This past weekend was an active time for kids, parents, college students, and young adults who took to the streets across the country in search of Halloween fun. I got dressed up and participated in the festivities on Saturday. One of my friends had a gathering at his house with about 40 people. Everyone was dressed up in creative costumes and having a great time. Some of the costumes included:
- A hoarder (she had everything you could want in her purse)
- Where’s Waldo
- Korean-YouTube sensation Psy
- (who has 591 million views with Gangnam Style, and no one in America really knows about it!)
- Alice in Wonderland
- Al Capone
- Jack Daniels
And many more…
The purpose of this post is not to tell you how much fun Halloween was, but to paint a picture of a unique scenario that I encountered while searching for a taxi late in the evening. As I walked down some very busy streets every corner had many people trying to call a taxi and every taxi was full. So after about 20 minutes of walking, I decided to camp out on the corner of a busy intersection. There were other Halloween goers already camped out on the other side of the intersection. To my surprise in under 5 minutes a taxi pulled over directly in front of me and invited me in.
The interesting thing about this taxi was that he passed up a guy about 50 feet ahead of me and decided to stop and pick me up instead. When I got into the taxi I asked the driver why he declined to pick up the guy in front of me. He stated that on the weekends all the taxi drivers profile their potential passengers before stopping to pick them up. When taxis are in such high demand, we have no reason to pick up people that look crazy, drunk, or just plain odd. “The guy I passed up looked very drunk.” he said.
I hate to think that people who are too drunk to drive are getting passed up by taxis when they choose to do the right thing by not driving drunk. As unfortunate as it is, making certain assumptions based on first impressions is human nature. It could be 12pm or 12am, anywhere in America, dealing with normal life, and the way you present your personal brand and advertise your features can have a drastic effect on how quickly someone decides to “buy” what you’re selling.
That got me to thinking that highway I was on was not much different that the “information super highway”. In the digital marketing age, you only have about 7 seconds to make a first impression when selling products online and maybe even less when someone is using a mobile device. More than ever it is extremely important to front-load your company’s best products and accolades in prime real estate on the homepage. In addition, mobile website designs are even more important for creating lasting first impressions because of the following reasons:
1. Mobile websites give the user a great first impression, shows that your company invests in customer service, and cares about how it looks.
2. Standard websites on mobile devices may take more than 7 seconds to load therefore ruining your time allotment for a first impression.
3. When mobile users have to keep pinching their phone screens to zoom to your website the user thinks about zooming more than buying your product.
4. Most of the time people use their mobile devices to start researching about a product or service and come back to that website when they are at the desktop to make a purchase.
5. Mobile Internet usage is booming, so why wouldn’t you stay ahead or on par with your competition?
In 2012, consumers have become very selective on the product or service that they choose, because the choices are plentiful (or in the case of a taxi driver, they’re very careful about who they let in the car). Just one slight mistake could be the difference between making or breaking the sale. Who knows what the taxi driver saw in me; was it the way I signaled for him, the outfit I wore, my demeanor, or something else? In the business world today, your potential clients aren’t going to tell you why they decided to choose someone else, so it’s up to you to brand every touch point effectively. Your online reputation needs to be consistent across all mediums otherwise you might be stuck on the corner at 2am, in the freezing cold, waiting for a taxi.