Are your potential customers stuck in the 'messy middle' ?

Messy middle

I'm old enough to remember the days when people decided to book a holiday simply based on either a neighbour's recommendation or an ad in the Christmas edition of the Radio Times. Nowadays decision-making is much more complicated. You may not realise it but you're probably losing income and bookings because some of your potential guests and visitors are stuck in the 'messy middle'.

This is the name Google gives to the gap between when someone is first interested in what you offer and their decision to buy, book and visit. It's a messy, murky area, full of micro-decisions. Some of your potential customers are likely to be still stuck there and you could be missing out on bookings and visitors.

What can you do to get people out of the 'messy middle' and ready to buy, book, visit? 

When people are stuck in the messy middle, they're sort of interested in what you offer, but not quite sure. The internet is used as a tool to compare not just prices but everything. People usually seek to do two things: to explore options and then to evaluate them. They need the right kind of information and to understand the differences between things they're considering buying or doing. 

Most visitors will literally go round in circles, gathering information, comparing options until (hopefully) making a decision. Google have found that certain things help them make a decision. These include: 

Short descriptions that make it really clear what you offer. You need to stand out. Not just with a description but showing how you're different from others, and exactly what you do and how you might benefit someone. 

People really look forward to holidays and free time. Help them to understand that the quicker they book/commit to a visit with you, the more they'll have to look forward to. They need to feel that their enjoyment starts NOW, with anticipation.

Social proof: reviews and recommendations are persuasive. 

Scarcity can work - no one wants to be either left out or feel they've missed out on something, but don't overdo it. 

'Authority bias' - this is how Google describes being swayed by an expert or a trusted source. It helps people make a quicker decision. 

Free gifts help to prompt action. You don't actually have to offer a free gift - just mentioning that the views are gorgeous and included in the price, talking about local events or attractions all help to create a sense of value. 



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