Web Marketing Today

Dispelling Buyer Anxiety and Replacing It with Buyer Confidence

Too often, visitors who are ready to buy from you will hesitate — and ultimately not follow through. Why? It’s known as “buyer anxiety,” and it’s not always for reasons a buy can articulate. It’s just a concern.

Buyers often have less-than-conscious concerns during their entire trip to your website. They often wonder where each link will take them. From the initial Web search to the final checkout click, visitors wonder if the link in question will take them closer to their goal or to somewhere irrelevant or aggravating.

Visitors also have concerns over whether or not they should give you their e-mail address for that free download. And over whether they’ll really like your product or service. Or if it’s safe to shop with you in the first place.

You goal is to consistently dispel these fears and manage your visitors confidence levels through the use of:

  • Your Site’s Overall Look and Feel and your About Us page
  • Intuitively-Labeled Hyperlinks and Navigation
  • Points of Action Assurances
  • What’s Next Information and Timelines
  • Repeated Assurances at Checkout

So let’s take these one at a time:

Look and Feel and About Us Page

People want to feel good about the people and organizations with whom they do business. A decent Web design, professional logos, and an overall feel of professionalism does a lot to minimize buyer anxiety in this area.

Back in, say, 2005 you could get away with a fairly amateurish website from a design standpoint, so long as your messaging and offer were strong. That’s no longer the case today.

People expect sound design as a matter of course. If your site doesn’t measure up, you instantly raise buyer anxiety and suspicion, and persuasion becomes an uphill battle from there.

The same goes with About Us pages. A fair few visitors will want to make sure there are real human beings behind the storefront. In many cases, they’ll want to ensure you have a physical office or store to match your virtual one.

Going to the About Us page and seeing a picture of your office building and your staff dispels visitor anxiety, replacing it with buyer confidence.

Intuitively-Labeled Hyperlinks

Ask yourself the question: would the average person be able to guess where this link would take them? And if visitors wanted to get to the content on the other side of the link, would they be able to pick it out during a quick scan of the page?

Better yet, user test on some friends or maybe even pay to have someone user test your navigation and links through a service like UserTesting.com. I guarantee you’ll get your money’s worth from the project.

I also guarantee you’ll find at least a few links that are misleadingly labeled. And it only takes a few hyperlinked surprises for visitors to lose faith in you.

Points of Action Assurance

Once you have visitors thinking about taking the action you want them to take, make sure to shoot down any lingering resistance with appropriate assurances placed right next to the point of action — right next to the sign-up form, add-to-cart button, etc.

For instance, around an add to cart button, you should place as much helpful information as possible:

  • Your money-back guarantees
  • Whether the item is in stock
  • How quickly products ship out
  • Is express shipping available?
  • Is gift-wrapping available and what will it look like? And so on.

Don’t make visitors guess whether or not you can get the thing there on time, or wonder what will happen if they doesn’t end up liking the thing when it arrives at the door.

What’s Next Information and Timelines

Whenever you ask a visitor to fill out a form or initiate contact, always let them know what will happen after they hit send. Will someone call them? Who? Will they get an e-mail? How fast?

And if you’re selling a service, make sure to walk the prospective customer through the deployment. Let them know what to expect. TellĀ  ’em what’s next so they can move forward with complete confidence.

Repeat Your Assurances at Checkout

Just because you already mentioned your money-back guarantee and encrypted shopping cart, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t repeat that information throughout the checkout process. The shopping cart is a chance for hesitation and resistance and doubt to creep in. Do everything you can to re-assure the customer that this is a safe, smart purchase.


Right now you have visitors on your site, hoping to buy, who are leaving because, well, maybe they wanted to do some last minute double-checking. Or it just didn’t feel right. Or they decided to go with another source they felt more confident in.

Basically, that sale was yours and you lost it because your website failed to dispel buyer anxiety and replace it with buyer confidence. Now that you know how to do that, go ahead and put those techniques into action.

Jeff Sexton
Jeff Sexton
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