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Help Web Site Visitors Say that Silent Yes
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By Nick Usborne

To turn visitors into customers or subscribers, you need them to say Yes... and not only as they begin to complete that final form, but a number of times before that last step.

Here is a checklist of the times you need a visitor to say Yes.

Yes, I think this site could help me...

This moment takes place within two or three seconds of a visitor arriving at your site for the very first time.

He or she has something in mind, hes looking for something. Those first few seconds will result in him either thinking, Yes, it looks like Im in the right place...or not.

This means that you need to get your basic value proposition very clearly communicated on the first screen. Use short words and short sentences.

If people cant figure out what you do and what you offer in those first few seconds, many of them will leave.

Yes, Im pretty confident I can find exactly what Im looking for...

Were now a few more seconds into that first visit. Your visitor thinks maybe hes in the right place, but now hes scanning the subheads and link text. Hes thinking, Yes, they sell widgets, but I wonder if they carry the Widget 45XT.

He doesnt want to spend too long on the site if you dont have what he wants. So hes looking for clues. He wants to see a short piece of text that will make him confident that you have what hes looking for.

Yes, I have enough information here to feel comfortable about moving ahead...

Now he has found the page with information about the Widget 45XT, and hes reading the detailed text. Before he makes a purchase, he wants to be sure that this is the exact widget he needs.

Are you telling him enough? Are you making feel comfortable about moving forward and making a purchase?

Yes, I trust these people enough to give them my email address and credit card information...

Can he trust you? Has he heard of your site or business before? Is he willing to share his personal and credit card information?

The answer is probably yes. But you need to reassure him.

Use testimonials. Join BBBOnline and similar organizations, and show their logos.

Offer a cast-iron guarantee, so the purchase is seen as entirely risk-free.

Yes, I want this badly enough that Im prepared to go through the undoubtedly painful process of completing their unnecessarily long subscription or purchase pages...

Here is the spot at which you will lose a lot of potential customers at the last moment.

Completing overly-long purchase or subscription pages is a pain for everyone. And the longer the form, the more people you will lose.

So keep the number of questions and fields to an absolute minimum. Ask yourself how much you really need to ask in order to accept an order. And dont ask for anything else. You can always come back and ask more questions later.

Concluding thoughts...

All too often we focus our attention on writing a great home page and sales page, with varying degrees of success.

However, the process of having a prospect sign up or buy is more complex that that. You need to look carefully at the entire sales pathway, page by page, line by line.

And always ask yourself the question, Is this page or headline or block of text going to help my reader say Yes?

Nick Usborne is a Senior Analyst for MarketingExperiments.com
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