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User anxiety: what AREN’T you telling your visitors?

by Matthew Eastaugh
23rd Mar 2017 - 4 min read

With conversion rate optimisation (CRO), the temptation is to focus solely on improving what’s already on the page: changing calls to action, buttons or supporting text, restructuring the information on the page, swapping the main image for a different one.

What about the crucial details you might not be telling people visiting your site? Is the absence of certain information causing your visitors anxiety about making a purchase or using your services?

User anxiety is when a visitor to your site has the perception that buying from you (or making use of your services) comes with a high degree of risk. If they feel this level of risk is too high, it’s likely that they’ll go elsewhere – somewhere that calms their fears, and makes them feel like there’s less risk.

There are many reasons why visitors feel anxious. Below are a few examples, plus with some easy steps you can take to prevent user anxiety:

Security risks

Photo of laptop with padlock

This is when users are concerned about the security of their details on your website, and the risk that their personal information or payment details could fall into the hands of criminals. People are unlikely to make a purchase if they think they might end up a victim of card fraud.

So, does your site assure visitors that their details are safe? The following steps can help:

  • displaying trusted security seals next to the appropriate forms such as McAfee Secure or Verisign
  • using HTTPS rather than HTTP
  • allowing users to pay via well-known, trusted third-parties such as PayPal or Amazon

Spam risks

Screenshot of a spam or junk email inbox

Visitors may be concerned that their personal data will be misused in other ways such as being given to third parties without their explicit permission, or that they’ll be inundated with spam. They may only be interested in the one item they’re purchasing from you and don’t want unwanted contact from numerous companies.

You might be thinking, at this point, “Well that’s okay, we don’t give their details to any third parties, we’re fine.” But do you tell them this? If you don’t, the visitor may still think they’re at risk.

You should also make sure that if you’re asking for personal data, you tell the user why you’re asking for it. And if you don’t really need it, at least make it optional so they have the choice of what to provide.

Non-delivery risk

Close up of brass letterbox on wooden door

If your website user buys something from you, will they get what they’ve asked for? If your potential customer feels there’s a chance they’ll get receive a non-genuine product, something they didn’t want, or even nothing all, this anxiety could result in them not buying on your site.

This is where you can make use of your already satisfied customers. If you’ve got positive reviews (from your customers or the media), then shout about them. If you’ve won awards for your service or products, make sure your visitors know. If you’re an authorised dealer of a product or have memberships of relevant professional organisations, put the relevant logos on your site.

Assuring the site visitor that you have many satisfied customers makes them more likely to think that they’ll be another one.

Next time you’re looking at your site, and trying to work out what to change to increase your conversion rate, don’t just focus on what’s already there. Anxiety isn’t something that’s on your pages – it’s something in the minds of your site visitors.

So, put yourselves in their shoes, think what you’d be looking for to put your mind at ease, and make sure it’s there.

Conversion rate optimisation is just one of the services we provide at Further. Find out how far we can take your business by contacting our knowledgeable client team.

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