How long does it take for you to know if someone is a good teacher or not?
Nalini Ambady, a psychologist, didn't have that answer.
So she set out to do an experiment
She asked students to rate their teachers after spending a whole semester with them. But then the experiment got a bit weird. She decided to test (a different set of students) and give them less time to decide.
So how much time is “less time?” Is it a day, a week, a month?
Nalini decided on 30 seconds
So here's what she did. She gave a batch of students three ten-second video tapes to watch. In those ten-second clips, you could see the teacher but couldn't hear the voice or any other sound. And yet, when the test scores were in, she found something remarkable. The students who had barely 30 seconds, were able to judge the effectiveness of the teacher just as well as those who'd spent the entire semester with that teacher.
But the craziness of the experiment doesn't stop there
Nalini Ambady decided to cut back the time to five seconds. The ratings were the same.
Then two seconds. The ratings were exactly the same.
You see how this affects your website, right?
You don't? Well, the moment a prospect shows up at your website, they are scanning in about two seconds. And if you have your own, authentic voice to what you display, that's the information the prospect is drinking in. In mere seconds, they're already deciding if they like you or not. And of course, they're paying attention to the visuals, the words, the video—pretty much everything as they take a snapshot of you.
And yet, we feel trapped when creating our websites
Often the headlines we write are terrible and don't reflect us. We go to some crummy Internet-guru website and copy headlines like “Who else wants to…..”. And the moment we do that yucky copying, we're replicating that scammy Internet-guru website, not putting our own voice instead.
And of course it doesn't stop there. We may depend on website designers, copywriters, article writers etc. to put together the elements of our website. And the website becomes a big mash up of a dozen personalities, but not our own.
Which is the reality of the day—something that's not easy to fix
So you control what you can fix. You can fix videos. You can fix audio. You can fix your tone of voice in your articles. You can fix the tone of voice in your salesletters. You can indeed fix your testimonials by getting well-structured testimonials from your best clients.
You can do all of this, and though it takes a little effort, it's effort well-worth taking. Because even as a client comes to your website and reads the words, they need to reflect you (or your customer on the sales page). And learning how to put those words together and have your own voice, is critical. They read headlines written by you, they see videos that reflect you. And they come to a decision.
Instead what you see online is this cut and paste syndrome
You find website after website that has a formula, and a look. And the owners of the website thinks the formula works. Yes, it does. If the formula was written by a scummy, get-rich quick merchant, it works for them.
But it won't necessarily work for you. And therefore you need to start fixing things on your website.
Start with testimonials, because that's the easiest
You already have clients. You already have one or two great clients. Well, get them to give you a testimonial that's well-structured. And you'll notice that the testimonial reflects who you are, and what you do in an authentic way.
If you have a video of that testimonial, that's even better. Yes, you can indeed do a lot more stuff, but start with the easiest and one of the most effective ones to begin with—the testimonial.
Your potential clients aren't taking a semester to judge you
They're looking at your headlines, your graphics, the look of your website, your language, your tone—all in a matter of seconds. And there are things you can control, right now, right away. So get cracking.
Because two seconds count. They really do.