This Maxim is a core principle related to website design. Remember AIDA and WIIFM? When a customer comes to your site, something has captured their Attention and piqued their Interest. Your job is to build on that Interest and turn it into Desire, then compel them to take Action. To do this you must remember to answer “What’s In It For Me?’
On a website, this is done primarily through copy… but copy that is carefully laid out in such a way that it leads the visitor into exploration. Most people coming to your site are probably not coming to buy, but to check you out. It’s interesting, but psychologically they feel as thought they’re doing “due diligence” on you. Are you for real? Can you be trusted? Is your product or service worth the price?
This is where longform, single-page websites miss the mark. They essentially post an 8- or 12-page salesletter, and the only link (after scrolling until your finger cramps) is to “Order Now!” No chance to get beyond the “sales” message and look behind the curtain at who you are, what you stand for, if you’re for real or not. These sites take them in, sit them down and sell, sell, sell… no time to dance! Buy or die!
I had a client with just such a site, spending $40,000 per month on pay-per-click ads. He was only converting .8% of his site visitors, despite having had multiple longform salesletters written for his webpage. Still, he was making money. We changed the format, keeping the longform look but allowing visitors to padunk around a bit. No matter where they clicked, they received reminders and subtle messages related to the page they clicked to. All in a strategy to dance with them, instead of dragging them through a forced sales copy. Conversions increased to 1.8%. And the testing is still improving the results.
Longform salesletters are a different animal than a longform webpage. It’s easy to flip through a salesletter, jump to the end, back to the beginning, pull out the testimonials, and basically feel like you’re in charge. Not so on a longform webpage.
Customers don’t want to wade through tons of sales copy to glean the answers… they want to pull back the curtain and see what ‘s real. So give it to them. Slip in text links to other pages on your site… let them discover something in your case histories… but remember, their attention and interest only goes so far. Don’t make it difficult… they don’t want the real due diligence jungle, they just want the experience. They want to feel secure that they have checked you out. Their logical left brain isn’t as loud as their emotional right brain! Give them some meat and their emotions will start yelling in their head, “This is it! I want this! Good company! Good product! Do it now!”