In writing there is a term called ‘passive voice’. In literature this is where the narrator TELLS the reader what is going on instead of allowing dialogue and event descriptions to SHOW the story to the reader and allow their imagination to fill in the gaps. In the first case the reader is not very involved in the action of the story, but in the second scenario they are not only invited into the full body of the story, but they feel as if they are part of the action.
In web design you have to find a balance between simply showing your site visitor what you have to offer and being pushy in an effort to make a sale. On approach is heavy handed and the other is a bit timid in approach.
When you TELL, but don’t SHOW you wind up with a very sterile site that infuses no one with passion to make a purchase. Visitors simply leave with a lot of facts and figures they aren’t sure what to do with.
When you SHOW, but don’t TELL you can get a visitor excited about the product without ever bringing them back to a call to action.
Let’s see if this makes sense. Let’s say you have a website dedicated to cosmetics. Your knowledge-based content does a great job of pulling the site visitor in on an emotional level. They learn a lot and find your site valuable. However, this visitor may well leave your website never even considering a purchase. They may have even thought the article was simply part of a site designed to extend knowledge to visitors. You have to remember that sometimes your web pages are accessed through a search engine and if there is no call to action they may exit with good information and nothing more.
A call to action at the end of your knowledge based content encourages your reader to take the information they have gleaned from your site and apply it to a purchase of products from your website (or as past of an affiliate revenue sharing program) that can tangibly enhance what they have learned.
Never be afraid to place a call to action in your website. You need to let your visitor know they can do something with what they now know.
If you are not passive about drawing your audience into an understanding of the product you should also not be passive about making it easy for your customers to take the next step.
Interestingly you cannot make the assumption that by simply describing something better you will increase your sales. While it is likely sales are predicated on knowing what you are buying there is a greater chance of a sale when someone understand the emotional tie to the product.
When you help your reader connect with your product in an active way you may find not only new customers, but also motivated repeat customers that willingly share your story and perhaps your call to action.
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