Website visitors are impatient. They have high expectations. Since options are abundant, they’re in control. They hold the power. If your visitors open their circle of trust because you engage them with persuasive copy or links, you have a limited opportunity to
meet exceed their expectations.
Each click represents an expectation. The visitor expects that this scent will follow through to the next page, and that she’ll be brought to a page that specifically offers the experience she was promised. When there’s a disconnect and her expectations aren’t met, the visitor is unimpressed — and usually frustrated.
Kelly Mooney expresses her frustration when she was mislead by Williams-Sonoma into believing she would experience the Fall Decorating Guide (please click the thumbnail to see the email she received). And after reading “View tips on confident collecting, elegant entertaining and our tips for style stand-outs,” what would you expect? Most likely, you’d expect “tips on confident collecting, elegant entertaining” and the like, right?
So, she clicks and sees the Fall Decorating Guide, but there’s no continuation of scent (define). Kelly’s left frustrated because she was told one thing in order to bait her into clicking, and the following page didn’t follow through on that promise.
What images are conjured in a visitor’s mind when they read the word “Guide”?
Do you think they expect to see a list of products you’re trying to sell, or do you think they expected to find information that would give them direction to decorate for the fall? Not just some 60-or-so words, right?
In Bryan Eisenberg’s article “There is No Egg in Eggplant,” he writes: “The key to constructing effective mental images and creating powerful persuasive copy lies in systematic and coherent intentionality.” In other words, you only achieve your goals by first helping your visitors achieve theirs.
Kelly may easily have been persuaded to purchase some of the products listed at Willaims-Sonoma, but first she needed the guidance to decorating for the Fall. Of course the appropriate products would have been integrated into the content of the guide. She’d have expected as much. But did they really expect her to be content without content?
The moral of this story: If you’re only going to guide visitors to the checkout line, you might as well tell your brick-and-mortar store employees not to talk to customers either. At least then, there would be some consistency in the experience.
[Editor's Note: Join Melissa tomorrow, September 12th, from 12 - 1pm EST (9 - 10am PST) for a free webinar on "7 Simple Ways to Boost Your Holiday Conversion Rate."]