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In a recent post by Ron Ashkenas and Holly Newman on The Harvard Business Review Blog Network, they discussed 3 ways that Super Bowl advertisers try to make the most of their very expensive 30 second spots by making a good impression.

Not only does this apply to commercials and conversations, the same principles can also be applied to your business’s website. Your website is often the first impression that potential customers have of you, are you making the most of it?

1. Capture your audience’s attention

Advertisers regularly draw you in with “humor, aesthetics, emotions and surprise”. How does your website capture your audience’s attention?

In the chaos that often comes with a new site design, it’s easy to jump straight to boring stock images. Make your site stand out from the others by putting some thought into your website’s imagery; it’s often the very first thing that a visitor focuses on when they load your site.

You can also capture a visitor’s attention by creating addicting content that draws them in. It starts with a catchy headline and useful information in a presentable format. Make sure to use charts, graphs, bulleted lists and other styling to break up paragraphs.

2. Convey a clear message

The HBR blog post states “too much information can cloud an individual’s ability to accurately analyze a situation, and how “in good decision making, frugality matters.”. Does the content on your site convey a clear and simple message?

Content Overload
As an expert in your field, it’s easy to inadvertently go overboard with detail and jargon. While it’s important to create SEO-friendly, keyword-rich content, you must also take into consideration the user experience. All of the search engine traffic in the world won’t make a difference if your visitors are overwhelmed with your content.

To slightly edit the question from the article – what is the most critical takeaway you would like your website visitors to receive? Whatever your messaging or positioning is, make it very clear and state it often.

3. Focus on differentiation

Depending on your industry, it’s very possible that a potential customer will visit 2-3 of your competitors. This is especially true for eCommerce and other high-ticket purchases. How does your website differentiate your business from your competitors?

You can differentiate your business by conveying a clear message and capturing your audience’s attention but to take it a step further, look at your biggest competitors’ websites and put yourselves in the shoes of a customer. What can you add or modify on your website to really stand out?

Take a minute to review one of the most memorable quotes from the HBR blog post:

“Our world is filled with noise, information, and distractions; so having someone’s undivided attention — even for 30 seconds — is an opportunity that shouldn’t be wasted. If you can use those 30 seconds to capture their attention, deliver your message, and distinguish yourself from others, you’re likely to be heard, understood, and remembered.”

Much like a Super Bowl commercial, you only have a short period of a time with a website visitor to capture their attention, convey your message and differentiate your business before they hit the back button to click on the next search result. Make the most of your website traffic by doing a self-assessment of these 3 keys and make your site stand out from the crowd.