Shape the Path

Shape the Path

Last week I extended a special deal to our newsletter subscribers.  After sharing how an advisor’s website should be “warm, welcoming and familiar,” I offered a 5-point website review to anyone who wanted a fresh perspective.

As I reviewed different websites of wirehouse and independent advisors, I kept asking, “Now what?”  In other words, what did the advisor want visitors to do?  In most cases it wasn’t clear.  The site was simply a static brochure with some nice pictures and fancy words.

In their book, Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, authors Chip Heath and Dan Heath use a metaphor to describe why people behave in a certain way.  They describe a rider on top of an elephant going down a path.  The rider represents our logical thought.  When things are going well, it’s easy for the rider to direct the elephant.

The elephant depicts our emotions.  When we get angry, scared, or even overjoyed, logic goes out the window and our emotions dictate our action.

The path describes our environment.  It’s easy for the rider and the elephant to follow a predefined path.  People will naturally follow a path that you lay out for them.

This is the reason why you don’t have to search very hard to find the “Buy Now” button on Amazon. It’s also the reason why Netflix will auto-play the next show.  They want you to keep watching.

You should also make it incredibly easy for your website visitors to take the action that you want them to.

Here are some options to consider:

  • Perhaps you want them to navigate a series of pages in order. If so, you can use arrow buttons to direct them to what you want to see next.
  • Is the next step to reach out to you for more information? Use a form so they can send you a message without leaving your site. Some advisors have integrated chat functionality directly into their site.
  • Maybe you’d like them to schedule an introductory appointment. You can make that easy by using a tool like Calendly.
  • You might want to capture their contact information so you can follow up later. If so, consider offering a free resource such as a checklist or cheat sheet.

In all cases, use action verbs like “click, ”start” or “claim.”  Additionally, make sure the button or link is large and bright.  In this way, you can make the best thing to do, the easiest thing to do.

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