Web surfers can be a distracted, lazy lot that can seemingly prefer to ration clicks — often not delving deeply into a site, rather preferring to skim along the surface instead. This makes speed of access a vital concern, not only at the server/software level, but at the process level, where many obstacles present themselves between visitors and signups.
This makes simplification and streamlining of the sales cycle absolutely necessary in order to pierce the veil of short attention spans.
None of these steps is rocket science: they are, however, all a solid foundation for a speedy checkout and for encouraging sales.
For example, the following practical tips will help reduce friction in an adult paysite’s warning-to-join page path, but the basic principles can apply across all e-commerce sites:
Front and center
Since the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, start the streamlining process by including a join link directly on your warning page as a means of guiding return visitors and those already pre-sold through affiliate or in-house marketing efforts. Buttons for “renew now” and “buy now” may also prove effective on your warning page. Remember, a warning page is just that, a warning; it does not need to impede your sales.
Top and bottom, side to side
By including join buttons in a consistent, prominent location, at the top and bottom of each page, as well as dispersed throughout the body text as appropriate, your website’s visitors are always a quick click away from a purchase; whether they are viewing content “above the fold” or below it. Don’t be shy about adding join links to sample content and other elements, as either explicit (i.e. “JOIN NOW”) links, or as blind links where sample thumbs link to the join page. In the latter case, a different billing subaccount can be used on these links to preserve the ratios of your voluntary join page hits for tracking purposes.
A recurring theme
While membership options can become quite robust, encompassing different access levels and time spans, billing providers, payment platforms, currency choices and more, devoting a large chunk of highly visible on-page real estate (such as the top of a sidebar) to your best join options brings the signup one step closer: now a prospect doesn’t have to click away from the page that “sold” him on your site, he can signup right from that page. Although it may not be practical to embed a full join form on every page, the pre-form choices can easily fit into many site’s design. The upshot is to make it as easy as possible for the surfer, so that your support staff never hears, “I couldn’t find a join link ….”
None of these steps is rocket science: they are, however, all a solid foundation for a speedy checkout and for encouraging sales. Text or graphics can be used for join links, but be sure to perform split testing on link sales text to optimize it for your audience — after that, it should be easier to get prospects to your join page. Optimizing that page, however, is a story for another day.