Can You Manage a Visitor’s Unsupervised Thinking?

Demand Creation ‌• January 4, 2009

An interesting article on optimizing your landing pages to make sure that visitors take the actions that you would like them to take. This came from the Marketing Experiments website. (

In our recent webinar for the ADMA, “Optimise Your Online Marketing ROI,” we discussed the art of communicating with your customer on your website.

We also optimized a handful of participants’ sites to demonstrate how communicating with your customer must form a meaningful, continuous, and controlled conversation.

[You can now access the complete webinar here.]

Understanding “unsupervised thinking”

Imagine a mutual fund dropping a first-time-investment customer onto the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange, telling her to make her own stock picks. Her first pick? A different mutual fund.

Why? Because the trading floor of the Stock Exchange is the epitome of competing choices and limited information.

Making a good decision requires a high level of expertise and experience. That first-time investor came to the mutual fund for guidance, for help in thinking through the available choices.

In our research, we frequently find websites landing prospects on pages that are the virtual equivalents of the trading floor, relying on what we call the prospect’s “unsupervised thinking” in navigating through the content. These sites never attempt to start a conversation with their visitors, to explain why they are the best choice, and how their visitors may most beneficially take advantage of their offer.

Sites that market a complex offer tend to build their pages loaded with features, products, or options, hoping that if they present every option at once, at least one feature will catch a visitor’s attention and lead to a conversion. The problem is that by displaying every option, they are putting the entire burden of researching and making the best choice on their visitor.

The three-question checklist

The website that relieves this burden the most is the site that will beat its competitors. How can you do it? You must guide your visitor’s thought process from understanding what you can do for them to showing them how and why they can do business with you.

There are three questions, which arise — consciously or unconsciously — in the mind of your visitors:

  1. Where am I?
  2. What can I do here?
  3. Why should I do it?

Your pages must be able to answer these questions clearly and concisely. Answering these questions, preferably in this order, takes your visitor “off the trading floor” and into a nice, quiet office, where there’s a personal shopping assistant, and tea, and sympathy, and a much higher probability of conversion.

In a forthcoming post, we’ll look at a website from the ADMA webinar to demonstrate how applying these questions to your home page can help you turn crowded chatter into a coherent conversation between you and your prospect.

Sam McCue
Inbound Marketing guru, avid fisherman, and all-around backcountry enthusiast.

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