Sell More Stuff Online By Eliminating Click Fear

If you want to sell stuff online, there’s one thing you should always be looking to eliminate – Click Fear. No, it’s not a modern day phobia.

It’s when people are not sure what will happen after they click.

So in most cases they won’t.

If you want to get people to click on your buttons, make them feel in control. It’s the uncertainty that kills the clicks.

People like to feel in control

People feel much more comfortable when they know exactly what’s going to happen. That’s why most people go to places they’re used to and use things they’re familiar with. People fear the unknown.

– Go over there and say ‘hi’
– And then what do I say?

This hypothetical conversation between teenage boys is about click fear. If you come across a new situation for the first time, you feel anxious. The way to overcome it is to be prepared – to know ‘what’ will happen and what you can do.

One of the characters in the book The Game told me the #1 benefit that nerds get from learning pickup artistry is confidence of knowing what to do.

Knowing ‘what’ makes us feel at ease.

People want to know why they are being asked to do something

If somebody comes up to you and says “roll your eyes 3 times and then look down”. Are you going to do it? Most people would probably say “why?”. People always want to know the ‘why’.

So the best way to combat click fear is through clarity: answer the ‘what’ and ‘why’.

Examples of click fear

Electricity Wizard:

They want my name, phone and zip code. Call to action says ‘get a fast quote’. Question: Do you know what will happen after you click? Is it clear? No (= click fear).

Many bad things might possibly happen. Anyone who has gotten insurance quotes online knows that all hell might break loose and you might get 20 sales guys calling you the next second. Nobody wants that.

If you ARE going to call, it’s also better to say it – it sets the expectation. Now when your salespeople call, they (probably) won’t be hung up on (as fast). When people get someone selling to them over the phone, and they’re not expecting the call, they’re not going to want to listen to it.

What they got right is answering the ‘why’ part.


This is a landing page for a debt relief service. They ask for sensitive data, and the call to action is extremely vague ‘get solutions now’.

They do include the text ‘find out how much you can save’ and ‘no commitment’, but I still don’t get a picture what exactly will happen after I fill the form. Will you show me the answer instantly? Will somebody call me? Email me?


“Build a sample app in 5 minutes” is quite descriptive, but I still don’t have a clear picture of what’s going to happen when I click. Since no data is asked, I bet they get a lot of click’n’backs (click, then hit back).

Suggested improvement: add a line below the call to action to explain what awaits on the other side.

Good examples


Click fear is removed by not asking for a click. Instead, they merely ask you to write a poll question.

Once you do it, the form gets extended (‘what’s up’ is what I wrote there):

Now the call to action says ‘Create this poll’. I’m very clear what will happen – I’m creating the very poll I just wrote a question for!


They use clarity (no doubt what’s going to happen) and low commitment. This is of course a much simpler case compared to asking for a signup.


Clear description of what happens after clicking the button. Clear call to action.

Britannica Online:

Very clear copy and call to action. Additional fears mitigated with the “risk free” thing.


Here’s the thing, if you want to sell stuff online, you have to look trustworthy.

Do a quick usability test for each call to action. Ask a stranger (preferably your ideal customer) what they think happens after they click? Do they have any fears, doubts?

Make it clear what happens after the click, why they should do it and address any fears.

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Join the conversation Add your comment

  1. Great advice and I shall now go and put it to good use. Thank you!

  2. Probably the best business advice I have ever had – a big thank you – lots to do now, but I can see where we have been going wrong!

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Sell More Stuff Online By Eliminating Click Fear