Today we visited the Museum of Flight in Seattle. There is lots of cool stuff including an out of commission Concord jet (they’re all out of commission since 1993) and an Air Force One used during the Carter Administration.
What web marketing principles did I learn from the Museum of Flight? Well, it’s all about content. First off, I understand that a commerce website is different from an educational museum, but the principles of content are largely the same. The museum has lots of aircraft pictures, models and actual planes to look at and board. But they also provide lots of–in web speak–text. If one really wanted to they could spend hours, if not days, reading everything written on the walls and plaques around the museum. But most don’t but instead ready what strikes their interests.
Web sites should operate the same way. Instead of being frightened by text, commerce sites should embrace it. Many do, but you still hear the same old excuses: My website is more visual. I want people to see the products. People just want to shop, they don’t want to read. There are truths in all of these, but none of them mean you should not have a site with plenty of text. Like a museum, people will navigate themselves to where their interests/needs lie and read in order to get the information they need to make a purchase decision.
Imagine if the museum removed all the content so the pictures (and models) were all that was left. The experience would be less than satisfying. Its the same with text-less websites. A good commerce site should provide lots of content but implemented in a way that allows visitors to read what strikes their fancy and navigate as they go. Those who know what they want will have no problem finding and buying. But those who don’t know what they want want to read about the products (or services) in order to guide their decisions.
A good product and service website will give their visitors quality information throughout. It will provide features and benefits as well as detailed information about the products/services. It might even discuss the limitations so shoppers get the right thing for their needs.
While a text-less website may perform, it will not perform as good as a well-crafted website that balances visuals with the necessary content. Eliminating useful content from your website will ultimately create a less than satisfying shopping experience costing both first time and repeat sales along the way.