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Project An Overwhelming Online Presence

Nov 18, 2007
We all know the importance of first impressions. In social settings, we often establish our opinions about people before we've even said hello. Between the way they walk, the clothes they wear and the look on their face, we form an opinion of their entire personality without them even having a chance to influence our judgment. And as horrible as it sounds when described in such detail, the importance of your first impression is intuitively logical.

The vast majority of human communication is carried over non-verbal channels. Picture a scene where two identical people walk into a room. One practically glows in the dark while the other goes unnoticed. Why? Well, it all comes down to the spring in your step, the smile on your face and the confidence you project in social settings. So, why can't we use that same logic on the internet?

As it turns out, the exact same principles apply online. There are millions of websites out there and they all project themselves differently. Fact is; when someone new visits your website, you have an opportunity to present whatever reality you wish. You can present them with a small reality or a huge reality. The visitor has no bias either way. In other words, neither would be more believable from their perspective. After all, they've never been to your website before. So take advantage of that opportunity and greet them with an overwhelming presence.

In social dynamics, we would describe this as owning the frame. When someone visits your website, you own the frame. You can present that frame any way you wish. And the person visiting will make their opinions based on the information they're given. You control the information they receive so it behooves us to present only that information which contributes to the identity we're striving for.

The perfect manifestation of this is the product selection you offer on your website. There are basically three categories. First, you can offer no products at all. Second, you can offer products with a fairly narrow price range between them. And third, you can offer products with a wide price range between them. I would argue the last option presents the most impressive frame.

The website offering products ranging from $2 to $35 is essentially a retail shelf vendor. They're a small time niche player. On the other hand, a website offering products ranging from $2 to $3500 is a parallel world. It is an entirely different universe the visitor was completely unaware of. And when they see the breadth of your product menu, they will quickly realize that your site is the go-to place for your product category.

I'm not suggesting you necessarily widen your actual product selection, only the packages you offer. We all know the advantages of marketing a narrow niche on the internet but even within a narrow niche, you can offer a wide variety of packages. Even for something as simple as gourmet jellies, you could offer a 3-day weekend retreat complete with special meals that feature the jelly, a tour of a production facility and workshops for how to make similar jellies in your own home. The package could cost $3500.

Widen your thinking so you can see what premium options to include. And don't hesitate to add these high price point packages. Even if nobody ever buys them, their very presence will change the frame new visitors experience when they discover your website. The objective is to impress them with a far bigger resource then they were expecting. Own the frame, project confidence and position your site for greatness.
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