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Help Your Online Customers Meet Their Needs Quickly and Easily

To attract an audience to your Web site, you have to find out what they need and then quickly and conveniently meet that need. You already know what your Web site offers. Now turn your chair around and look at your site from the other direction. Why would a person come to your site? What goal would they be trying to meet?

You want to meet your visitors’ needs first, before trying to motivate them to do anything else. Imagine you’ve spent two hours working and sweating in the hot sun to fix a broken sprinkler in your yard. You finally get it under control and walk toward the house for a cold drink. You have only one thing on your mind: your thirst. If another family member meets you at the door to show you something, how attentive will you be? You’re probably not going to give them much attention until your need for cold refreshment is satisfied.

Similarly, your Web site visitors come to your site with a need in mind, and your first priority should be to meet that need. It may be to get information. It may be to research a product to buy. It may be to find a better price, free shipping, or some other special deal on a product they’ve already decided to buy. When you figure out what your site visitor’s goals are, you can make sure your Web pages deliver.

Meet your visitor’s goal in the easiest, quickest way you can. If your site sells choir robes, you want to help your visitor pick out the right styles, fabrics, sizes, and quantities as smoothly as possible. You can present lots of textual information to help them make the best choices, but you don’t want to distract them with cute videos of choir performances, mix in song lyric downloads, or clutter up your shopping cart page with Flash animations. Their goal is to purchase choir robes. Your goal is to help them do it as directly and pleasantly as possible. Do this by leaving clues in your copy for your visitors. Tell them how to accomplish their goal. Remember that the trigger words for shopping and research differ: buy, free, and sale appeal to different visitors than do how-to, step-by-step instructions, and more information.

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