Visitors Don’t Care About You

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visitors dont care about you

It's not you, it's them. But it's still your problem.

There’s a famous quote from former German chancellor Willy Brandt that reads like it’s been designed for digital: “If I am selling to you, I speak your language. If I am buying, dann müssen sie Deutsch sprechen.” Web marketers try and live this every single day, and while we can talk big game about how wonderful the web is as a communication medium to your customers, one thing keeps trust-worthy, conversion-optimized, localized content from being the norm rather than the exception:

Getting it right is hard.

It gets hard at the nuanced level, when you have to decide between the testimonial or the social proof and there’s little room left above the fold, or whether the trust logos are subtle enough that they don’t take away from your main call-to-action, but noticeable enough that there’s a credibility transfer. But while it’s difficult to get that balance right, you can declare something right now and make your task that much easier:

Nobody cares about you.

Your Visitors Don't Care About You

Sure, if you’re Apple, IBM, or Google, your visitors can already care about you pretty deeply (and others hate you with a passion). But by and large, even large brands don’t automatically fall into the “I always care what you say” camp. 

Your visitors don’t care about you or your offer; you need to persuade them to. And not in the “this is me, look at how awesome my brand is” way. They need to care about your offer because the value appears to be good - make sure you use techniques like framing and anchoring, making an expensive option available, and making the “best value offer” pop through the use of larger fonts and better color contrast.

After generating the excitement through the offer, you need to work on some level of urgency or fear. Scarcity is another tool you have in your persuasion toolkit - where applicable, use limited time offers or display the number of stocks left to help make the visitor act. 

Your Visitors Need to “Feel” You Are Easy to Work With

Of course, your site needs to be usable. It’s 2013. You need to follow conventions, and make sure the CTA is above the fold, the buttons look like buttons, and the clickable areas are large enough to be clicked. You need to get the “under the hood” stuff right - there’s no excuse not to.

But you also need to work on something else: you need to “feel” easy to work with.  From a behavioral processing standpoint, you need to have the site load things as soon as they are clicked, or you need to inform the visitor how much time is left if your page is fetching something from a database and the process takes a while.

Your colors need to subdue non-interactive elements, and make it easy for the user to feel in control. If they visit your page from a tablet or smartphone, you need to either serve a mobile version or a page that uses responsive design, so they feel they are in the right place. If they leave to compare against other sites, bring them as close to the last thing they “did” on your site, and leave them reminders - don’t make them memorize how you are set up, make them  feel valued. 

Your page doesn’t just need to be easy to use, it needs to feel that way, too.

Your Visitors Don’t Trust You - Yet

Lastly, unless you are Pfizer or Amazon, visitors don’t trust you in a specific way. (and even for brands like those, they come with baggage and they need to work on other things)

It’s important that you look trust-worthy - that is, that your professional design matches the mental model that the visitors use. You can’t be too cute if you’re selling banking plans. 

If you get the design aspect right, there’s also the matter of transactional assurances and borrowed credibility. By default, visitors do not trust you about money - you have to earn that. You need to have logos that instantly convey you are safe to transact with, and if large brands use your product or service, you would probably want to display those logos as a sign of authority and a proof-point of trust-worthiness.

If you have a lot of users, show the social proof, especially when your users are likely to be from the same cultural tribe as your visitors.

The fact that visitors are not likely to care about you also means they are not likely to care about your competition. That means one thing: whoever delivers the better offer and experience, wins. Make sure you try and persuade the visitor to care about your offer, make the visitor feel valued, and assume that you need to earn their trust, and you already have a leg up.

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