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Creating Attention, Interest, Desire and Action Online

By David Gikandi
Posted Friday, December 3, 2004

When you go out and create a web site with an intention of selling products and services through it, you have no option but to be on the good side of buyer behavior. If you wish to succeed, that is. Funny enough, on the web a lot of business owners forget that buyers do have a behavior, the way they are accustomed to doing things. By now you probably have heard or experienced that just having a site, no matter how good it looks, won't convert your visitors into customers who actually buy something.

Let us start with what we know about buyers:

1. Most sales are never made the first time a prospect sees the product or service. They are made on a subsequent encounter. Translation: it is a sure thing that unless you get that guy visiting your web site the first time ever to return another day, he wont be buying anything from you. So you must make sure he returns.

2. The 80-20 rule. 80% of your sales will come from 20% of your customers. Which 20% are these? These are the people who buy from you a second and a third time and so on. It is easier to make more sales out of your current customers than new ones. Which means that your web site has to have features that, again, keep your customers coming back.

The above two facts should encourage you to think very clearly about your web site. If you have one of those sites that just advertise your product and offer no other features that encourage returning visits, you need to do some major redesign and add some features that do so. Now let us look at how buyers get to the decision that they will either return another day or buy your product or service on any particular visit. First, something grabs hold of their attention. If not, they go - there are other better things to do. If their attention is taken, they have a quick look to see if they are interested. If they are interested, they spend some time. During that time spent on whatever they found that was interesting, they may develop desire for the product or service or information. If they have desire, they will take action to fulfil that desire. That action is either purchasing or returning or doing something else related to either of those two. This process of attracting attention, creating interest, building desire, and getting action should be the biggest - yes, biggest - driving factor behind your web site design and content.

There is a lot of ways to achieve this depending on your industry. A real estate site will not employ the same methods as a parenting community. You will need to sit down and look at how you can do it best. You should visit some leading sites in and out of your industry and copy what they do (there is no point in inventing mediocrity when you can copy genius). You may also want to get a suitable consultant on this. For now, let us look at the four steps in general.

People will enter your site from any of your pages. Whatever page they enter through, you must make sure that the headlines, design, navigation, etc grab their attention! No matter what page they get in from, they must know what it is about and get their attention engaged. Do not have those dull pages in your site just because your home page is great.

The primary reason people go online is to get information. Not to get advertised to, but to know something about something. That is how you create interest, by providing the appropriate information. You must have a good amount of free information that is relevant, constantly updated, exciting and different. Obviously you still want to tell them about your product but that should only be a major part of your site, not an only part. You should get an arsenal of news, articles, facts, newsletters, polls and other features to keep them coming back. Yes, it sounds involving but remember, most sales occur after the first encounter, so you must make sure you get more than one visit to your site. And very few people will return to your site just to re-read your product brochure.

You create desire in a multitude of ways, the two best being letting the client experience the product or service first hand. So you have to build interactivity. If you have a software product you are selling, give out a free downloadable demo. Financial services? Offer free online calculators. Real estate agent? How about an interactive room planner. The idea is to get someone experiencing the product or service in some way or another so that they can desire to own it. See what you can do in your case, just make sure it is a useful free trial. Most purchases take place after the buyer has seen the product or service several times, better still when they have used it and experienced its benefits.

You will find that the number of actions you want taken are quite a few. You probably will want someone to subscribe to your newsletter, get your free demo, recommend a friend or, most of all, buy something. Whatever the action, create the attention on it, get interest, build desire, then ask for the action. You must ask for the action to be performed. If you want them to click, put that down clearly. If you want them to buy, ask for the sale very clearly (as in "Buy Now"). Most sales are lost at the last moment because no one asked the buyer to buy. So don't be shy. Ask for the action.

There you have it. Probably the only fundamental information you will ever need to get your web site to perform as it should. The reason I refer to it as fundamental is because if you use it as a foundation on which you build your entire web site, no matter how small or big it is, it will work. Well, granted you must have the right products at the right price, but even with those, the fundamentals must be there for optimum results. Use this information when you decide on your site navigation, your pages, your graphics, etc. It will not fail you.

If you need any more information on this topic, please see the articles at (

About the Author
David Gikandi ( is CEO at (


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