Friction. noun. fric·tion (ˈfrik-shən)

1. the act of rubbing one thing against another
2. disagreement or tension

As marketers, I think we can all agree that friction is not on our list of things to create — Especially when it comes to engaging with our customers. Beyond customer service, friction may be hiding elsewhere in a place you never thought about: your messages.

Recently, I’ve taken a deep dive into content marketing and in particular this type of scenario. For example, take a look at the call-to-action (CTA) on any given email. Does it intrigue you or make you want to click the other way – as in delete?

CTA’s and subject lines are two of the most important aspects within an email, but most often given the least amount of thought.

The content marketing industry is expressing more and more that CTA’s be friction-free such as “Get the Details” or “Learn More.” I first read about the term friction-free in a blog post by Joanna Wiebe of Copy Hackers – a blog I suggest subscribing to. A second resource I’m finishing now is titled Nicely Said: Writing for the Web with Style and Purpose (Voices That Matter) 1st Edition.” Both were discovered through the MarketingProfs Marketing Writing Bootcamp course I completed and praise.

Once you really think about it, using a friction-free CTA makes perfect sense.

A CTA such as “Make an Appointment” or “Shop Now” can be interpreted to cause anxiety. Why anxiety or friction? Cognitively, the subscriber may feel that if they click on the button, they’re tied into giving up their time or in the case of “Shop Now” — on their way to spending money before they know why.

Let’s meditate on this a different way: the goal of using the CTA “Make an Appointment” is for the sender to create a positive one-on-one experience. Instead try using “Personalize Your Visit” or “Explore with an Expert.”  By utilizing friction-free words such as personalize or explore, you’ve set the stage for something positive to happen without the impression of expending valuable time.

What do you think?

Lexington Podiatry, featured in our image above, consistently transmits a creative and fun voice in their marketing material. Would “Fix My Feet” be a good alternative to “Make an Appointment?”

Yes   or   No

As email marketers we can change the mindset of our subscribers by using friction-free words that can be creative, fun, thoughtful and stress-free but most importantly, encourage action.

Thank you Lexington Podiatry for allowing us to feature a few of your friction-free CTA’s found in your monthly “something’s afoot” newsletter.