Uncovering You

How come folks do business with you? Because youíre a family owned and operated company? Because youíve been slogging along for 126 years? Because you have sterling customer service? Great prices and cool sales assistants? You may have all these things going for you, but itís probably not why your customers come to you. And itís not the stuff thatís really going to persuade potential customers to do business with you.

Thereís something special about your business, and it isnít even completely defined by your Unique Value Proposition. You know whatís special about you Ė trust me. Itís just that you donít know you know it, or you donít think itís important enough. So it isnít something you communicate to your potential customers.

Thatís where the process of Uncovery rushes in to save the day.

No doubt you recall MAP, our methodology that guides you through developing the persuasive architecture of your Web site? Uncovery is the first phase in the process:

ďSkillful uncovery is the first necessary step toward designing and developing effective persuasive architecture. Neglecting this phase would be the architectural equivalent of constructing a building but omitting the footers!  Uncovery is responsible for mapping objectives, developing strategy, understanding the customer's buying process, understanding and refining the sales process, researching keywords and key phrases and defining the key business metrics you will use.  If you don't get the uncovery part right, you won't be able to define or measure success.Ē

Okay, so itís appears to be all the stuff that gets the ball rolling. But what does it mean? 

What is an Uncovery?

The truth is, most folks donít really know why people do business with them. They suffer from an ďinside the bottleĒ mentality that keeps them from seeing whatís truly going on around them. There are often crucial pieces of information that are hidden to them, and thus hidden to their potential customers. The purpose of uncovery is to root out that information and share it with everyone.

One of the best models to understand what the uncovery process accomplishes is the Johari Window, a communications model invented by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in the 60s. It describes the process of human interaction. If you can apply this as a model for interaction design, it is even more pertinent for the Web.

Letís talk about the Johari Window. ďSelf,Ē thatís me, and Iím a whiz-bang tax lawyer. ďOthers,Ē thatís you, my customers and potential customer base.

The OPEN quadrant represents all the information we both know about my business. Itís the stuff I acknowledge about myself and put into brochures, or magazines, or newspapers, or on television so that you know it too. You and I share this information. Itís OPEN.

Then thereís information you know about me that I donít ever get to learn. You might have heard someone complain Ďcause I wouldnít let him itemize a deduction the way he wanted. Your neighbor may have had several experiences sheís happy to share with you. You know this stuff, but I donít. I am BLIND to it.

The information that you and I both donít know is UNKNOWN. It might not always stay UNKNOWN as we continue along the path of doing business together, so it basically represents future possibility.

What You're Not Saying is What Matters

The critical piece I need to grasp for my Web efforts to be most successful is the HIDDEN area, the part that I actually know about myself and youíre really desperate to know.

Think about this. When was the last time you made a considered purchase? It probably took a lot of time Ė you probably spent a lot of time researching and shopping around. And eventually, still with unanswered questions, you came to the Web hoping youíd find reviews and opinions that provided the answers you needed to discover.

This is the main reason why many visitors come to the Web to do business with you, and this is the area that you want to open up as much as possible. By being the resource that finally answers the questions your visitors canít get answered anywhere else, this is where you can really maximize the ROI of your Web site.

After all, the more you are able to help your visitors meet their goals, the more you will help you meet yours.

Stay tuned to this same Grok channel. Next time weíll peek into what happens in the uncovery process!


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Would You Like to Convert More of Your Traffic?

From November 13 to November 15 we'll be doing our 3 day Academy, the ďWizards of WebĒ. Hope we see you there! Have you checked out the other places to meet us on our latest event schedule?

If you can't make either event, make sure to get your copy of Persuasive Online Copywriting?


Actively Stretch Your Brain

Okay, itís the dog days of summer and just the thought of doing anything more taxing than lifting a pencil makes perspiration pop out all over and trickle everywhere (lucky readers in cooler climes). I canít get terribly worked up for a lot of activity. So how about a little brain exercise?

Letís sharpen our active voice copy skills. Remember back when we discussed the value of Thinking Active Ė using the active voice in preference to the passive voice when you want your copy to be more persuasive? Iíd recommend you go back and read the article, but hereís the skinny:

Active and passive are verb voices. Active voice emphasizes the doer, the agent of the activity:

Sylvester ate Tweety.

The passive voice shifts the focus of a sentence away from the doer. The emphasis in the passive voice is always on what is happening, not who is doing it. Sometimes the passive sentence mentions the agent, sometimes not, but there is always an implicit or explicit ďby whomĒ:

Tweety was eaten. (by whom is implied)

Tweety was eaten by Sylvester. (by whom is Sylvester)

Passive constructions arenít always immediately obvious:

Built Ram Tough. (by whom?)

Designed to be the best umbrella youíll every buy. (by whom?)

You should be taken to the hospital. (by whom)

Passive voice has its uses, but in copy that is meant to persuade, motivate, sound accountable and credible Ö well, nothing beats the active construction.

So here are six sentences. Identify if the sentence is written in the active or passive voice. Then rewrite it in the opposite voice.

1. This credit card receipt should be sent to someone other than the person named on the card.

2. The technician should change the air purifierís filter after approximately 50 hours of use.

3. The first available specialist will contact you via email or by telephone within one business day to quickly provide a solution to your request.

4. Your billing address has been corrected by our Records Administration staff.

5. I apologize for the frustrations you recently experienced with WorldWide Online Member Services.

6. A hydraulic system that is both tough and intelligent, designed to respond to the slightest operator command.


Like a cold glass of lemonade before you start? (chortle)

Click here and then scroll down for the answers...


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