You Have 500 Milliseconds. How Are You Going To Use It?

Making a first impression is easy. Everyone does it. But, you don’t want to make just any old impression. You want to make a positive impression that consumers remember for all of the right reasons. You want to look so good to a potential customer they literally cannot resist you or your product. You Making the right impression in 500 milliseconds is crucial for your business.want to look so good that a potential customer forgets about all of your competitors and only has eyes for you. Here’s the catch: you only have 500 milliseconds to accomplish all of that.

500 milliseconds isn’t much time. It’s 0.5 seconds. Half a second. It’s pretty crazy to think that’s enough time for someone to make a judgment about your website, logo, branding, marketing materials, personal appearance, vehicle, briefcase…you get the point.

A first impression matters because they’re difficult to change later on.

While your mom still probably says, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” it doesn’t help in the business world. What helps is making a great first impression. You have to understand that for consumers, it’s nearly impossible to replace their initial perceptions.

Once the perception is built, you’ll continue to struggle time and time again to alter that perception even slightly. It all boils down to a battle of perceptions not between your brand and another brand, but between your brand and your target audience’s mind.

The first impression matters because it’s so difficult to change the perceptions people form. Think about a brand you don’t like. What would they have to do in order to change the way you think about them? Their logo? Their messaging? Their website?

Getting inside the consumer’s mind allows you to build perceptions.

We get it, 500 milliseconds really isn’t that long. Knowing how to make those milliseconds count can be pretty difficult. Do your consumers better connect with images? Graphics? Text? Video?

That’s your starting point. You have to get inside the mind of your target consumer before you can start creating a positive first impression.

Once you understand what they want (or need without knowing they actually need it), you can start creating the right message to make the positive first impression you need.

First impressions about your brand are made online.

We know that about ⅔ of the buying process takes place before a consumer ever reaches out to you. When buyers are in this process they turn to the Internet for answers. They start Googling keywords, reading social media reviews, and visiting competitors’ websites.

They aren’t just looking for prices. They’re looking for connections. For many, they’re looking for products or services that make them feel something. When they finally land on your website, what’s the messaging? What are you saying to them in those 500 milliseconds?


Are you trying to sell them on your product? Your customer service? Your experience?

They’ve seen those messages by the time they land on your site because your competitors are trying to do the same thing. You have to make the impression that not only sticks but becomes the best impression made on this particular buyer’s mind. Your website design has to convey a succinct, clear message about who you are and what you offer. 

Impressions and perceptions are all about judgments.

There isn’t really a secret formula or sauce you can pour on your website or anything else and expect magic to happen. We wish there was, though, because we’d bottle that stuff up and sell at a premium price.

Ultimately, in those 500 milliseconds, consumers are making judgments about your company’s:

  • Value proposition
  • Service levels
  • Professionalism
  • Sophistication

These are crucial things that impact things like how much you can charge. So, your impression isn’t just about looking good. It’s about creating real meaning that your target audience connects with.

It all comes down to this: if someone, completely unfamiliar with your brand, finds your website, what impression would they form? Are you okay with your answer or does something need to change? You need a holistic marketing solution that brings all of these moving pieces together to form an incredible, unforgettable first impression. 

It’s time to move your updated website design from the “important” column of your todo list to the “urgent” column. It’s time to start making that great first impression. Let the team at Iconic Digital know how we can help.

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Scott Blanton

Content Writer at Iconic Digital Marketing
As Iconic Digital's content writer, Scott works with clients to develop brand stories and key messaging. When he isn't typing away at his computer, you'll find him exploring new coffee shops, spending time with this family, or working on a new home improvement project.

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