Best Ways To Avoid E-Business Bullying

May Marketing Madness Online Strategy Week, Post #8

Customers like to be sure, not skeptic. Unfortunately, some businesses have a tendency to bully their customers, forcing a lack of trust from their visitors. To avoid this, it is important to be be aware of how certain usability nuances can negatively affect the user experience of your customers.

Word to the Wise

Just as a piece of candy can initially offer tremendous enjoyment, but leave an incredibly unpleasant aftertaste, so too can these “dark” usability patterns.

1. Don’t leave out or hide the unsubscribe button.

Email marketing campaigns are indeed great and proven ways to increase conversions on a website. BUT, it is not okay to spam while making it difficult for customers to unsubscribe from content they did not voluntarily request. This is simply not good business etiquette.

2. Be up front about ALL your methods of payment.

Some websites have preferred methods of payment in mind from their customers, for example, their own credit card, or gift cards, etc. However, ultimately, it is the customer that should be able to decide what method of payment they wish to use. By either hiding or creating lower usability for other payment options, you cause customers to either abandon checkout, or get frustrated after their purchase when he/she realizes there actually are alternative payment methods.

3. Notify visitors of any emails they are going to receive upon sign up.

Surprises can be nice, but not when they are unwanted. If a customer signs up for your products and/or services, be up front about the e-mails you intend on sending them. Give them the option to opt out if they so wish. They deserve at least that for their conversion :-)

4. Do not make cancellation (of purchase, subscription, newsletter, etc.) difficult.

In my honest opinion, this is one of the most annoying practices of online businesses. Although you might secure the business of a customer for a bit of time, as remembering to cancel is a tedious job in itself, it prevents hesitant customers from giving you a chance. Lack of cancellation options for continued charges to your credit card or bills sent to your mailbox takes away a lot of control from website users, and this certainly does not encourage conversions.

5. Avoid “Weasel Wording” aka “Trick Questions”!

Read the following two options for customers on a checkout page and tell me what you think.

a. Give me a Free delivery with this order and send me the latest magazine for just $3.75!
b. Charge me $3.75 for delivery and give me a free copy of the latest magazine.

Exactly! The ol’ FREE/Paid trap. Delivery might be free if you pay for another item, or vice versa. Just be straight with your customers! Include the price of shipping. Or consider free shipping if you know it would have a strong effect on your conversions.

No One Likes A Bully

No one likes a bully so why be one? If you spend your time and marketing efforts gaining customers trust, rather than heightening their skepticism, your website will benefit no matter what. These bullying tactics could offer initial reward, but they will ultimately not leave a good impression on your customers. So think about the reputation you want and the type of customers you value.

This post is one out of ClickTale’s month long May Marketing Madness series. Each of our daily posts will highlight and explain today’s best practices, useful tips and smart tools to measure and improve your online business performance. This week’s theme is online strategy. Make sure to stay tuned in for more!