Have you ever had the experience of seeing a movie trailer and thinking “That looks great”, but when you actually go to see it you find it doesn’t amount to much? Flat characters, boring story, terrible acting, and you come away feeling bitterly disappointed. Or maybe you’ve sometime heard great things about a restaurant, perhaps by reading a review, and you went only to find the food was tasteless, the service awful and the prices much higher than the experience was worth.
We’ve all had these experiences or ones like them, and after them we vow never to go see a movie with that actor in it ever again… and steer clear of that restaurant forever. And probably tell all our friends and acquaintances about the bad experience.
It isn’t so much that the movie was bad, or that the food was bilge. The reason we feel so bad about it is the sense of disappointment. We expected something great, and we got something that was at best average. In other words, we don’t like surprises that turn out to be a disappointment. This is true in all walks of life, and it’s immensely true when a visitor comes to your website.
What Your Website Visitors Want
When someone visits your website, they’re looking for information that’s important — sometimes very important — to them at that moment. They have a problem they need to solve, and often they want to solve it quickly.
So when a visitor clicks on a Google Adwords ad or a search engine result that promises an answer to their problem, they expect to land on a web page that does exactly that.
And when it doesn’t, what they feel is disappointment — just like they do when they watch a bad movie or eat in a mediocre restaurant. But unlike sitting in a cinema or a restaurant, they won’t give you twenty minutes of their time to really make sure things are as bad as they believe. The chances are they’ll give you several seconds at most, and then click straight on that back button and disappear.
This teaches us there needs to be an unbroken fl ow from the prospect’s desire, the promise of the ad, and the delivery of the information on the web page. And the fact most websites don’t do this goes a long way to explaining why so many websites fail to bring in any business or leads. In most cases the prospect clicks on an ad, a search engine result (or is directed to the site from a print ad or other offline source) and lands on the home page. There he’s usually faced with a load of bland, general information about the company. The company thinks he’ll click on a few pages to find what he really wants, but in reality what he really does is leave immediately to look elsewhere for the solution to his problem… and that lead you took so much trouble to bring to your site is now gone, probably forever.
The Simple Solution
Like most things with marketing — and life in general — once you understand the problem, the solution is simple. And the solution in this case is to make sure your visitors aren’t disappointed.
If you’re a kitchen designer, and you run an ad offering a free report about how to plan your ideal kitchen, make sure the ads direct people to a specific page where they can get the free report. If you’re a dentist and you run an ad offering a free consultation, send them to a page where (you guessed it) they can read more about the free consultation and how to book one. You get the idea. Not rocket science at all, really.
Even if you don’t offer a freebie in your ads, but your ad implicitly or explicitly promises an answer to a problem (which it should), you should still send visitors to a dedicated page where they can read more online. And then, unless you really are trying to make an instant sale, collect their contact details and follow up.
Whatever you do, don’t just send them to the home page and expect them to fish about. They won’t. They’ll disappear,
The complicated part
Now comes the catch to all this, though it’s a “good catch”, because it’s one that puts most people off. And that means most business-owners won’t do it, leaving the field (and the profits) wide open to those ready to put in some effort.
The first step is taking a long hard look at the problems your customers are trying to solve. This means knowing your market as best you can, and setting up your web marketing to tie in with those problems. To do this, you need to start with keyword research. This forms the backbone of your online marketing, so it’s important you do it.
It’s not glamorous in the slightest, and that’s why most business-owners don’t do it. But if you want to be the one who brings in the business, there’s no way around it. You can hire PPC agencies to do this for you, but my advice is to do it yourself, at least initially, and keep an eye on it from then on. The fact is no one will put in as much effort as you do for your business, and keyword research is too important to leave to someone else.
Putting it into Practice
Once you have your keywords, you need to do some thinking. You need to work out what kinds of offers your prospects are most likely to respond to, what kind of information they’re likely to grasp with both hands and say: “Yes, this is exactly what I’ve been looking for.”
And how will you deliver it? Will it be a free report? Or a free video course? Or both?
Maybe asking the prospect to call in will work best if you’re trying to make an immediate sale. You’ll find the real answers only by testing. But doing some thinking up front is essential. After all, you know — or should know — your market intimately, and using this insight will give you a big advantage over your competitors.
Segmentation, Segmentation, Segmentation
The next part of the process is to think about how segmented you can make your offer. In this case, the more tightly focused the pages are the better. So don’t just build a single web page which gives a general answer to a general problem. Build as many pages as you need to deal with specific problems. The more specific your pages, the more likely there will be a strong connection between the prospect’s desire to solve his problem and what he finds on your web page. And that can only mean more sales or more sign-ups, which in turn leads to more profits on the bottom line, which is what it’s all about at the end of the day.
Don’t get me wrong. This takes work. But as I said above, this is a “good catch”, because it means most businesses will fail to do it, and that includes your competitors. In the end, the ones that do the work are the ones that bring home the bacon.