I was reminded today of a running joke I have with my wife. Occasionally, she will ask me to do some odd job or another and then immediately proceed to tell me just how to do it.
My reply is to generally remind her that she gets to – 1) tell me what to do, or 2) how to do it – but not both. Sometimes she thinks this is funny, most times she ignores me.
The interesting thing about this lesson (assuming you didn’t think my personal story was riveting) is that as marketers, particularly online, you must do both – you must tell your readers and visitors what to do and then tell them how to do it.
Don’t assume that since you have a lovely picture of your widget on your homepage that they know you want them to buy one. Tell them, ask for the order. Also don’t assume that since you have this shiny “Order Here” button at the bottom of your page or a big honking 800# in your ad that they will know how to order – explain the process – tell them scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the order here button and they will be magically transported to your secure shopping cart.
Even if you feel like you are going overboard with instruction, you must understand that people scan, so you can’t give too much instruction. One of the primary reasons people abandon shopping carts or don’t convert is tiny little seeds of confusion that place doubt.
And, while you’re at it, put some urgency in the message. (Yes, dear, I’m on it!)