January 10, 2009

Not Increasing Customer Trust or Site Transactions

Recently, I received an offer in the mail from Thawte about Extended Validation SSL Certificates.

In part, the marketing materials said:

Increase customer trust and you increase site transactions.         
Learn how the green address bar can help.           

Find out in our FREE EV Info Pack.           
Visit www.thawte.com/dm/9052/                 

The URL was repeated two other times on the page.

So I went to my computer and typed in www.thawte.com/dm/9052/ and press Enter.  I got redirected to a generic error page:

Puzzled (and since this lovely error page didn't bother to tell me what I had actually typed), I tried again.  Again, I got the error page.

Fortunately, I decided to remove the trailing slash and try again.  This time, I got the page that the marketing material intended:

A few lessons here:
  • It's quite simple to set your site up such that the trailing slash is optional.  Do it.
  • Always make sure your marketing materials match the experience you want for your customers.  Test them!  If you don't, you may end up wondering why your campaign was such a failure.
  • If you must send your potential customers to a generic error landing page, show them what they typed.  Often, they will spot their error right away and correct it.  If not, and they decide to contact your support folks, the relevant information will be there.