Want More Actions? Leverage the Point of Action

Two weeks of West Coast jet lag while keynoting three conferences means a lot of parties. At a reception, a guy named Peter told me that he read my book “Call to Action” a few years ago and that he used it as the basis to redo his company’s shopping cart. Peter more than doubled conversions based on the advice we gave him. However, he said he had an unbelievable battle to explain and use an obvious technique: leveraging his company’s point-of-action assurances into the shopping cart.

Maybe I can spare you that grief.

What Are Point-of-Action Assurances?

At the point when a visitor is ready to take action, to fill out a form, to click on a button or link, they are at a seductive moment. It’s a delicate place. It’s at that point they could lose confidence in their decision and not take the action you want them to take. That’s why you must provide messaging to bolster trust and confidence.

Let’s look at a few examples of how this can be done.

One of the earliest tests we ran over a decade ago was adding the words “we value your privacy” near newsletter subscriptions boxes on several clients’ websites. We placed those four simple words near the e-mail form field and the button used to submit the subscription form. It often doubled the conversion rate from visitors to subscribers.

If you want to take this to another level, check out what my good friends and screenshotaholic enablers at TechSmith do on their forms with a reaffirming message from their president.

Point-of-action assurances allow you to handle the possible objections or concerns your visitors have just as they are ready to complete an action and without them having to go anywhere else on your website to look for the answer.

Take a look at the download button from Firefox as an example of adding point-of-action assurances on a graphic button. Notice how they tell people how large the file is, what version, etc.? You could do the same thing if you are asking people to download white paper docs, PDFs, or any other type of files.

Amazon used this strategy for years on its “add to cart” buttons. Even though they removed it, we have still used it quite successfully for clients recently. Notice how Amazon used the words “you can always remove it later” on the button and the use of the lock graphic and the additional words “shopping with us is safe. Guaranteed.”

You can also use point-of-action assurances to help retail visitors overcome their shopping fears and reduce shopping cart abandonment.

Notice the use of the lock and the “Shop with Confidence” messaging alongside the credit card input fields in CafePress.com’s shopping cart? This point-of-action assurance helps visitors feel more secure about entering in their credit card information.

The folks from 37signals use this well-designed strategy quite effectively in order to get their visitors to provide them with credit card information to set up a free trial account for their Basecamp product.

Visitors to retailers often have other questions that should be answered as point-of-action assurances inside the cart, instead of making visitors search your website for answers to your return, shipping, or guarantee policies.

Notice how Shoeline.com spells out its policies from the shopping cart page all the way through the final checkout page? This is how it lets visitors know that all its products are guaranteed and that visitors can return products within 30 days for a refund or exchange.

So You Want More Leads, Huh?

Well, this strategy of providing point-of-action assurances is a must, then!

Keep in mind that, according to studies, a lead loses six times its effectiveness within the first hour of contacting you. So an effective strategy is to set expectations of how you handle your leads, what will happen after they fill out your form, and when and how you will respond. Take a look at what Rad-Direct.com is doing on its Web forms:

First, it sets expectations about what you can speak to a systems engineer about. Then, above and below the form, it lets you know that it will respond to all inquiries within two business hours (it also has the point-of-action assurance about respecting your privacy):

Use this simple and powerful technique of point-of-action assurances that direct marketers have been using in their work for years and watch how your visitors reward you with more actions taking place.

Please share if you think others would benefit.