If it looks like an ad, they ignore it.

Most readers will skip right over stuff like this, especially if it's on the right side of your web page. Looks like an ad.
Most readers will skip right over stuff like this, especially if it’s on the right side of your web page. Looks like an ad.

As the classic story goes, one of those big delivery companies kept getting emails.

“How do I track my shipment?” they’d say. “I can’t find it on your web site.”

Fact is, the company had a tracking link right there on the home page. As big as a pineapple. But nobody saw it, because it was all glitzy looking with a clever photo and artsy type. It looked like an ad, that peripheral junk that readers have been trained to ignore.

The usability experts call it banner blindness. If if looks like a banner ad, or like any of that blinking graphical stuff dancing on the right side of the screen, the brain ignores it as crap.

Happy people on phones = junk. Happy people shaking hands = junk.  Picture of butterfly = junk. Animated GIF = junk.

If you want web readers to ask for your whitepaper, sign up for a webinar, check out your new product demo, don’t make the notice look like an ad. They won’t see it.

Way better to weave it directly into your content. Or make it a simple text link. Anything but make it look like ‘junk’.

The same thing happens in your newsletters, your emails. The more it looks like an ‘ad’, the less attention.

When I’m listening to podcasts, the first thing that signals me to skip ahead is when all of sudden music kicks up, some fast-talking guy comes on. The brain goes. . . “Oh. A commercial. Fast forward.”  It is better to weave a sponsor message directly into the discussion seamlessly. People are listening for the discussion. That’s what their brain is tuned to.  ‘Catchy’ music short-circuits all that.

Talk plain, human to human.

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