I’m always amazed how something will come at me from several different directions in a very short period of time. This past week it was branding and debranding. Debranding is what happens when a company so alienates its audience that they lose market share (there are links to more information at the bottom of this post).
Have you ever seen what I call “intrusive little windows”. These are those little windows that appear in the middle of a webpage you’re browsing and intrude on your browsing experience.
How to Upset Buyers Quickly
People in a buying mood — have a very distinct Rich Personae. I wrote in Intelligent Website Design: Expand Your Market that most personae are along the lines of “…they’re this old, this educated, they have this kind of job, they’re interested in these kinds of things, they have 2.3 children and half a dog.” Those descriptions provide a good start. Rich Personae take into account cognitive, behavioral/effective and motivational data — literally, how your site visitors think and respond to what you’ve placed in front of them.
One of the characteristics of Buying Rich Personae is that they’re very goal oriented. Dogged, in fact. Once a person has decided to make a purchase get out of their way.
So here is a situation where the very type of visitor you’re interested in — someone who’s very goal oriented, someone wanting to make a purchase, someone who’s buying style is “Do you have it? Okay I want it. Let’s make this happen” — is driven away from your site because some intrusive little window threw them out of their buying experience.
The push back might be that not all sites that do these types of things are strictly ecommerce. I disagree because the first sale is always the next page. Web sites are always selling something even though what they’re selling may be free content. Somebody’s paying for that site to exist and wants you to remain on that site for branding purposes (even though they may not recognize it as such). The first two examples above are on information sites (a newspaper and an online journal). The obvious sale is a subscription in both cases.
But don’t offer the visitor a subscription until they’ve decided your content is interesting enough to subscribe to.
The example on the right is for a true ecommerce site. That site exists is to sell you things, either actual product or recognition of expertise and industry leadership.
So here comes Joe Buyer, wanting something you have to sell and coming to your site to buy it.
Imagine yourself in that buying mood. You’ve made up your mind you want something, you’ve done your research, you’ve found it, you want it, you want it right now, you want to spend money and there it is right in front of you and one click from now you can rest assured you’ll have it…
…and then an intrusive little window shows up, right between you and what you want.
The Very Important Part
People who are in an online buying frame of mind are not in a filling out a form answering questions frame of mind.
Let me repeat this because it is a very important and overlooked fact. People who are willing to take the time to respond to a little window that gets between them and what they want to purchase are not buyers, they are shoppers, browsers and tirekickers. They are not interested in making a purchase because they can be easily stopped from doing so by the intrusive little window. Regardless of how they respond, they weren’t in a buying mood if they’re willing to stop buying and start answering questions. You’re getting answers from people who weren’t committed to your offering enough to complete a sale. The information they provide you is useful, yes, just be aware of who it’s coming from before you make any decisions around it.
Little Windows that Don’t Intrude
The image on the right, a login screen, makes the little window a requirement for achieving the visitor’s objective. Click on the login link and the window pops up requesting login credentials. The little window is now a required element in the visitor’s goal path.
The take-away from this is simple; all tools are good when they’re used wisely. All tools are best when you understand what you can use them for. Intrusive little windows may be providing you with information and even some conversions but when they get in the way of your customers doing business? Is anything worth that?
But make them a requirement to visitor’s achieving their goal? Very nice.
Links for this post:
- A New Branding Paradigm, Online and Off
- BizMediaScience Branding archives
- BizMediaScience Consumer Experience archives
- BizMediaScience DeBranding archives
- Branding and Online Ad Placement
- Branding in Online Video
- Could this be any more irritating?
- Moving Your Brand into New Markets
- NextStage Case Study: Site ReDesign to Facilitate User Migration and Increase Branding
- NextStage Opinion Paper: Learning to Listen, Learning to See
- NextStage Research Paper: Use of Eye Images as Navigation and Action Cues on WebSites (Price – US$250.00)
- Someone Wasn’t Paying Attention, Again
- The Crofter’s Loft: DeBranding
- Usability Studies 101: Brand Loyalty
- Usability Studies 101: Redesign Timing
- When Advertisements Crash
- XChange on 20-21 Sept 07
- DC Emetrics Summit on 14-17 Oct ’07
- Society for New Communications Research Annual Research Symposium & Awards Gala on 5-6 Dec 07 in Boston.
Come on by and say hello.