Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Web Site Leverage

Ever go to a web site and find that after poking around a few pages you just click off and go to another site? Of course. It happens millions of times a day on the web. Why? Good question!

This is number seven in my series of "Dumb Marketing Mistakes" where the mistake I'll explore is "Not Leveraging Your Web Site." This is an important one because if you can't get people to stick around your site and eventually contact you, your web site is just taking up cyberspace.

What does a results-producing web site need? Let's start with quality design, clear formatting and substantial content on every page. And you need to answer the "What's in it for me?" question every step of the way. But that's just the beginning.

Even sites that have all the bases covered often miss the key to turning visitors into clients. It's the difference between a web site that "just sits there" and one that gets a prospect to give you a call or send an email saying, "Can you help me?"

And that big key is called the "Call-to-Action." And you don't just use it once, but over and over throughout your site. Here are some important calls-to-action that you can easily add to your site:

1. At the bottom of every page tell people where to go next
Then include a link that points there. If you don't, your visitors will scratch their heads thinking, "Where do I go next?" and then scroll up to the navigation bar to figure it out. Don't make them think. Make it obvious where they should go next.

Your directions might say something like: "Now that you have a better idea of the kind of clients we work with, click here to learn about the results you can expect to receive from our services."

2. A "Contact Us" link, also at the bottom of every page

Who knows when the inspiration will strike to contact you? Have you ever been on a web site and wanted to contact the company but couldn't find an email address or a phone number? Bye, bye business. And make that Contact Us page more than a phone number, email and address. Tell them what will happen when they contact you. Make it easy to do business with you.

3. A response form at the bottom of every services page

Take an extra step here. Insert a small form that they can fill out to request even more information about that service. Get their name, email, company name and the answers to a few questions about their needs. Yes, people do fill out these forms. But keep them simple!

4. Have them do something that will get them involved

This is the psychology behind the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes. It would be easier to just have people mail back the form. But they found that the more involvement, the better the response. You might try a survey of some kind.

5. Have prospects apply to be your client

When I created the Marketing Action Groups, I decided, instead of a "payment link" at the end of the description of the groups, to put in an application form. This way I can screen applicants, as I don't accept everyone. Then I send an acceptance email to those I felt would get the most from the group with a payment link. The conversion rate is still very high. When I accepted individual clients, I used a similar application form.

6. Capture their name and email address

This is really the number one purpose of a web site. Offer a pithy article or report, plus an email newsletter (in that order) in exchange for their contact information. Once you have them on your eZine list, the marketing really starts. I call it "keep-in-touch marketing."

7. Offer ongoing calls-to-action in your eZine

I generate much more business from the eZine than from new visitors to the web site. Think of the web as the place where you introduce yourself to your prospects. And think of the eZine as the place they get to know you. Then invite them to explore your services in more depth (by sending them back to the web site).

Now go back to your site and start inserting all these calls-to- action. I promise you'll start getting better results!

By Robert Middleton of Action Plan Marketing. Please visit Robert's web site at for additional marketing articles and resources on marketing for professional service businesses.

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