Evaluating the value proposition

Yesterday we looked at the importance of telling people what we want them to do in response to our offer. Their decision whether to comply will be made instantaneously, and will be the result of a judgement on whether they think the deal is worth it – even if the ‘deal’ is a simple as deciding whether or not to ‘click here’.

What we need to do therefore, is to clarify (and sell) the ‘value proposition’. This is obvious when it comes to products (“give us £50 and we’ll give you a blue widget”), but it exists for every transaction, including calls to action. So we need to make it quite clear what we’re offering. ‘Find out more’ isn’t nearly clear enough. What will finding out more involve? Something being emailed? An unexpected phone call? A salesman arriving on their doorstep? If they don’t know, and one of the possibilities is something they don’t want (even if it’s not what will actually happen), you’ll lose some of them.

Having made it clear what they’ll get, we need to state the immediate cost to the prospect in return – they will need to click here, make a phone call, fill in a form, etc. Possibly more importantly, we also need to allay any fears about potential future costs – what we will do (or won’t do) with the information. This is a huge barrier for many people. While they’d be happy to give you their email address to answer a question or send them a document, they guess (often correctly) that by doing so, they’re opening the door to floods of unwanted sales emails which they’ll never be able to stop.

This can be a deal breaker, and you’ll never get a chance to argue your case, because you’ll never know that it was the point at which they bailed out. It’s also the reason why I continue to recommend not asking for a phone number if they’re not asking to be phoned. Always think about things from a suspicious prospect’s point of view. Why would somebody ask for my email details to send me a document they could just link to, openly? Conversely, if I’m requesting a printed catalogue, of course my postal address will be necessary. And so on.

Treating a simple call to action as a proper value proposition might seem like a lot of over-analysis if it’s just a link to a sales document, but we’re at the critical part of the ‘conversion funnel’ here. It has cost a lot of money to get people this far. Don’t waste the opportunity.

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