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Question:Since the web is so crowded, how can you make customers remember your site after they leave?

Answer:We know from academic research that people tend to remember the first and the last item that they see in a sequence better than the content they see in the middle. From a web standpoint that means consumers will be more likely to remember the first and last page they visit on your site than any of the other intervening pages. So, if you want customers to remember your site, make your home page fun, interesting, and memorable.

It has traditionally been thought that the most information an individual can process in short-term memory at any one time is three to seven "chunks" of information. More recent research suggests that the number may be closer to three or four. Knowing this, the marketer can help the consumer remember web addresses if the name itself - take www.cdnow.com, for instance -- creates a chunk that summarizes what the site is for.

Rehearsal occurs when we get consumers to silently repeat or actively think about the information we want them to remember. Engaging jingles and slogans may be useful means of inducing rehearsal. Think about how McDonald's got us to remember all the things that they have on their Big Mac: "Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun." This might be challenging in a web context, but the increasing use of sound makes its use increasingly possible.

is recirculated when it goes through the same pipe again and again. In the same way, information is recirculated through your short-term memory when you encounter it over and over. Recirculation explains why repetition affects memory. If you want consumers to remember your web address, what you do, etc., just repeat it many times on your site. The more consumers see it, the more they will remember it. Of course, while repetition can increase memory, it doesn't always make your site more likable. Too much repetition of something can be down right annoying - and that may be what customers remember.

Memory is also enhanced when the information items to be learned seem to go together naturally. Thus, consumers' memory for your web-address, claims, logo, and so on is better when you can find clever ways to make them say the same thing.

A long-standing finding in psychology is that people remember things better when they are represented as pictures. Picture memory decays less rapidly than memory for words. So use pictures wherever you can. But even more importantly, try to say important things using both pictures and words. This "dual coding" (coding in both the visual and verbal mode) gives consumers two ways to remember, either through the word or how it was presented graphically.

Did you know that the mood we are in affects our memory? Being in a good mood generally helps us remember things. So if you can make your site fun and interesting and affect people's mood, you will increase the likelihood that they will remember it.

Also, we are more likely to recall information that is consistent with our mood. If we are feeling upbeat, we'll be more likely to remember sites that made us feel upbeat. If we are bummed, we'll remember those sites that made us feel the same way.

To make your web site memorable, you have to do the thinking so your visitors don't. This way, they can just sit back and have a memorable experience.



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