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Why First Impressions Are The Most Important

I have just finished reading All Marketers Are Liars by Seth Godin, it was really interesting, so interesting that in fact it’s the book of the month for December. I thought I’d give you a few more thoughts about the book, and why I found it to be worth reading.

Seth Godin explains why first impressions are really important, and the short story is that it’s because “almost every important buying decision is made instantaneously. These snap decisions affect everything we do, and we’ll bend over backward to defend them later.”

Let me give you a few examples from my life.

I was told by a close friend that I should watch the TV show called Entourage, that this was just up my alley, it was perfect for me. I started to watch it, I saw the first episode, and I thought it was really boring. I watched the second episode, and I guess it was ok, but far from perfect. The first impression was that this show was not worth my time at all. I would have stopped watching, but because I was told by a guy that knows me, that this show was something I would really find entertaining, I didn’t stop watching. And, today, I just love Entourage. It’s probably the TV show that I find the most entertaining of them all.

Let me tell you about my uncle.

He would probably have bought a really expensive Volvo if it wasn’t for the first impression. He doesn’t like the owner of the Volvo store. Today, he drives a BMW instead. He won’t go back to the store, just because he has the impression that he doesn’t like the owner, and he will never pay that guy any money.

People decide about a sales person or a business in just a matter of seconds, and we never know when this is going to occur. The thing is, the first impression might not be the first encounter. The first time my uncle visited the Volvo store, he might have had a great time, but it might not be a time he remembered. The next time, he might have heard the owner say something he didn’t like, and this is the time he remembered as his first impression of the store (the owner of the store).

Because we never know when the first impression will be, or what will be important during the first impression, it’s very important that we are authentic. We don’t know if it’s the sign of the store, the carpets, the coffee machine, or the people working in the store that will be part of the first impression.

If we relate this to a website, the first impression might be the design, or how the author writes, or that it’s too many advertisements in the sidebar. My first impressions are usually related to the design. If I visit a website with a poor design, I usually don’t care to even read past the headline. Because, to me, poor design means that the people behind the website hasn’t invested enough time or money in order to make it professional. Why should their content be any better than the design?

We never know what causes the first impression, all we know is that the first impression affects everything they do, and that it’s really hard to prove them wrong after they have created their story about us (just relate it to my uncle).

Say, you could have a really cool design, perfect navigation, really awesome articles, but too many banners. Some people might find too many banners really annoying, and this might be their first impression. They just don’t see all the other really cool things about your website. The only thing they remember are all the banners, and they think that all you are is a sales person in disguise.

Everything matters, that’s why authenticity matters.

2 responses to “Why First Impressions Are The Most Important”

  1. Volvo Dealer says:

    Although this post is quite old now its still got some interesting points in it. I understand completely what you mean by someone who knows you advertising something to you, my friend told me to buy a used volvo because it would be perfect for what I wanted. He was right and now I just replaced my old used volvo with another used volvo! Recommendations are great!

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