The Prime Directive: Make It Easy

Do What Now? (Photo by AdmlCrunch)

If there is one thing companies should never forget, it is this: make it easy.

Make that call-to-action, the white paper download, the listserv subscription, join, or “donate” button an efficient one-click that respects your customer’s time.

What’s the Most Information You Need

Is it just an email address so you can reach the customer? And is any additional information about serving the customer or about your own market segmentation needs?

If so, keep it short. Because customers are sensitive to that, and apt to walk away. Your marketing issue isn’t their concern. And whatever you do, be simple, and really straightforward about what it is your customer is assenting to. (Which means you should go for clarity such as, “Click here to get more info” instead of “If you don’t click here, then we’ll assume you want more information from us,” any day.)

Because nothing will drive your customer away faster than a multi-step process that takes time, or worse, makes him feel foolish because the instructions which seemed clear actually weren’t.

“Wait, what now? But I don’t wanna to get more emails . . . so do I click the box or not? Grr!” See what I mean?

Make it One-Click Easy

I sound like a broken record here with the “make it one-click easy” bit, don’t I? There’s a reason. You see, the last month has seen me and P, a family member dive into the world of iPads. And there is nothing like new technology to humble even the most digitally-savvy consumer. P’s was a birthday gift. Mine was from redeeming credit card rewards that I had no idea I’d been racking up. (My budget is very happy about that!)

Neither of us, P and I, are out of it. P is an extremely successful partner at her firm. I live and work at the intersection of information and technology. And yet we both had our challenges with the new shiny toy. Using the iPad was easy enough––there’s a reason Apple has a well-deserved reputation for great design, and near idiot-proof instructions. Then we each delved into the world of apps, so we could better use the gadget for what we wanted to do––P to Skype her grandchild, me to check out books from the library. And that is when we both found ourselves hitting the wall.

P kept getting locked out of the app store (for an email address glitch that has yet to be resolved, so she simply started over). I meanwhile, took a full 30 minutes to be able to check out a book from the library. I’d been warned by my friendly local librarian that there was a bit of a learning curve, several steps, and perhaps I should set aside the time for it. Boy, was she spot on!

I was determined to make it work. So I did. But that is not an expectation I should ever have from a customer. And it is not one we should ever have from the people we seek to reach or serve.

The Lesson to Learn is: Make it Easy

With that in mind, I am now off to go and check all my clients’ websites, and make sure every last widget, donate button, sign-up form, share option, opt-in, and unsubscribe button work simply and efficiently. Because the things I’ve learned about being the recipient or the customer facing new technology are these:

  1. If it isn’t easy, I will simply walk away. I don’t need it as much as they need me to use their product.
  2. When it’s not easy, or I can’t figure it out quickly, I feel stupid––not a good start!
  3. If it’s brand new technology, take for granted that there might always be something missing on your FAQ.
  4. If it’s brand new technology, even early adopters will stumble. And that’ll lead to my first point….

Make it easy.