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Lovely Little Leaps of Faith

This post was written by the Web Marketing Ninja—a professional online marketer for a major web brand, who’s sharing his tips undercover here at ProBlogger. Curious? So are we!

For most people, spending money isn’t an automatic thing.  You’ve worked hard for your money, and when you’re about to part with it, you want to believe your hard work will actually mean something.

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This meaning doesn’t need to be a logical thing—it can be completely emotive.

But with the inherent desire for meaning, there’s always a little voice inside us looking for a reason not to spend our cash.  As bloggers and online marketers, we’re often our own worst enemies.  With some of the tactics we use, we’re basically handing a megaphone to our readers’ little voices, and encouraging them to scream, “Get the heck out of here!”

When I’m evaluating my own work, or that of others, I often refer to these as leaps of faith. The bigger the leaps of faith you expect your customers to make, the less likely they’ll be to make them. Let’s look at ten of the most common, and see how you can make them lovelier!

Not making it clear what your blog is about

Some say three seconds, some five, and some ten—but so often to I come across blogs that I can’t even figure out in five minutes!  If a user’s thinking, “I don’t know what this site is about,” how could you expect them to give them your email address, or their money?

Not communicating what’s going to happen

Our fear of the unknown is strong. Chances are low that I’ll give you my email address or my credit card number if I have no idea what’s next in the process.  If you’re collecting email subscriptions, make sure your reader knows what they’re singing up for; if it’s a ebook download, make sure they know as soon as the payment is made that they’ll be emailed instructions on how to download; if it’s a physical product, tell them the fulfillment process up-front. This is simple stuff, but it’s important.

Making people feel like you’ve gone back to 1999

Design isn’t that important, right?  Wrong.  If your website looks like it was built in the 90s, then all I’d say is you’d want to have some pretty awesome content.  You’re blogging on the web, so it needs to looks like it fits here.  I doesn’t need to be a work of art, though—good is enough.

Not showing people how secure you are

If your readers or potential purchasers feel in any way that giving you money is going to compromise their information, they’ll scamper. Use PayPal as one payment option—it’s widely regarded as secure. Use Visa and MasterCard logos and “secured by” messaging to show that your site and checkout processes are secure.

Making people jump through hoops

More clicks makes for fewer sales. Equally, the more convoluted you make your sales process, the more clients will drop out.  We’re busy people with short attention spans, so only ask for the information you need to complete the transaction—ask for all the nice-to-haves later.

Breaking down before their very eyes

If your sales process breaks somehow, only the most motivated buyers will tell you about it. And by the time you realize, customers—and their money—will have left for somewhere else.  Make sure your key buying processes are bulletproof from reliability, validation, accessibility, and cross-browser compatibility perspectives.

Not showing safety in numbers

We like to buy in crowds—it makes us feel safe and secure.  If 10,000 people purchased your product and they’re all okay, then I’ll see the purchase as low-risk, and I’ll buy.  As a matter of authenticity, show real numbers rather than a figure you made up.  Users are pretty switched on to those kinds of errors now.

Not showing the past or the future

If you have a lengthy sales process, which for some products is a must, then make sure you show people the journey, so they know where they have come from and how far there is to go.  It puts the process (its length and level if intensity) up front, and keeps users motivated, as they know there’s an end in sight.

Asking for too much too soon

Passwords are a common factor in this point. Unfortunately, too many people use the same password for every site and service they use, so asking for a password on a small purchase can be like asking people for access to their bank accounts. On the flip side, people will likely trust you pretty quickly if you ask for a password, but there is a time to do this, and it’s after you’ve proven your worth to them.

Looking, talking, and thinking small

There’s nothing wrong about being small, but you can make yourself bigger buy showing you keep pretty good company.  It might be mentions in mainstream press or from larger personalities, or perhaps just showing you keep good company.  Be small—but only when it works in your favor.

I had a conversation with friend this week about a checkout process that, after three attempts, I simply couldn’t figure out. He mentioned that it was complicated because the tax rules in his country were complicated. I responded with the same comment I say to everyone:

Don’t make your customers’ lives hard just because yours is

After 30 minutes of exploring different options, we found a way to make it work—you always can.

… and that’s the real secret to lovely little leaps of faith.

Stay tuned for more posts by the secretive Web Marketing Ninja — a professional online marketer for a major web brand, who’s sharing his tips undercover here at ProBlogger.

About Guest Blogger

This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above. If you'd like to guest post for ProBlogger check out our Write for ProBlogger page for details about how YOU can share your tips with our community.

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Comments

  1. Graham Lutz says:

    Design is huge! based on the number of terribly designed websites, I’d say its also way underrated. With the new Panda updats from Google, site deign is now part of SEO.

  2. Kendra says:

    I had a bad experience with subsrcibing to someone’s newsletter and ebook yesterday. I was confused by the couple of emails that were sent and still have not been able to retrieve the ebook. This was definetly a turn off from that blog.

    On another note, I do try to make the purpose of my blogs as clear as possible. I am working on providing content that will not only get traffic to my blog, but provide them with what they are looking for while they’re there. Google analytics is great for helping me analyze the traffic flow of my site.

    Thanks Secret Ninja!

  3. RijoPage says:

    The guest blogger should know that spelling errors undermine your credibility. If I read a post by someone who either can’t spell, or couldn’t take the time to proofread, my immediate concern is that the blogger is either out of his league or is just trying to write $xxx.xx number of words a day to keep the cash coming in. In both cases my trust meter flatlines.

    Darren I’m considering your book (I’ve gotten email ads). This is the 1st post I’ve read in you blog in quite some time, and quite frankly it reflects poorly on you as well – at least to me.

    So, here’s my question: Am I, in your considerable experience, in a vast minority?

  4. patrick says:

    Being able to keep your cool, keep things simple, and communicate with others is very important for running any business. It’s always important to remember why people follow you and give them what they want. Those tips are all very important for getting and keeping your audiences attention.

  5. Himanshu says:

    well these points have to kept in mind if you want grow. well explained post

  6. Vago Damitio says:

    All around good advice. Lol about websites from the 90′s. I see some that look like they are from the 1890′s. If someone from problogger has a hard time downloading one of my ebooks or with my newsletter, I hope you’ll let me know – if I do, I’ll let you know too. Deal?

    ~Vago

  7. Vago Damitio says:

    On that same note…anyone want to trade five minute site reviews? I’m game if you are…check funcitonality, feel, etc and write about it…no more than five minutes….

    ~vago

  8. Eunus Hosen says:

    I’m really want to know name, who write this awesome post ;-) Thank you so much :-)

  9. Thanks for this advice. I’m just starting out in the blog world and these are great tips for setting up your e-commerce stuff. One of the things that I’m working on right now is converting from tumblr to wordpress, partly because of the SEO concerns that I’ve seen out there, but also because I’ve heard that it’s easier to integrate commerce solutions with wordpress. Is there a plug in or something for PayPal that is fairly simple? Thanks for any help you can offer.

  10. Great list… I too am stunned to see websites that don’t make their focus area clear. Ideally, the domain name itself should be taking care of it. But if not, all you need is a meaningful tagline… I fail to understand how a serious blogger can miss this!

  11. Brad says:

    So what you’re saying is that by selling animated .gifs for web sites using a shopping cart software I bought on the black market which is ran on a GeoCities website isn’t the way to go…..Hmm, well I better rethink my whole business model…

    I jived with your post. +2 Internet points are awarded to you Mr. Ninja..

  12. POPcorn Girl says:

    Definitely hate jumping through hoops. Great post! Totally wondering who Web Marketing Ninja is right now. The mystique of anonymity, I guess.

  13. Marie Noelle says:

    “Making people feel like you’ve gone back to 1999″ This one made me laugh! There are so many blogs that makes me feel like 1999! (or maybe 2002…) I mean, my blog design isn’t the best ever but at least, I’m trying hard!

  14. Megan says:

    great post. As a blogging newbie, I am always looking for ways to make my blog better than the rest. Just having great content, a nice looking site and a few readers isn’t quite enough. people need to feel secure when they are reading it and clicking through it.

    Two things which really wind me up on other people’s blogs are pages which take ages to load (we are not all on mega-fast internet speeds and asking me for money at a late stage (without warning that you will be doing so).

    Most of the time I don’t mind paying for good content or products, but I like to know upfront, how much and why.

    Many thanks for your ideas. I will keep them in mind as my blog progresses.

  15. James Greg says:

    Some blog title are way off to what they are really about making the reader confused what the author really wanted to tell. This situation can cause a real nuisance wasting the reader’s time when actually he is in search of some quality work. When making a purchase on a site the seller has to be crystal clear of the terms and conditions plus what really is the product. Selling dodgy items on the net is now history as every one understands what the internet is about and how to use it. One searches for all references then opts to buy it from where quality on cheap rates is available.

    The points mentioned above are an eye opener for most of the people who cannot understand what is wrong with their plans and they are not able to achieve the targets. A site should be simple yet attractive and the supplier should have enough stock to meet his clients demands before agreeing to make the sale.

  16. Goutam Roy says:

    I strongly agree that making your website look like one from 1990s will not help the cause at all. As is said in the blog, the site need not to be a work of art, but at least it should be presentable enough to attract the customer!! It should look like fitting the cause. Also, being expressive as much as you can, within a short span will certainly help out in the promotion part of the site.