Why are prospective clients and customers coming to your website but not contacting you, or buying from you? It could be this all-too-common problem.
If you have lived even a few years and interacted in any relationships, you undoubtedly experienced being misunderstood.
Husband: “Honey, I just read this great article about home decorating… and thought you would really enjoy some of their ideas.”
Wife: “What do you mean by that?? Are you saying that our home, which is my domain, needs redecorating? That the job I did with our decorating stinks and needs an overhaul? That I need outside help because I do a terrible job?”
A Common Disconnect In Business
Being misunderstood by your prospective customers and clients is also a common occurrence. Often, however, the problem is not with your website visitor drawing crazy conclusions from a clear message.
Often, we think we are clear… but we are not.
The Curse of Knowledge
Dan and Chip Heath, in their excellent book “Made To Stick,” call this dynamic “The Curse of Knowledge.” What that means is the transmitter of a message clearly sees in their mind the fullness of the message (and all the supporting info that gives the message its context)… but the recipient only receives a skeletal outline… and can’t fully connect the dots.
To the sender of the message, they are cursed with a complete picture and ASSUME the recipient sees and understands what they understand. They don’t.
To prove the theory of The Curse of Knowledge, the Heath brothers tell of experiments performed by Elizabeth Newton.
What You Think Is Obvious… Often Isn’t
One group of people were asked to communicate a song by tapping the melody on a table. The other group was supposed to guess what song they were hearing.
The tappers were told, for example, tap out “happy birthday.” The tappers thought to themselves, “this will be easy! Everyone knows this song.”
Although the tappers thought 50% of their songs would be recognized, it turns out the real number was 2.5%
Why the huge difference? Because as the tapper was tapping out a song like happy birthday, they heard it in their mind. It was as clear as day. Meanwhile, the listener only heard a disconnected series of tap-tap-tap-tap.
Hence, the sender (tapper) was cursed with complete knowledge of the song and assumed the listeners could hear what the tappers heard in their heads. They couldn’t.
How Your Business Communicates To Prospects
Every business has something they are offering to their marketplace (preferably a specific target person in that marketplace). They see how all the dots connect. To them, it makes total sense why what they offer is the greatest thing ever and will help them.
But, often the visitor hearing the presentation, or reading the website perceives only tap-tap-tap-tap.
You must be crystal clear what you are offering your prospective client or customer… and why it benefits them… or they WILL misunderstand… and not respond.
How To Fix This Problem
What can you do about this? How can you overcome the risk of being misunderstood about the value of what you are offering?
Perhaps the most important thing you can do is have outsiders review your “offer” or your message on your website, or your presentation of your marketing materials. Have them bring outside eyes and ears to your message.
Better still, get feedback from prospective buyers, or those who fit the profile of the prospect you are seeking (even if they are not looking).
What you may think is compellingly crystal clear… is a muddy mess.
One word of caution: be prepared, despite your best efforts to still be misunderstood at times.
Watch (below) the hilarious misunderstanding from one of my favorite movies of all-time.
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