We model our online prospects with a number of different funnels, paths, flows and journeys.
There is the classic AIDA sales funnel (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action). There is the Brad Geddes search funnel (Awareness, Interest, Learn, Shop, Buy).
Joseph Jaffe Flipped the Funnel. Dave Evans added the social cloud to the funnel.
For me, it all boils down to ADD (Attention, Deficit, Disorder). We certainly don’t need another model for generating persuasive website experience.
But, I created one.
I like this new model — the TEES model — because it encapsulates how I look at a visit to a website when optimizing for conversion. I also like the acronym: “TEES.”
Let’s see what it takes to TEES (think “tease”) a visitor into action.
T Is For Trigger
Why is someone typing in a particular keyword at this point in their life? Why now? If you answer, “Because they want to learn more about what I sell,” you are often wrong.
Take the example of a plumber’s website.
Trigger 1 – A woman is having her bathroom remodeled. The remodelers just told her that she has to hire her own plumber.
Trigger 2 – The same woman has a leak under her sink and it is ruining her wood floors.
In the case of a remodel, she will come looking for references, insurance, ability to work with her tile and years of experience. She also may be looking for some understanding of how to pick a plumber.
In the case of the leak, she needs only two pieces of information: can you be here quickly and what is your phone number.
You will create very different ads and landing pages for these two triggers. Different triggers, different experiences.
The Trigger takes place before the ad is seen. An ad can work as a trigger, but we are really interested in what is motivating the search and the click.
There is always a trigger.
In a B2B space, someone looking for a marketing automation system has a specific trigger. Did they miss their number this quarter? Were they given a difficult target for the coming quarter? Have they started a job at a new company? In general, their career or reputation is on the line.
If you sell apparel, your visitors’ trigger may be an upcoming social event, that they stepped on their scale for the first time in a few weeks, or a new job.
If you can get past the thought that, “People come to our site for lots of reasons,” you are going to spend some very important — and fun — time identifying the triggers which your business is uniquely qualified to address — and uniquely qualified to convert.
Does your messaging reflect this? If not, you may not be demonstrating appropriate empathy.
E Is For Empathy
Empathy is a bit of a frou-frou word, but Bryan Eisenberg says,
In order to help you understand what visitors need in order to achieve their goals, you need to have empathy about their journey through the buying process.
Bryan doesn’t choose words lightly.
For search traffic, empathy means starting where your visitor is. Your message can’t assume that they know more than their trigger allows.
Marketers love to start copy with a question, often something like, “Are you looking for a human resources management solution?”
The answer is usually, “No. Why?”
When you understand the triggers, you might start with something like, “Is every department in your company growing except HR?” Here, the trigger is a shortage of resources in HR that is threatening the companies growth. I may not have been looking for an HR management system, but suddenly I understand the payoff.
With a little education, I may find myself needing such a thing.
Empathy means making a promise that you will help them with their problem.
Your ad makes the first promise. Your site needs to keep it.
The promise is the payoff, the value proposition, the reason they need to engage.
Building empathy also means building trust.
Trust is communicated through your design, your copy, your guarantees, and the testimony of others. Trust must be shown more than stated. Do you talk about your company and its products, or do you talk about the problems your visitor is facing?
Given all of this, it’s clear that empathy comes slowly if you don’t understand the visitors’ triggers.
E Is Also For Education
For an online store, a picture of the solution being used may be sufficient. For a consultative sale, an eBook may be required before they get the full scope of their problem.
For a site-as-a-service offering, a free trial is often the best way to educate. The trial doesn’t solve the problem, but gives them practice understanding the problem as well as the solution.
The important thing is that you not educate them about the product before you’ve given the problem its due. Talk about specifications, price, size, color, installation and shipping when they feel confident that they can make a good decision.
Help them understand their problem, and they will make good decisions about buying your solution.
S Is For Solution
Now is your chance to land your company and its products on the runway that you’ve prepared. This entire process is persuasive, but now you get to provide the rationalizations and facts that give visitors permission to act.
The solution is about size, specs, color and effort. It is about price and proof.
The solution can be exclusive, limited time, and desired by others. The company that makes your solution can be trusted since 1953.
The solution can be easy-to-use or the choice of celebrities. It can come in 31 flavors. It can be recommended by 4 out of 5 doctors.
Whatever it is or does, it must keep your original promise. It must solve their problem.
Is All Of This TEE Really Necessary?
If your first impression of the TEES model is, “Hey that seems backward,” you’re right. We usually put the benefits and features first.
It is true that some visitors can figure out how to apply your solution to their problem without your empathy or education. They do it every day.
People buy products and services with little more information than a list of features and benefits. They don’t need you to understand their triggers or feel their pain.
However, if your search traffic isn’t converting, then you probably don’t have many of these kinds of visitors. If you don’t get sales or leads from your visitors, then your competition probably is providing the TEE, which makes their S look sweet.
Basically, you better TEE up your search traffic if you want to kick some serious S. (See what I did there?)
If your website leads with the solution, you better be driving a lot of traffic, because few will buy without a little TEES.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.