Author: Jeff Hunter
You have worked hard to put up your site. You have been told by all of the gurus what you needed to do to have a top notch site and you have tried to apply what you have learned. The problem is your site is still not working! You are not getting traffic, visitors are not staying long enough to get your message and you are not getting subscribers or making any sales.
First of all you are probably suffering from information overload. In this short article I can not hope to solve all of your problems, but I can give you some possible causes for your problems. The following applies to your web site and your promotion as well.
What kinds of things could be wrong?
1. The Headline or Title
Almost all ads will have and Need a Headline or Title The primary job of the Headline is to Grab the reader’s attention so that they will continue to read the ad copy that follows. This is one of the most important parts, because if your Headline fails to do its job, you have already failed.
2. Selling to the wrong target audience
Every product or service has a purpose. It provides some benefit to someone in a particular group with a particular problem. If you try to sell Gardening Tools to Wresting Fans, how many sales do your think you might get? Probably NONE. However, if you try to sell your Gardening Tools to retired senior citizens, you will probably have a much better chance!
3. Selling in the wrong venue
As mentioned in the preceding point, your target audience is very important. In addition, it is important that you not only identify your target, but also run your ad where the target audience will be looking.
4. Not standing out from your competition
Even if you have a good product, you must make your product stand out from competitive products. This can be done in many ways. No doubt your product is different in some way from the competition, unless you are marketing knock-offs of other products. Hopefully these differences are improvements or offer benefits that your competition does not offer. Unless you are already the undisputed leader in your product category, you must advertise what makes your product better, even if it is only cheaper.
5. Design and layout
This does not apply to small ads such as classifieds. In these ads you barely have enough room to identify your product and your name or phone number.
That means that we are talking about web pages, sales letters and maybe large ads with graphics.
The importance of design and layout depends not only on these types, but what kind of product you are selling, and to whom you are trying to sell.
If you are selling Mercedes automobiles, your advertisement had better be well designed, layed out well and very attractive. It should look expensive. Your prospects and buyers will demand this. You are selling something expensive to people who can afford to buy. If your ad is out of their league, so is your sale.
Likewise, if you are selling “Night crawlers” to fishermen, expensive slick graphics won’t work either. These people are only looking for cheap bait and do not expect a fancy sales pitch.
The layout of your ads must be balanced and organized. The layout should help lead the reader through the entire presentation. You should allow a lot of space between sections and avoid crowding too much into too small a space. If something looks complicated and busy, it probably will be passed over by many.
6. The ad copy
• The tone of the ad copy
Your copy should talk to a single customer. It should be phrased and written in a style that your customer is accustomed to. It should appeal to them and not offend them. If you are selling to a farmer, talk to them like another farmer might talk to them. If you are selling to a teacher, make sure your grammar and spelling is correct and that you sound intelligent.
• Not selling the benefits
Too many people try to sell features instead of benefits. Features are things like colors, size, or specifications. Benefits are what the product will do for the customer. Lose weight, Grow hair, Look beautiful or younger. These are things the customer will react to with emotion.
• Not appealing to the prospect’s emotions
As long as we are not talking about products that people buy everyday, such as bread and milk, people buy based on emotion. Emotions make people feel or dream about how they will feel if they buy your product. This is far more powerful than trying to sell based on quantity or price.
• Uninteresting or Dull
No matter what you are trying to sell, you must make it interesting for the reader. You have to get them to keep on reading and close the sale. If you are dull, they will think the same of your product.
There are several classes of buyers. The early adopters are risk takers and innovators. They tend to buy quickly if they see something new that looks interesting. These people will often buy on their first exposure to an ad. The next group are much more cautious and have to be convinced and reassured that your product is the best for them. This group may require three of four exposures to your ad or product before they will buy.
The next group is the most critical. They are very thrifty; want to make sure they select the best product at the best possible price. This group must be thoroughly convinced that your product is the best for them before they will buy. You must earn their trust. They may require six or more exposures before they will buy.
7. Web Pages
• Too slow to load
There are still many Internet users that have dial up modems for access. Even though there have been major improvements in the speed of these devices and in compression techniques. these are still slow when your site is loaded with graphic images. These people will not wait for 10 minutes for your fancy graphic pages to load. They will go on to another site in a heartbeat.
While the number of users with broadband connections is growing rapidly, there are estimates that more than 30% of all users are still using modems. That is nearly one third of all Internet users. Are you willing to eliminate this large a group?
If your product is targeted to wealthier or more intelligent individuals or businesses that use the Internet this may not be a problem, as the majority of people who have broadband access fall within this group.
• Too flashy or wild
If your product is targeted at people who tend to be flashy or wild themselves, skip to the next topic. Otherwise, these types of sites tend to turn most people off immediately.
Your pages should be designed to attract the people who will want your type of product. If your product is a product that a business would use, then your web page should be “business like”. If your product is for consumers, then your design should appeal to your specific consumer group.
• All sizzle and no substance
Don’t make your site look wonderful with flashy graphic animation, etc. if your product lacks the same type of pizzazz. If you do a great job of design on your web site and your product is poor or boring, it will probably be the last sale you will make to any customer who buys from your site.
No matter how great your web pages are, you must have eyeballs on them for them to work. Advertising is always a numbers game. The more eyeballs that see your ad the more potential buyers you will have.
Do not advertise on someone else’s website unless they have enough of the “right” traffic for your ad. Right in this context, means your target audience.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of everything that can, and will, go wrong (Murphy’s Law). But it does point out many problems we all face as marketers.
About the Author:
This article is an excerpt from “Advertising and the Importance of Testing” That report is available for free at http://www.gotoproduct.com on the resources page. Both articles were written by Jeff Hunter.