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The Decision-Making Funnel, Stage 4: Action, Part 1

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In "Landing Pages and the Decision-Making Process," I described the well-known AIDA conversion funnel and how it governs all Web conversions.

The key AIDA stages are:

Desire and action aren't really distinct stages, but rather a continuing give-and-take. Increasing desire pulls us to take successively larger steps toward the ultimate conversion goal.

Each of these steps is in itself an action. After each action, we build on its momentum to create enough desire to jump to the next level of action and commitment.

Even if your Web site can answer the "Do you have what I want?" question in the affirmative, you still have to get past the "Should I get it from you?" hurdle. Some additional desire is usually needed to propel us through the ultimate conversion transaction.

Should the Visitor Get It from You?

Before I'm moved to action, I must believe that I've found the right solution for my needs, and a reasonable and trustworthy company to deal with. Notice that I didn't say "the best" company. As you'll soon see, this isn't a prerequisite for transacting.

Finding the best solution and finding the best provider for that solution are largely independent decisions.

Just because you've gone to great lengths to help visitors research, compare, review, and customize a good solution doesn't mean they'll buy it from you. Especially if the item in question is a commodity, or widely available from a number of online and offline sources, many people will comparison-shop to find the best price and terms. There is growing evidence that online consumers are getting savvier, and that the median online purchase times for many industries are steadily increasing because of comparison shopping.

It's important to remember that the landing page itself is simply a visual representation of a service promise that you're making to the visitor. The promise can be very different depending on your conversion actions:

  • Lead-generation forms: That you'll follow up on your contact request promptly.
  • E-mail newsletter sign-up: That you won't spam visitors, but will instead send them useful information.
  • Online auction sites: That the product they see is accurately represented.
  • E-commerce: That their purchase will indeed arrive before that special occasion.

Often, the ultimate conversion action is actually offline, and the intermediate online step is simply designed to pass the visitor on to a live person on the telephone, to schedule a callback, or to arrange for a subsequent face-to-face consultation or group event.

Next time, we'll conclude discussing the action stage by examining the following key motivators that weigh heavily on whether someone will transact with you:

  • Brand strength.
  • Previous resource investment.
  • The total solution.
  • Risk reducers.
  • Validation and credibility.


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