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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