3 Tips for Three Seconds

Three Tips for 3 Seconds

You have about 3 Seconds to interest anyone on the Internet.  People are scanning through lots of information every day.  Whether it’s through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn or they are receiving email and having to go through tens or hundreds at a time.  If you’re reading this, I’ve done the first part of my job successfully.  Beyond that, I have some time to interest you in what else I have to say.

Use some Brain Science.  Understand your consumer.  Think of this — a typical website visitor has an attention span of 3 Seconds the first time they see a webpage or an email. Does that seem like a long time? Try it yourself: go to a webpage you’ve never visited before, count to three in your head, and leave the website. What do you remember? If nothing grabbed you in that first three seconds (or even the first two seconds!) you probably would have been out of there.

Three seconds is all we’ve got as designers of marketing to capture a potential customer’s interest. That initial visual, interaction, or text someone sees is our opportunity to leave the most powerful impression on them. If we don’t get it right in these first few seconds, the chances are we won’t get another opportunity.

Take a look at this great example from Penny Arcade at what happens when a video game fails to engage users in its opening moments:

So the question becomes, how do we capture their attention in those first 3 Seconds? Back in the early days of the internet people used to think flashing buttons and blinking text was the answer. Thankfully that did not catch on for too long. These days people are trying to use design and usability to catch potential customer’s attention.

Let’s take a look at three points of interest and see how these points can be used to capture attention in those first 3 Seconds:

  1. A ‘wow moment’ in the first 3 Seconds: For video games, you get about 5 minutes to hook a user. But, on the Internet, everything is in hyperactive mode. Interesting people in your products or what you have to offer when it comes to designing online marketing provides you with a very short time span.  As mentioned, about three seconds. That’s it. If nothing on your website grabs users in the first 3 Seconds, they’re likely to bounce and never come back. A wow moment or a memorable interaction is a must in these first 3 Seconds.
  2. Communicate your core value clearly: As seen in top video games, the game succeeds in communicating its core value to players quickly and clearly. After garnering the interest of someone viewing a website, email, or online marketing piece, don’t make it difficult to figure out the value behind what you have to offer.
  3. Duplicating how another product engages users in its opening moments can be disastrous: Studying how other competitive products or offerings engage users is useful. However, don’t copy something if you don’t understand the underlying elements that made it successful. If you plan to copy something, make sure it makes sense to do the same for your own product or offering. You should also understand all the minute details that made the opening moment successful.

Some things that make an opening successful involve textual content and/or pictures.  If utilizing text, make sure you understand some of the science behind it.  What do people like to see?  We like to see the following words as quickly as possible:

  • Your Name
  • The word Easy
  • The word Free
  • People want what they can’t have. Think of it.  If it’s easy to get, they figure they can get it anywhere and anytime.  Use the Scarcity Principle.

If you are using pictures, think of the following:

  • Are you using people? You should be.  We like to see people.
  • Where is the person looking? We tend to look wherever the person in the image is looking, unless they are looking directly at us.
  • Is the person enjoying themselves? We like to see people having fun.

It’s easy to get consumed by the mad rush to release a product and just throw up something that doesn’t really engage a potential user. We’ve seen this happen one too many times. This is precisely why we released a simple little app called Clue to help people test what potential customers remember after looking at their webpage for 3 Seconds. It’s a simple way to figure out if you’re displaying the right visuals and text to grab your customer’s attention.

Remember — if we don’t get their attention in the first 3 Seconds, then it might never happen since they’ll just leave.  If you need help understanding your customer or client, PTC Computer Solutions and Parker Associates are experts in just that.  Contact us directly for more information.

If all of this befuddles you, belittles your being, begs your brain to be foddered, belying your intellect…not to worry, PTC Computer Solutions is an expert on this stuff and is here to help. It’s what we do. Contact info@ptccomputersolutions.com or go to our website at www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information. We are always at the ready.

Online marketing is an incredibly dynamic environment with a tremendous number of moving parts. It is a constantly changing world. You do what you do best. Let us do what we do best. Keeping involved and staying ahead of the latest improvements is what we do at PTC Computer Solutions. If you are looking to get noticed on the Internet but don’t know where to begin, let PTC Computer Solutions help you get started or help improve your current website and website marketing plan and budget.

Among everything else we do, PTC can plan a full marketing strategy and budget for your company and complete any marketing efforts, web or otherwise, you wish to achieve in order to deliver a consistent and effective message to your prospects. Contact David W. B. Parker (when you think of “W. B.” think of WeB) at davidp@ptccomputersolutions.com or go to our web site at www.ptccomputersolutions.com for more information.

By David W. B. Parker
PTC Computer Solutions


PTC Computer Solutions – Internet, Web Sites, SEO, Online Marketing

PTC Computer Solutions
Jacksonville Beach, Florida




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