Have you ever seen one of those late-night infomercials with the host screaming at the screen that you should “Buy now!” that this is an “Exclusive offer for the next 30 minutes” or “the first 300 callers”? This is one way to try to motivate your customers to make a purchase. Most yoga teachers would shudder at the thought of offering their services in that manner. This is understandable, but how do we break through that kind of noise and motivate our students to engage our services?
Donald Miller in his book Building a StoryBrand writes: “Human beings do not make major life decisions unless something challenges them to do so. […] Bodies at rest tend to stay at rest, and so do customers.” When somebody visits your site, recognizes you as an expert, gets excited about your services, and gets a clear picture of what those services entail, they still need to be motivated enough to sign up. You can encourage them to do that with “calls to action”, both obvious and more subtle.
Obvious calls to action are the direct ones, when you ask your visitors to Order now, Sign up today, Schedule an appointment, etc. Be clear about what you want your site visitors to do. Donald Miller writes: “One of the biggest hinderances to business success is that we think our customers can read our minds. It’s obvious to us that we want them to place an order (why else would we be talking to them about our products?), so we assume that it’s obvious to them, too. It isn’t.” You need to make it more obvious with a large button that you put right under the description of your services, in the top right corner of your home page and throughout your website, so that it’s never too far away. Remember, the less time and effort your site visitors have to spend looking for a way to sign up for your services, the better.
More subtle calls of action are transitional calls. When your potential student is not ready to make a commitment to purchase your services, you still want to have an opportunity to keep talking to them. That is why you ask them to follow your blog, sign up for your newsletter, and so on. You are probably reading this post right now because at some point in the past you signed up for my blog. I include a simple sign-up form at the bottom of each blog post, and it has been a wonderful way to build my audience and earn the honor of holding your attention once a week. Transitional calls usually offer customers something for free. It could be notifications of new blog posts, a short PDF file on a specific topic that is relevant to your audience, a webinar, a podcast, a sample of your work or a free trial of your subscription service.
Well thought-out transitional calls usually accomplish three main goals. They:
1. Define your area of expertise
If you offer a PDF called “Five reasons you have trouble sleeping at night”, the students will assume that you know a lot about sleep issues. If you call your free webinar “Three simple movements to improve your balance as you get older” students will look up to you for answers on balance and aging, and so on. By putting forward clearly defined content, you stake out your territory, so to speak, and make it clear to everyone what your area of expertise is. Students will file that information away and will reach out to you (or recommend you to someone else) when the need arises.
2. Position you as a helpful guide
Once you define your area of expertise, you can present yourself as someone who knows a lot about it. It is particularly useful if you include insider’s tips, interesting solutions, any information that is not common knowledge – this will show your readers that you have practical experience dealing with their issues.
3. Encourage reciprocity
Sometimes folks worry that if they give away too much, nobody would want to pay for their services. I never found that to be true for myself. It feels good to give freely, and on many occasions my readers have expressed their gratitude for that. Whether they choose to share my writings with others, eventually purchase my services or simply use my stories for inspiration in their teaching, I believe that we are creating something valuable together. Don’t be afraid to give away some stuff for free and use it as an “on-ramp” to bring your potential new students into your world – hopefully, they will stick around for a while!
Another aspect of motivating your potential future students is to demonstrate to them what’s at stake by painting a strong visual image of how they will fare if they engage or not engage your services. How will their lives be transformed by working with you? Let’s talk about it next time!
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This blog is part of a series:
1. Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller