There’s a simple axiom amongst direct response copywriters: “make it easy for the customer to say yes.”

Sounds like a “duh” piece of advice, but it’s amazing how often this advice gets botched.  And it usually get’s botched in one of two ways:

1) The copy doesn’t make it easy for the customer to realize WHAT she would be saying yes to.  

In other words, the site doesn’t clarify:

  • WHAT is being offered for sale,
  • WHEN or in what FORM the customer should expect the actual deliverables to arrive
  • WHY this is a good deal and better than the other options
  • HOW MUCH the offered product or service will cost

2) The copy doesn’t make it clear HOW to say yes and take that next step.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m a big fan of having different conversion points for early, middle, and late stage shoppers (where appropriate), but  you shouldn’t let that get in the way of having a nice, clean, simple Call to Action.  If prospective customers have to decide between 14 options just to buy, you’re making them work too hard, and your sales will suffer accordingly.

You Might Be Messing This Up If…

What’s really insidious about this particular conversion flaw is that your marketing and Web teams are unlikely to know about simply because they’re suffering under The Curse of Knowledge.  To them the offer seems perfectly clear, and the different options for buying are  a bonus rather than a burden.  So even if you don’t think you suffer from this, you might want to check to see if:

  1. You have unusually high bounce rates on your home page.
  2. People are clicking on your Calls to Action and then backtracking to “How it Works,” “FAQ,” and “About Us” pages — almost as if they’re looking one last time to see if they can’t find some answers.
  3. You have unusually high exit rates from “How it Works,” Services, and Product pages
  4. Your cart or checkout abandonment rates stay high despite a high-quality check-out process and repeated optimization efforts aimed at this portion of your Website.

I’m not saying these issues are proof positive that your messaging and basic offers need work, just that the represent a good reason to look into it.

How to Fix It

The best advice is to hire an outside expert. I realize that sounds a bit self-serving, coming from a messaging-driven Website Optimization professional, but, well, what can I say? It’s the simple truth.

But if you’re trying a DIY approach, here’s what I recommend:

A) Try the “Here’s the Deal” Exercise.

Imagine that you’re at the bar with an acquaintance who knows almost nothing about your product or service, but who would benefit from it, if only she understood a few things. If you were to turn to her and say, “so here’s the deal,” what sort of short and sweet pitch would you give to her that would get her ready to say yes or commit to learning more in 120 seconds or less?

Also, make sure you don’t use jargon — remember, this prospect isn’t an industry insider — during your “so here’s the deal” speech, and make sure the benefits are dramatized and compelling.

B) Try Using Schemas

I had Baba Ghanoush for the first time a few months ago, and when I asked what it was, a whole bunch of people started to explain it to me, with varying degrees of success.  But then Bryan Eisenberg — a consumate marketer and my personal Website Optimization mentor — nailed it when he said it was “eggplant guacamole.”  Boom. Suddenly everybody got it.


Because Bryan invoked a schema we already recognized, guacamole, and then modified it with eggplant. Isn’t that a much more elegant explanation than Wikipedia’s, “a Levantine dish of eggplant (aubergine) mashed and mixed with virgin olive oil and various seasonings”?

The same thing happens with movies, too.  According to Chip and Dan Heath, Speed was initially pitched as “Die Hard on a Bus.”  Boom. You get it.  Aliens is a science fiction movie, but it’s nothing like Star Trek. Totally different feel, right?  But if you say “Jaws in Space,” you instantly grasp both the concept and the feel of the movie.

So what schema could you use to describe your product or service?

Caution — the schema you use can greatly impact the customer’s expectation of value and price, so choose wisely.

C) Streamline Your Call to Action and Conversion Process

Now, don’t get rid of your lead nurturing program or anything, but do consider whether you might narrow down your offerings and options. Or at least consider making one option the “default” and most promoted option. And as with any piece of Web Optimization advice, test it out. See what actually converts the best. You might just be surprised at the results.

And that’s today’s Practical Tactical Tuesday Tip 🙂


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