough time to create a strong, emotional response in the viewer that gives such a positive first impression that it would take a catastrophic mistake elsewhere on the website to be overturned. Once this scene has been set, the rest of the website can present more rational information that confirms the propensity to buy.
Looked at this way, the web video becomes a vital bridge in the sales process. A bridge into your website that confirms how good your organisation is, not some add-on that is buried several pages away from the home page, only there because someone suggested it might be useful for SEO.

< Video is not so good at imparting information but is second-to-none at generating an emotional response. Moving images create a feeling towards its subject matter that sets the scene for the whole of the rest of the website. (film by chrismugford.com)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

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