So What Exactly Is a Point of Action Assurance?

You’re Lara Croft and you’ve just made it to Level 13 (yeah, I got sucked into GameBoy). You’re about to take off into the next phase of the unknown, but by now you’ve figured out there could be fiendishly hungry wolves or armored skeletons with an attitude lurking just about anywhere. A pain-in-the-neck purple wizard or two as well. You know it isn’t always clear what’s going to happen when you take the next step. A button? A set of spikes? A timed door? What you need, to be honest, is a bunch of signs around the joint saying stuff like, “Go through this door with guns blazing” or “After you push this button, you’ll want to hop back three steps or else you’ll get skewered.”

Just when you’re puzzling over the consequences of your next action, you want a convivial pat on the back and a reassurance that all will be well.

It’s understandable that we all get a bit nervous about taking certain actions. And lots of folks are especially nervous about taking an action online. So, help them along. At the exact point where they can take action, give them the online equivalent of a reassuring smile.

We’ve talked about Point of Action Assurances before, but it’s time to revisit the subject. It’s an important issue on every one of your Web pages (they all have clickable places, right, or they wouldn’t be there in the first place), and the tactic is big-time under-utilized.

You recall our recent discussion of what a Call to Action is, yes? Well, wherever you have a Call to Action on your Web page, you have a Point of Action that potentially raises a question in your visitors’ minds.

“Add to Shopping Cart.” Yeah, but what if I decide later that I don’t want it?

“Subscribe.” Okay, but what are you going to do with my name and email? I don’t want any old Joe to have it.

“Choose your Shipping Option.” And suppose I find out it costs more than I want to pay? Can I change it later?

“Enter your Credit Card Number (no dashes).” So my roommate hollers not to put anything more on the Visa, ‘cause it’s maxed out … use the MasterCard. Do I get to review and edit my information?

See what I mean? Any action that requires a form of commitment generates concern for important stuff like safety, getting taken advantage of, messing things up. And everywhere you can offer a ray of light, you need to do so. It makes folks feel much happier and more confident.

Think about it … the only physical action your visitors can take is to click. They click to enlarge, they click to go somewhere else, they click to search, they click to select stuff and they click to fill in forms. What else is there for them to do? Your job is to make it easy for them to click. And when you answer their unspoken concerns (which are, after all, pretty much the things we all worry about), you pave the way to that pot of gold (yours and theirs).

So examine every one of your Web pages for every click-through possibility you offer. Ask yourself: Is this a place that might raise a question in my visitors’ minds? Now, what can you say, right at this point on the screen, that will encourage them to click?

Unlike Lara Croft, your visitors’ lives aren’t on the line. But your conversion rates are! So take some pity on your dubious audience and give them the reassurance they need.

Eeeek … nobody warned me about those brown wolves!! Gotta head off with guns blazing!

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