Don’t Let Yippy Dogs Do This To Your Customers

by Sarah on April 3, 2011


I observed the funniest thing the other day.  We were just leaving our neighbor’s house after dropping off some maple syrup and eggs.  As we pulled out of the driveway and turned onto the road . . .


A 1-ton bull was heading right towards the truck.

One of her herd was loose.  It looked like one of her teenagers had jumped the fence. And giddy with spring fever and freedom he was tearing around the yard.

Fortunately he swerved away from us just in time.  So we quickly reversed the truck and pulled back into the driveway to alert her to the runaway.

She was pretty calm until we told her he was going after cars.  That’s when she picked up speed.

We stayed parked at the bottom of the pasture to make sure she got him back in all right.  And here’s where it got entertaining (if you’re not Wendy trying to get the freedom-loving guy back in) . . .

At first, he seemed to be quite docile once she picked up a feed bucket.  He followed her around the scrub tree, past the furnace shed and stood there quietly as she struggled to open the pasture fencing.

He looked patient, even a little eager to get back in with the rest of the herd after his little bout with life on the other side of the fence.

Everything looked under control.

However – just as she was about get him back and go back to her morning activities. . .

From behind the shed came a little blur of white, bulleting towards the bull.

Coming to Wendy’s rescue was her little white and brown dog, tail pointing straight behind him, yipping all the way.

And sure enough, the formerly relaxed scene took a turn for the worse.  The docile bull was on the run again, running around the scrub tree, eyes wide and tail swinging. The cows on the other side of the fence scattered.

And Wendy was back at square one.

I couldn’t help but laugh as she lectured the dog and went back to business.

Fortunately, in the end, after his initial attack, the dog got bored and sat down for the show.  The young bull decided the dog was no threat and he really wanted back in.

Eventually she got the errant guy back to the herd.

However, this isn’t just a farming story.  As usual, this is a marketing lesson as well.

Too often, you work really hard to get your customer to your website. And like the bull, they’re standing there next to you at the fence. Your future customer is just ready to cross over that fence and buy from you.

But just as you’re ready to close the deal, along comes that yippy little dog like a bullet and scares your customer away.  All your work is for naught!

It’s one of the worst feeling to see that.  Someone 8-10 minutes  on your website and then flitting away without a purchase.

So what are those yippy dogs chasing your customer away? And how do you keep them at bay so you can close the deal?

Yippy Dog #1 Unanswered Questions

I’m a big advocate of longer vs. shorter copy.  And here’s why.  For most of your would-be customers, they are already in the mode of looking to buy.  They just want to have their questions answered, their doubts allayed, their desires whetted a little more.

Good copy does this.  As stellar health copywriter, Parris Lampropoulis told me when I interviewed him for my nutritional supplement copywriting ebook, you have to be like the most “hard-boiled” prospect when you prepare your copy.  Be skeptical, be unsure, be doubtful.  Turn all those questions, doubts and skepticism into providing good, satisfying answers.

Sure, people buy on emotions, but then they need proof to justify their decision to themselves, their spouses and their mother.

Don’t leave a question unanswered or a doubt mollified and then have them click away because of this.

Yippy Dog #2: Too Much Copy

Okay, I’m not contradicting myself.  But here’s the thing.  Lots of people come to your site ready for action.  They don’t need a lot of info, they just need a few facts to help them settle on their decision.  Perhaps they’re returning customers looking at new product.  Perhaps they read something about your product somewhere else. Maybe they just don’t want to waste a lot of time period.

They want to move fast.  For this reason, I always advise start off your product pages with bullets and a quick, appetizing summary of your product with a go-get’em headline.  Conversion master Bryan Eisenberg emphasizes this strategy repeatedly in his discussions at Grokdotcom.

Right after that, put the “Add to cart” button.

Make it easy for fast-operators to move fast.

If you have a nice long landing page, incorporate some quick summaries and bullets as sidebars along the side.  Make it easy for folks to jump off at any point if they’re ready to go.

Yippy Dog #3: Unintelligible Search Engine Optimized Copy

I just finished some work for a client who had developed great rankings with the search engines . . . But when people got to their site, they found gobbledy-gook.

He’d outsourced overseas for SEO copy, but ended up with website copy that not only wasn’t converting, it was in some cases nonsensical.

Imagine what people thought arriving there.

It doesn’t matter if you get 50,000 visitors a day!  If your website doesn’t hold them there and convince them to buy from you, you might as well be getting 1 visitor a day.

In fact, if your website makes you look bad, it’s like getting negative visitors since it creates such a negative image for your business.

So if you’re going to optimize your site for search engines, don’t just go with an SEO company or expert, make sure you get an SEO copywriter on board.  Use someone who can incorporate the technique of SEO into the fine art of creating copy that converts.

Yippy Dog #4: No Guarantee

If there is one thing I particularly admire about the direct-response natural health industry, its the use of guarantees.  I wish doctors and pharmaceutical companies would do the same.  (But then again, they’d lose too much money!)

Especially now, most people are nervous about purchases.  Especially online.  Especially from a new company they’ve never bought from before.  Especially if they haven’t bought many natural health products before. Especially if they’re going to be eating it.  Especially if their doctor raised an eyebrow when they mentioned trying something like your product to them. Especially . . .

Well, you get the idea.

Make it easier on them.  Make it clear that there is no risk.  That you understand how much careful they are and you value they’re health and satisfaction above all else.  Let them know that if they don’t like your product they can get their money back.  No questions asked.

A current client of mine was concerned that a guarantee would make him look shady.  Like a pushy salesperson.

I explained that it did just the opposite.  Certainly you need to stand behind the guarantee and make sure you have the customer service personnel to make it easy for your customers to return items.  But bottom line, it makes you look like you have absolute faith and pride in your product.

If there is one thing that makes you look good and decent as a company, it’s a good guarantee.

Yippy Dog #5: No Visible Phone Number

Most of my clients sell to the older market.  And while more and more seniors shop online, they’re still nervous about it.  And like any seasoned veteran of buying stuff, these guys usually have lots of questions, to boot.

They want to talk to someone.

Truth is, they’re not alone.  Over and over e-commerce sites serving all ages find that having a visible 800 number helps with conversion. I use this feature all the time when I purchase things online and I’m in my 40’s.

Live-chat is another option but still not always the preference of someone who doesn’t want to type and just wants to pick up the phone and talk to what really sounds like a real person.

So make your phone number – and live-chat option, if you have it – very visible.  Put it on your website header.  Integrate it into your sales copy.  Put it on all your emails.  Make sure that people can easily talk to someone if they want.

The Cure For Yippy Dogs

Unfortunately though – too many websites haven’t done enough to ward off these yippy dogs.  And they end up losing prospects.

However, if your prospect gets scared away by a yippy dog, all is not lost. You can still coax them back again with some good followup in the form of a feed bucket.

Make sure you have a free offer that is made available on every page of your website.  Make sure your web visitors only have access to that freebie – an ebook, video, audio, e-class – when they’ve given you their email address and name.

Then use autoresponders to continue to build your relationship with them.  Coax them back to the fence with the grain bucket.  Answer more questions, allay more doubts.  In fact a favorite early autoresponder email of mine is a survey that helps you gain more insights into your potential customers.  It also makes them feel like you’re listening to them.

And don’t neglect social media as a means to stay in touch until they’re ready to buy.  Make it easy for them to like your Facebook page and follow you on Twitter and then use these growing arenas to keep their interest until they buy.

Eventually, they’ll learn to ignore that yippy dog and amble back over to the fence and cross over.

Don’t Let These Yippy Dogs Scare Your Customers Away

You work so hard to get people to your website.  You work hard to get them to buy.

Don’t lose because that little white blur of a yippy dog, tail spiked out, comes charging through and scares them away at the last moment.

I’ve given you 6 great ways to make sure you don’t lose customers to yippy dogs. Put them to use and see your prospects jump over the fence and happily join your herd of happy customers, chomping on the nice spring grass.

If you have other yippy-dog antidotes to add, please do below in the comment section.  I’d love to hear from you.

Quite, honestly, despite my best efforts I’m tired of chasing down runaways. Help me out and we’ll all rest easier!


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy C. Teeple April 12, 2011 at 11:20 AM

Hi Sarah!

I loved the story and the lessons learned. My favorite yippy dog examples were numbers 3 and 4.

Yippy Dog #3: Unintelligible Search Engine Optimized Copy
This is something I try to explain to clients. You can be number one on Google and get all of the traffic in the world, but it does you no good if your potential customers are hitting the back button.

Yippy Dog #4: No Guarantee
A lot of small businesses are afraid of having a guarantee because they are afraid that people are going to try to take advantage of them. I work with a business coach and she pointed out that having a guarantee shows you stand behind your service/product … and very few people will invoke a guarantee. Also, she pointed out that you get to outline the rules of the guarantee, so you don’t have to write something that will put too much pressure on yourself and invite those looking for something for free.

Great post!

admin April 12, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Amy, so glad you liked it. Yes, the yippy dogs are everywhere!

I agree that guarantees are far less often abused than clients think they will be. I had one client who continues to have a 365 day guarantee on his products. On the other end of the spectrum, I have one client who specifies that they only honoer the guarantee once per product. So yes, there are many ways to configure it – and change it – accordingly.

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