Wednesday, November 26, 2008

7 Ways To Win Over Reluctant Buyers

Original post: FutureNow

“Do I really need that?”

Those are probably the 5 scariest words in website optimization today.  More and more visitors are asking themselves that question and then not buying.

They’re applying a considered purchase mindset to much lower price-points than ever before.  And most websites’ copywriting is coming up short in the face of this new challenge, since most of it was written to describe rather than to intensify desire or persuade.

So with that in mind, here’s a quick and dirty list of 7 ways to intensify your visitors desire for your products:

1.  Show your product/service in action
This one is especially good for your spontaneous and competitive customers.  Don’t just describe the thing, write copy that’ll cause the reader to imagine using it.  Take something like:

“The Nikon SB600 Speedlight Flash provides Accurate, seamless fill-flash capability under the most difficult, tricky lighting situations”

and amplify it with:

“Mount your SB-600 to your Nikon DSLR and move from indoor to outdoor and from overcast to sunny without ever having to worry about lighting. The TTL metering takes care of everything – and you can even manually dial the flash power down to 1/64 full output, and everything in between; perfect for fill flash.  And for taking perfect pictures in any lighting”

2.  Show prospects how to test your performance claims
This one is good for all buyers, but especially powerful for your more skeptical temperaments (read Methodical and Competitives).   Here’s an example, using the same Nikon flash as before:

“If you’ve never used anything but your Nikon’s built in flash, we recommend you immediately do this upon taking the SB600 out of the box:

  • Just take indoor photos of your kids, your pets, or whatever you have pre-Sb600 comparison photos of.
  • Then put the new, unedited shot side by side on your monitor with your old post-processed photo.

If you’re not blown away at how much better the raw photo is, send it back for a full refund.”

3. Stretch out your benefits in time
While everyone wants to know that they’ll look back on a purchase as money well spent, this can be especially important for Humanistics, as their slow decision-making style and longer time frame make them especially concerned with how they will feel about a purchase after it has been made. So copy like this can really help to make the sale:

Imagine getting 5 fabulous shots you wouldn’t have on every photo shoot you do over the next year - including night shots of your family and friends.  How many magic moments will you have captured?  How many albums will you fill with what would have been lost photos?  How many times will you have saved the day by being the only one in the group to have taken a decent photo?

4. Show experts (or loved ones) approving
Logical temperaments look for the approval of experts, emotional temperaments hope for the approval of loved ones.  So give it to them in your copy.   When possible pull quotes from expert reviews, awards, magazine articles, etc.  Make the reader visualize the approval of family members, colleagues.  For instance if the Nikon SB600 flash provides perfect white balance for night shots, you might take a feature like:

“White balance is optimized through the use of flash color information obtained by the Speedlight.”

And create something along the lines of:

“Your family and friends will finally rave over your control over night time shots – especially when everyone else’s is washed or blown out by too white/bright flash settings.  And it’s all automatic!”

5. Prove superiority or value over other alternatives
Showing how great the Nikon SB600 is helps, but showing how it’s way better than competitor’s products or 95% as good as the SB800 at half the cost is even better.  Do this on a general use and feature-by-feature basis and you’ll win over your logical decision makers.  Assume that your visitors ARE comparison shopping and set out to win the race.

6.  Show how easy it is to get the benefit
In a time-starved world, the perceived difficulty of actually learning to use the product well enough to get the benefit is often the biggest deal killer.

The camera flash might be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but if I still have my DSLR stuck on “P” mode, all those features might convince me that I’ll never be able to figure out how to work the darn thing – and then I’ll opt not to buy.  And simply claiming that the flash is “easy to use” isn’t going to help.

But if you show me how the flash is automated and will start making my pictures better just by sticking it in the hot shoe, and that the rest of the features are easy to learn one at a time, then I’m much more likely to buy.

7. Put your guarantee to work
It’s one thing to state a guarantee, it’s another to make your reader imagine the security that comes with it.  So take a summary statement like:

“Your new flash is guaranteed to be the best camera accessory you’ve ever purchased, or your money back”

and amplify on it with something like:

“Use the flash for a full month and if you’re not taking the best pictures of your life with this new Nikon speedflash, you’ll STILL have another 30 days in which to return it for a full refund.”

If you’re an e-tailer with lots of SKUs implementing this list might not be feasible for all of your items, but do yourself the favor of testing a few of these techniques on your previous top sellers and see what kind of results you get.  I’ll bet they’ll be big enough to make copy improvement a priority for all your popular items.

And if you’re only selling a limited range of items or services, then what are you waiting for - get started improving that copy before the holiday rush!  Remember, you want to leave your readers feeling like the little boy in this picture: