Reversing the Risk of Online Transactions

An effective Internet marketing strategy means anticipating customer hesitations and removing obstacles

Effective Internet marketing requires attention to detail.

Landing page optimization requires a solid knowledge of website architecture, web page design, online copywriting and direct response testing. A deficit in any one of these areas can doom your Internet marketing efforts to mediocrity at best.

Among other weaknesses, we frequently see online sales letters that fail to address user anxiety about the safety of the proposed transaction.

What’s the big promise of your information product or service? Will it make the consumer healthier, sexier, more attractive, wealthier, smarter or more secure?

How specific is your promise? For instance, does it guarantee the consumer will double his income with your prescient stock picks? Probably not. Or does it (more moderately) promise to make the consumer a smarter, better-informed investor?

The longer and more detailed your guarantee, the more credibility it has. Testing indicates that 60-day guarantees out-pull 30-day guarantees by up to 100 percent without increased returns or requests for refunds.

If your current guarantee is short, vague or ambiguous, how can you rewrite it to make it clearer and more credible?

What is a “satisfaction” guarantee? Does it mean your customer must be satisfied that your product fulfills the promise of your offer? It’s his or her decision whether you have achieved “satisfaction,” not yours, right? Then why not say so!

Product satisfaction isn’t the only issue that makes consumers reluctant to buy. Some customers worry about the safety of online credit card transactions. Some don’t have a credit card and want to pay buy check. Does your sales letter landing page address these concerns?

Here’s a selection of reassuring risk reversal statements from Mequoda Senior Copywriter Peter A. Schaible’s swipe file:

The reason-why guarantee

Telling the customer why you offer a guarantee increases your credibility.

“We believe in the quality of our products and services. Our reputation for integrity and fairness is priceless to us. We insist that you are completely satisfied with (the product) or we will promptly refund every penny of your investment.”

The how-to-get-it guarantee

Telling the customer specifically how she can get satisfaction adds to your authenticity.

“Just send us an email and we’ll refund 100 percent of your investment.”

The “feel-good” performance guarantee

This one tries to assuage consumer anxiety about having to explain buyer’s remorse.

“One hundred percent, money-back guarantee anytime within 60 days if (the product) doesn’t perform exactly as promised. No questions asked. No hard feelings.”

Other risk reversal assurances

Free trial: “Look (the product) over and try it out for three full days, during which we won’t even charge your credit card.”

Our no-credit-card-charges-for-at-least-30-days guarantee: “Try (the product) for 30 days. Make certain it’s right for you. Only after you decide you’re completely satisfied will we process your credit card payment.”

Our take-your-time-deciding guarantee: “After we’ve processed your credit card, you still have plenty of time to decide. If, after 30 days, you decide (the product) is not right for you, you can still get your money back.”

Our return policy: “We have a 100 percent, no-hassle return policy. If, after 30 days you decide (the product) is not right for you, just send an email to customercare@company.com and request a return authorization number. Your money will be promptly refunded upon return of (the product).”

Our privacy policy: “Your name and email address will never be sold or shared with any other organization — ever. We hate spam as much as you do!”

Safe online transactions: “Don’t worry, this is a secure, encrypted, online transaction. Our secure servers assure your personal information will not be stolen.”

Order by phone: “If you prefer, order by calling toll-free, 800-000-000, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Eastern, Monday – Friday. If, after 30 days you decide (the product) is not right for you, return it and get your money back.”

Order by mail with a check: “If you prefer, send your check for $00.00 (includes shipping and handling) to Company Name, 123 Street Address, PO BOX 123, City, State, Zip.”

We welcome questions: “Just send an email to customercare@company.com. Or call toll-free, 800-000-000, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Eastern, Monday – Friday.”

Dealing with guarantee abusers

Will some customers abuse your “satisfaction” guarantee? Of course. It’s a cost of doing business. Simply add their names to your “do not sell” list.

Every business lives or dies by customer satisfaction. Can you afford not to offer a customer satisfaction guarantee?

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