How to Get Your Customers to Commit: But Is the Leap Too Great?

micro-commitments digital marketing leaps of faith

My wife and I had lunch with a friend of mine yesterday who is a wedding photographer. He showed us some of his photos and they’re stunningly beautiful. He does photo shoots all over the world in “wow” places like Hawaii, Bora Bora, and other gorgeous destinations.

He’s frustrated because SEO isn’t working well for him, and he wondered if he should continue to spend $500 or $1000 per month on SEO for his website. He also wants to scrap his website and start over with a new one.

I cautioned him that photography websites are notoriously difficult to SEO because they’re typically very heavy on images and light on text. It’s impossible to get ranked for things like “wedding photographers in ______” (fill in the location) for a variety of reasons. He had been to one of my talks a couple weeks ago where I told the audience that SEO isn’t necessarily the best way to get found online either.

Making a Huge Leap

But stepping back, I asked him what he wants people to do assuming they find him online? He said he wants them to sign up to do a wedding photo shoot with him, and his fees are in the $10,000 range.


There’s absolutely no question that his work is gorgeous and worth every penny. But his problem is not an SEO problem, it’s a marketing problem. I wrote about that last week, and SEO isn’t going to solve this. He has a very specific type of clientele: relatively wealthy millennials. They are not going to whip out their wallets and write him a check for $10K just because they found his website. This isn’t like buying a new set of earbuds for their iPhone. This is a big deal, and they aren’t going to make that leap easily.

No way.

I have a non-profit client that helps foster kids and provides services for foster parents. We’ve been building a new website for them, and we were talking about what the main call-to-action should be. She wants people who are thinking about being foster parents to sign up to do a one-hour in-house orientation.

Again, to me, this feels like a HUGE leap from here to there. Signing up for a one-hour in-house consultation seems like they’re already committed. If I as a potential foster parent am just kicking tires, I don’t want to just jump straight into the deep end with this. I’d want to get a LOT more information about what it entails, the requirements, the costs, the process, and so on.

Micro-Commitments Are Key

In both cases, my photographer friend and my client have to build strong relationships with their potential clients first. Their website visitors will not go from zero to 100 mph in one single call-to-action.

Instead, they both have to have an easy process to get people up to speed slowly over time. They have to lead their visitors down the path to the end goal with little baby steps or what I call micro-commitments.

  1. Make sure lots of highly visible trust-building factors are on the website and on the search engines. Reputation is the first step to trust.
  2. Give visitors something small that they can do to learn more about them. My photographer friend has a wonderful video that I’m sure he paid some bucks for that interviews him and shows who he is as an artist. But it’s buried on the website. That needs to be front and center so people can watch it. This is the next step and an easy thing for visitors to do.
  3. Take visitors to the next step with a small leap: give up their email address for something additional (an information packet, another more useful, private video or something that they’ll want). It could also be to sign up for a free 15-minute phone conversation.
  4. Send them a series of emails over time with more information, more videos, and more data to help build that trust.
  5. Now is the time to ask to close the deal and get them to the final goal.

Are You Asking Your Clients to Jump Too Far?

Look at your own end-goal. Is it too big for someone to make that leap from where they are (just thinking about it) to inserting money or fully committing? If so, define some much smaller steps that they can take that are easier to do.

This is what digital marketing is about. Define your end goal, and all the little steps in between. Then you nurture those leads over time with micro-commitments. Use  various tools to take them by the hand, and not just rely on one tool like SEO.

It’s a fact that your customers cannot eat a whole elephant in one bite. They have to take small bites to get to the end, and most probably won’t get there.

If you’d like to learn how to set up a digital marketing system for your business, I’m teaching a workshop in July. But if you’re even thinking about it, please email me and we’ll get on the phone to see if it makes sense for you and your business first.

About Thomas Petty

Thomas Petty has been a Master SEO trainer with the Bay Area Search Engine Academy since 2008. He teaches SEO classes in the San Francisco, California Bay Area, and is President of an SEO consulting services company. He is an HFI Certified Usability Analyst™ from Human Factors International.


  1. Great article!

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