I came across an article the other day that was so good, I impulsively travelled down the path to purchase this guy’s book. The thing was, the purchasing process was so difficult that I literally couldn’t buy it! I tried. But couldn’t. So what went so badly wrong for me to be still sitting here now, bookless? And how can you avoid the same mistakes and make more sales online? Well, the user journey couldn’t have gone any smoother from the author’s prospective because I:
- Checked my email and visited a link to his post on LinkedIn
- Stopped off at LinkedIn and went straight through to the article on his website
- Landed on his website and read the piece
- Enjoyed it that much, that I went on to (try and) buy his book
Now, considering that I’d never heard of this dude before and certainly hadn’t read any of his stuff, for me to simply read one article and be so enthused as to go straight for the juggler, straight for the book purchase, he was obviously doing something right. So let’s use the advertising and sales model, ‘AIDA’ (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action), apply it to this online path to purchase and see if we can find the blockage and work out some improvements to increase these sales.
There was nothing wrong with the approach to getting attention. Seeing ‘Pamela Anderson’ the headline of a Brand Republic email certainly did the trick, winning the battle over the typical ‘digital’, ‘strategy’ and ‘conversions’ keywords that usually scatter my inbox.
Captured, and feeling enthused, I clicked the link and was taken to the discussion on LinkedIn: … And then moved onto the article on the website:
Even though there wasn’t much talk of good old Pamela, the article still delivered on it’s promise of being interesting and, after seeing this guy’s book dangling in the margin, I was inspired to check out a little more about the author:
Everything’s gone well so far, I’ve found the website, the article’s inspired me, the author sounds like a decent guy and I want some more. I’m prepared to act, so clicked the book icon in the margin and… No link. The image was flat. Instead, I had to search Google for the publisher, LID, and visit them directly: And, with no sign of the book on the publisher’s home page, I had to search for it:
Ah ha! Found it!
The price is a bit steep, but at this point, I’m not bothered. I’m committed. So I clicked the link and…
A PDF! WTF!
At this point, I’m thinking:
How on earth do I buy this book?
Make it simpler and easier
This journey fell apart at the most important stage, Action! I’d been through the whole process; I was pumped up, excited, ready and willing, sat with a smile on my face and a debit card in my hand, but I simply couldn’t hand over the cash. Online, user’s don’t think. They don’t want to think. So in order to take user’s through the path to purchase, there must be as little friction as possible, and:
thinking = friction
… Especially with impulse purchases like this one. I needed to be guided seamlessly through each stage, particularly from Desire through to Action – this is the most critical point. With impulse purchases online, if there’s even the slightest barrier, users won’t go out of their way. It’s too difficult and time consuming. They’ll just hit a dead end and give up, like I did.
How to sell a book
So how would this author make more sales from that website? Just make this journey simple, straightforward and smooth by taking the image of the book that sits so invitingly in the margin and:
turn it into a hyperlink that redirects the user straight to the book’s page on Amazon.
The user can then sign in, buy with one click. Simple as that. No friction, no searching, no confusion, no disappointment. (If the publisher has anything to say about that, then they obviously don’t want to sell the book as much as you do.) If that journey was smooth, I’d’ve bought that book without even realising and it would be in the post now. Note to the author: If you happen to catch this, please, please, please make it easier for users to buy your book! Implement the above suggestion and I promise I’ll buy one.
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