Got a High-Risk Moment? Use Strong Copy…

A while back, I wrote an article about high-risk customer interaction points. These are the key points within the customer experience at your site where you either keep or lose a customer or prospect.

In particular, these are the moments when you really, really want the visitor to do something.

That “something” might be signing up for a newsletter.

Or clicking on the “Confirm Purchase” button.

Or granting you permission to send emails announcing special offers.

Or registering at the site for the first time.

I was reminded of high-risk customer interaction points when I was presenting at the Thunder Lizard Web Advertising conference a couple of weeks ago. The presenter ahead of me was Jared Spool of User Interface Engineering. Jared has a rare talent in front of a crowd and always presents an entertaining and informative session.

Anyway, midway through his session, he started talking about “seducible moments.” It suddenly occurred to me that he was talking about the exact same moments that I would be touching on in the following session. He was zeroing in on these moments from a usability perspective, and I’d be talking about the copy.

First, let me say that Jared’s term, “seducible moments,” has a much nicer ring to it than my stuffy “high-risk customer interaction points.” But if you combine both terms in your mind, side by side, you’ll get a pretty good feel for the nature of the moment.

When you ask someone to register at your site, it is a high-risk moment, because if he decides not to register, the chances that he will come back to that point anytime soon are pretty slim. But while the risk is high when you ask a user to do something, it’s also a very seducible moment. You have that user’s attention. If he came to that page, or that part of the page, he was close to saying, “Yes.” It has taken goodness knows how many dollars to get him to that point. He is ready to be seduced. And you’d better do everything right at that point, or you’ll lose him.

Ask Jared, and he’ll tell you about the usability considerations at these moments. Ask me, and I’ll tell you about the copy considerations.

How do you go about making the most of these interaction points?

First: Identify where those points are on your site and within your email and newsletter programs.

Second: Build a picture in your mind of how your prospect is feeling at that exact moment. What is her goal? What are her fears? What is driving her forward? What is holding her back?

Third: Take a fresh look at the copy you’re using. Is it saying exactly the right thing? Is it clear? Does it cover all the necessary ground — without being too long? Does it drive the user forward? Is it selling and closing the moment?

Every online business has these key high-risk, seducible moments within its site and emails. These are the points that ultimately determine your conversion rates. So they’re important.

And the copy at these points deserves a great deal of close attention.

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