Remove the Sense of Risk

[A]ll effective plans do one of two things: they either clarify how somebody can do business with us, or they remove the sense of risk somebody might have if they’re considering investing in our products or services.

Donald Miller, Building a Storybrand

An airport is a fun place to watch what happens when scores of people all start operating with elevated anxiety. You can see it on their faces when they see the long lines at security, when TSA pulls their bag out for further screening, when the customs agent looks at them for just a second too long after they've answered a question.

They're not anxious about the lines or the layout of the airport. They're anxious because they don't know what will happen next & whether it will cause them to miss their flight. The discomfort of so many things feeling outside their control is a pretty dramatic shift from the way most of us walk through the day.

Whatever impatience or self-absorption they may exhibit in this state of elevated anxiety isn't because they're bad people. It's just that they're scared & not used to being forced to live inside that fear for as long as it takes to get themselves onto their plane.

Airports could do us all a favor by telling us, early & often, how long it's likely to take us to get from wherever we are to our gate. If we know we've still got an hour before our flight boards, & that security is taking approximately 37 minutes to get through, we can breathe a little easier (& probably be kinder to the TSA agents to boot).

In almost every place except an airport, the anxiety of not knowing what might happen next is enough for most people to turn around & go back to the comforts of home.

That includes your website.

You can reduce some of that anxiety by designing an on-boarding process that removes the anxiety by clearly articulating the first few steps.

For most people, it requires an extraordinary amount of bravery to show up at your door that first time. Do them a favor: Tell them what's going to happen next, early & often. Don't make them guess or wonder. Don't assume they're not looking for any opportunity to ratchet down the anxiety & return to comfort.

Unless they've already paid good money for a seat on an airplane, most people most of the time won't sit inside that anxiety very long. Simplify your starting process & put the first few steps on your website so they don't have to.

PS, Registration is open for the next BrandingWOD class. We’ll be working together on building a stronger website throughout. I’d love to have you join us.

WebsitePatrick Cummings