The “Credit Card Moment of Truth” Could Be Killing Your Sales

by | Feb 15, 2018 | General Marketing Tips

Credit Card BillAs soon as I see the envelope in the mailbox, a feeling of dread falls over me.

Ugh, it’s the credit card bill – a reminder of a month’s worth of dining out, gas purchases and “little” splurges all summarized in one envelope.

I open it up with trepidation and look for the balance. Yeaks! It’s A LOT more than I expected. What happened? That’s a lot of money to pay! Is there anything here that I can return?

Have you ever felt a similar unpleasant surprised when you look at your credit card balance? That moment when your heart jumps into chest and you think “Holy crap!”

We’ve all been there!

I call it the “Credit Card Moment of Truth”.

What’s the first thing you do? If you are anything like me, you first check that all the charges are valid. If there’s something you don’t recognize, you may speak to your spouse about it. Then, as a team you try to figure out what you can return to reduce the balance.

Imagine, your customers having a similar reaction when they open their credit card statements. They open their statement and shocked by how much they spent they look for ways to reduce their balance.

The “Credit Card Moment of Truth”

What happens when one of your sales shows up on your customer’s statement? You did a lot of hard work creating a sales page, perhaps spent months creating an awesome video sales letter – painstaking thought went into every word on your order form. You made sure the whole system worked perfectly. Your emotional direct response copy worked! You launched and you generated sales. Yeah!

But did you put that much care into the communication every new member receives during next 30-45 days? On the day their credit card statement arrives, will new members still be as excited about your video sales letter as the day on which they made their purchase? Probably not.

Congratulations, you made a sale. You are a marketing genius. But, then, just a few weeks later your customer can’t remember placing an order with you. Or, they don’t remember why they made their purchase? Even if they do remember pressing the ‘Order Now” button, they can’t come up with a good enough reason why your product shouldn’t be canceled and refunded immediately.

Lost sale. Refund. Canceled member.

When it comes to credit card transactions today, the sale isn’t final at the time of the transaction. You’ve got to maintain your new member’s excitement and optimism for another 30-60 days until the transaction has been paid for! And when it comes to monthly subscriptions, you’ve got to keep your members engaged each month or you’ll be on the chopping block. You will be canceled in an effort to reduce the credit card bill.

The good news is, you don’t need to surrender. You can win! If you’ve got the skills to make the sale, you also know what it takes to create engaging gauntlet content to keep new members exited and onboard!

We face a similar challenge when selling memberships with free trial memberships. Keeping the customer engaged for the initial 7-30 day free trial period is only the first step, but conversions to paid is where the challenge lies.

I’ve worked with five clients over the last three months designing “new member stick sequences” (gauntlet series) that are designed to get free trial members to convert into paid members. The most important piece of this puzzle is to think of your new members as “prospective members.”

Use the free trial as a chance to build a relationship, convince your new member that your membership offer is the ‘best’ option and drip-feed them the value and some of the benefits they will get when they become a paid member. In other words, the same amount of care and thought that goes into your sales letters, promotional copy and order forms must be applied to the gauntlet series your new members receive after joining.

How many people review your sales campaign before it goes out the door?

I’m guessing a lot of scrutiny goes into those messages – the copy gets tweaked several times and you probably pay a hefty fee to a copywriter to review your copy. How does this compare with your efforts to produce compelling and engaging content for your gauntlet series?

How many people have reviewed the content of the welcome email your new members receive? This single email often has a higher open rate than any other email you’ll ever send members.

So, without a doubt, you want to make sure it’s the best email they see.

What about your monthly fulfillment? Do you give it as much care and attention as what you invest in your sales material?

After improving your welcome email, the next question is:

“What do I say?”

The following three elements in a welcome email sequence will not only help convert more free trial members into paid members, but they could help you to avoid the “Credit Card Moment of Truth”:

Dream – Most marketers sell a product based on a promise or a dream. Use this dream or promise as recurrent theme in your gauntlet sequence. Continually remind your new members why they signed up and what life could be like when they use what you promised to deliver.

Belief – When confronted with your product, it become overwhelming. Customers already have too much to do and use. Why do they want more from you? Help them recognize and believe that it only requires baby steps to get tremendous value from what you deliver.

Goal – Too often we are trying to get new members to believe they can change their lives in some big, huge way. But the truth is, big changes frighten people and most prefer their changes in small doses. Show your new members that they can make small incremental changes by sticking to easy-to-achieve goals. Realistic goals will make your promise more believable.

Do your new member welcome sequences included these elements? Does your gauntlet series excite new members about solving a problem in their lives? Does it reinforce the belief that they can realistically achieve their goals? And, does it motivate and encourage them to get started by setting incremental goals?

If not, you are losing out on free trial conversions and most importantly, you may be ending up on the wrong side of the Credit Card Moment of Truth, all too often!