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Michael E. Angier

By Michael Angier

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A Confused Mind Takes No Action

I believe the title of this article is taken from one of the U.S. military's basic training beliefs. When a soldier, sailor, marine or airman is confused, they're slow to take action, and the mission and the safety of the team is in jeopardy.

It's the same in life and in business. When we're unclear and confused, we tend not to take action—and sometimes even take the wrong action.

A friend of mine reminded me of this concept the other day when we were talking about our signup process for our eZine. I realized the page for first-time visitors had too much—and in some cases, unrelated—information. The path was unclear as to what to do in order to become a subscriber.

I spent 15 minutes cutting text, removing graphics and streamlining the page. Since I made the changes, the Conversion Rate (visitor to signup) went from 42% to 53% in the first week. That's a 26% improvement in subscriptions. For every 100 new visitors who come to our web site, an additional 11 people will become subscribers than before the changes.

That's a tangible and profitable demonstration of this concept in action.

It's easy for us—because we're so close to what we're doing—to assume that everything is clear and straightforward. It rarely is. It's imperative we keep things simple and remove every chance for confusion that we can.

Action Point
Whether it be with your kids, your boss, your staff or your customers, make sure they know EXACTLY what you want them to do. Make your instructions and your requests perfectly clear. Don’t confuse them with too many options, an unclear path or extraneous information. In doing so, you'll have a far better chance of obtaining your intended results.

Related Article: 'Clarity Leads to Power'
 

 

 

 

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Last Updated 09/01/2004