There is a reason why most Web sites are not making any money. They violate this fundamental law of marketing: “It takes more than one contact to generate a sale.” Therefore: “The more expensive the item that is offered for sale, the more contacts it will take.” You must design a marketing program that offers a series of action steps to the prospective customer. The sooner you do this, the faster your Internet investment will pay off.Direct markets use an acronym to remind them of what every marketing campaign needs: AIDA. This stands for attention, interest, desire, and action.
Attention is step one. If the visitor has arrived at your Web site, it had better grab his attention. I hope your site does this rapidly. Visitors get bored, fast.
I suggest that you make a promise or offer, stated early, and clearly visible on your site within a few seconds. I also suggest that you minimize graphics. Graphics reduce download time.
Let’s say that you have his attention. You must now interest him. You must find a way to present information to him that will keep him from clicking to another site.
Maybe you remind him of a problem he now faces or will soon face (fear). Maybe you present an opportunity that he has not thought of (greed). Fear and greed are the buyers’ great motivators in business-related sales.
You have his interest. You must now produce desire. The question is: Desire to do what? You are leading him to take action.
The action you should motivate him to take is to identify himself, so that you can contact him again by automated e-mail. You must persuade him to request something: a free report, a short course, a list of specifications – something. Whatever it is, by requesting it, he sends you his e-mail address. This is the key to profitability. Your Web site should have several useful functions: to gain the visitor’s attention, to create interest, to create desire, and to generate an action step. Very few Web site designers have self-consciously applied AIDA. They are technicians and artists, not marketers. Not that many marketers understand AIDA.
His action steps should not cost him any money. You want his e-mail address. Offer him something of immediate value to get that e-mail address. Offer him several things, if you can.
What I’m telling you here, you probably already know. You became a member of this site because you already perceived the value of automated e-mail. But you must self-consciously think through your site’s design. Does it need a revision? Probably. Can this be done cheaply? Probably. Your biggest cost will probably be the time it takes you to re-think your site’s four-point structure: AIDA.
Think carefully about what you would want from your site if you were a first-time visitor to your site. Empathize.
What do you want him to do after he reads a special report? What is the next action step you want him to take? Design everything in your free reports to generate one final action step per report. I suggest that you get him to subscribe to a newsletter. Then you can contact him regularly.
Another possibility: get him to sign up for a free e- mail course. For this, you should probably use a sequential or follow-up autoresponder. You can offer a course using only free one-shot autoresponders, but you must rely on the reader to click a click-and-send link to receive each subsequent lesson. He may forget. It’s usually better to have an automated system mail them at regular intervals. Your goal in sending a course is simple: you gain additional contacts with him. He requests these contacts.
Assume in everything you do on your retail sales site that your number-one assignment is to get his e-mail address. If he leaves your site without having identified himself, your site has failed to achieve its most important goal.
It’s nice to make a sale on your site from a first- time visitor. It’s also incredibly rare. Don’t try. Get him to order a free report.
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