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Friction: Friend or Foe?

In marketing, ‘friction’ typically refers to a point of contention or difficulty for your customer in the buying journey. This could mean anything from a broken link to a long and frustrating form – whatever’s keeping your customer from moving forward. Too much friction and you could lose the sale. 

But is all friction bad?

 

Selective stickiness & momentous experiences 

It makes sense that most of the time we’re hoping for smooth sailing. We want our customers to navigate our websites easily, buy quickly, tell their friends, and come back for more. But when you think about your favourite brands, products, and services – has the experience always been perfectly frictionless? 

Marketing without a little bit of resistance isn’t very good marketing at all. Strictly aiming for an easy-going experience means that you could be giving up precious opportunities that your customer might appreciate now and into the future. When we both embrace and create small moments of friction, we’re able to better understand our customers, provide them with additional value, and find ways that make your brand remarkable in a sea of sameness.

 

When is friction good?

So, when should you intentionally create friction without irritating or losing your customer?

 

  • Email or newsletter sign-ups: this is a small moment of frustration for your customer – but how else will they know about your upcoming sale? By taking the time to sign up, they’ll access exclusive information that is of value such as discounts, news, and releases   
  • Contact forms: by having to fill out a form, their question will likely be answered sooner and directed to the right person, ultimately creating a more positive experience even if it takes them an extra minute to get in touch  
  • Gated content: to access a piece of prized content, your customer may need to give up their email address or visit a secondary landing page. For serious customers, this is a small price to pay to gain valuable insights  
  • Messaging: there’s an opportunity for you to create a little bit of intrigue about your product/service through your messaging, inviting your customer to question your offer and seek out more information. This can be a chance for you to provide proof or backup to your claim, ultimately – building trust with your customer and hooking them in. From there, closing the deal gets easier 

 

So remember, friction isn’t something to fear – the right amount is actually good for your business. It might be what keeps your customer engaged and excited about your product or service. If you’re looking to improve your marketing strategy, let’s talk.