Customer Choice: When Less is More

In business, the mantra is “give people choices.”

But are more choices always a good idea?

Experienced in direct marketing, I know that sometimes less is more when it comes to choosing. Or put another way, choice comes with a cost.

For example, if you are selling a subscription for an online community, you may be tempted to offer a variety of response avenues: email, contact us page on your website, a landing page, a link from a blog, and even a toll-free phone number. The logic is that everyone prefers a different method, so if you offer them all you increase the number of orders you get. Right?

Not always. Sometimes, all those choices work against you because choosing between them may take an extra split second, which is enough to cause someone to put off responding until later. Once that happens, it’s likely you’ll never get the response at all.

A horse of a different color?

It may seem like a subtle distinction, but there is a difference between offering choices and introducing extra decisions. If the “choice” of response method becomes a “decision,” you might as well reduce the number of orders.

For a reader-oriented medium such as a blog or content marketing, it is often best to offer a reader-oriented response and nothing else. That means forcing people to respond and provide no other avenue for response. Since there is only one way to reply, there is no decision to make.

If you own a company that does most of its business online, driving people to a single contact link in your copy, makes the most sense. Again, there’s no decision to make about how to respond, so there is one less hurdle for prospects to jump.

Is this always the best approach? Yes and no, depending on what your marketing contacts prefer. The only way to be sure whether to offer one or multiple response methods, is to test. If you offer several methods now, look at your data tracking to see how many responses come in through each type.

You might be surprised to find that one is favored to a much greater extent than the others. This could be the basis for testing whether offering only that one type of response could increase or decrease your total response.

Got a question? Ask. Please share this post with anyone you know that may find it of interest. And thanks for reading!

Everything marketing starts and ends with your customers… cater to them, listen to them and react to them. The results will amaze you!

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Thanks again for reading. Questions?

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Mike Deuerling, aka MarketingDoc
Marketing Communications Group, Inc.
800.251.3608

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About MarketingDoc 398 Articles
30+ years in marketing. 30+ years as a small business owner. Love music, photography, gardening and just about anything outdoors!

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