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Imagination vs Clarity: Which is Most Important?

Albert Einstein famously said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” This idea is so profound I’m sure whole books could be written on the implications of this statement. But today, I use it as an illustration of just how important imagination is. It’s not only important to invite your visitors to use their imagination, it’s important how you expect them to do so. For example, you might wonder, “Should I leave somethings unclear so my visitors will be inquisitive and want to explore my website more to get clarification?” The idea is a little mystery about your message might create some curiosity.


If your visitors are invited to use their imagination to try to figure out what your message is, the result will likely be disappointing. It’s surprising how often this happens. Perhaps you’ve been convinced that something would be clever or cute and thus attractive and memorable. But this rarely works out. Even when your visitors “get it,” this cleverness doesn’t do anything to create a desire for what you have to offer. It doesn’t help them understand how you can help them.


Being unclear in your message can also happen very innocently; you simply make assumptions about what your visitors understand. Perhaps you assume everyone understands the jargon you’ve used or have the same background knowledge. Making assumptions about what your visitor understands can introduce confusion into your message. If you have a specialized website that caters to a specific audience and you know they have a certain level of knowledge on your topic, then you aren’t making assumptions. However, this is a rare exception. When you do find yourself making assumptions, the result is the same as asking them to guess what you’re trying to say to them.


Confusion is your enemy. For your visitors, confusion leads quickly to frustration, and it’s a frustration they feel they don’t need and won’t tolerate. It’s a simple truth: a confusing message drives visitors away. They stop being interested in you at the moment of confusion and they leave.


Bottom line: your visitors shouldn’t have to use their imagination to guess what your message is. Instead, you should invite them to use their imagination to picture themselves within your message – benefiting from what you offer. This is done through the use of story; that is, using story element to convey your message. When your visitors use their imagination to picture themselves as transformed by what you offer, they will respond to your call to action (CTA).


We understand. This is more difficult than taking the Dragnet approach of laying down “just the facts.” Developing a narrative for your visitors is much more difficult. But the truth is, using story to persuade others has been used successfully for thousands of years.


Our best advice:


  1. Make your message crystal clear – what you offer, how it will make their life better, and how they can get it.


  1. Don’t add confusion to your message by using jargon, making assumptions about what your visitors understand, or by trying to be cute and cleaver.


  1. Invite your visitors to use their imagination by picturing themselves benefiting from what you offer.


Your response might be, “easier said than done.” That’s true, but you don’t have to do it by yourself. We, at Drake Web Development, are here to help you. Picture what it would be like if your visitors had a clear picture in their minds of them benefiting from your offer. What if they could see themselves within your message? What impact do you believe that would have on how they respond to you? Together, we can make that happen. Schedule a free consultation – it won’t hurt, we promise. We’ll listen to what you’re trying to accomplish and help in any way we can. We only charge when we actually produce something – talking with us is always free. So, don’t hesitate!


P.S. Next week’s article will be on how we invite visitors into your message.

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