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.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.