Consider two websites. One website contains webpage after webpage of informative content and helpful resources. The other website sports an elegant contemporary design. If the two websites sell the same product or service, which of them do you think will generate more sales?
In the paper published in a 2008 issue of the journal Internet Research, University of Valladolid researchers detailed the findings of their study on how the positive perception of a brand can boost an online user’s inclination to buy. They also demonstrated how an information-based website trumps an attractively designed one.
More than 300 participants took part in the experiment that involved two websites giving out the specifics of a fictitious travel agency. One website acts like a repository for information, while the other dons an attractive design. Through the two websites, the participants are then presented with and allowed to decide on flights and other tourism-related services.
It was discovered that the informative website was regarded more favorably and was able to elicit a desire to purchase. On the other hand, even though the well-designed website evoked fun and excitement, it failed to reflect a favorable business-like image–which can prompt most online users to trust a website with their money.
The researchers based their study on the hierarchy of effects, a standard advertising approach wherein the purchase of a product or service is a consequence of two prior steps: the user evaluates the website and then the website impacts how the user perceives the brand being advertised. The more favorable the user’s view of the brand, the more likely he is to buy the advertised brand.
Although there are many factors that come into play every time a consumer contemplates whether or not to buy an advertised product, you can safely assume that cultivating a favorable view of your brand will work great for your bottom line. And one effective brand-enhancement technique, according to the results of the study, is to offer helpful information to your site visitors. Instead of spending a huge chunk of your marketing budget to design an attractive, eye-catching website, foster trust by hosting relevant and helpful information.
The no-size-fits-all mindset should still apply when prioritizing the various elements of your marketing campaign. Just keep in mind the findings of the University of Valladolid researchers to guide you while directing your marketing efforts.