Watch where you put the fine print

30Jan09

I saw a really dumb banner ad for T-Mobile this week. Actually, the headline, image, and call to action were fine. The problem was the text directly below the call to action button. I forget the exact phrasing, but it said something like “2 year agreement required — other terms may apply”. That sounds like an awfully big commitment for just clicking on a banner ad, don’t you think?

In short, T-Mobile took the fine print that belonged at the bottom of the ad, and placed it right below the call to action button. This simple mistake causes the viewer to associate that fine print with the desired action, instead of just mentally filing it away as another aspect of the offer. If they split tested the version I saw against another one that had the fine print far away from the button, I bet the second version would convert at a much higher rate.

To generalize this a bit, you should avoid placing onerous terms next to your call to action button. These terms typically relate to a much later stage in the relationship, when the customer is ready to enter into a contract. Such language has no place next to the call to action in your ads, especially when the goal is to get customers to move on to your website or a landing page. Remember, you’re not asking them to commit anything more than their attention. No contract is required to view your website, so don’t scare them away with fine print that belongs much later in the sales process.



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