The biggest insult to human intelligence is upon us once more – election time in the UK.
There should be a new dictionary definition as follows:
Election time – a time, once every few years, when clueless twats stuff crap through your letter box and sometimes knock on your door, asking for your vote – in exchange for precisely bugger-all of perceived value to you in the preceding years.
When the Jehovah’s Witnesses door-knocking makes them more recognisable and regular than your local politicians, you do have to wonder about this insane world we live in.
So what’s this got to do with running a business, and specifically, your website?
How a politician would run a business website
- Get website created.
- Wait for visitors.
- Wait longer for people who show an interest.
- Ram sales down their throat as soon as possible.
Which is little different to:
- Get leaflets printed.
- Stick leaflets through doors.
- Be lucky enough for someone to open their door to you.
- Try to sell them on the benefits of voting for you.
No courtship, no relationship – just going for the sale as soon as possible. It’s the election time version of the saddo male trying to pull any girl available at desperate o’clock near nightclub chucking out time.
And this is how many people experience business websites.
Why didn’t they buy?
The A1WebStats system shows people which companies went to their website (but not the person unfortunately, nice as that would be). The question we sometimes get asked is “why didn’t they buy/make contact?”. We’d suggest that’s better framed as:
They didn’t buy/make contact now so what can we learn from that and what can we do about it?
Someone who doesn’t make contact, as a result of going to your website, is the equivalent of someone choosing not to vote for a politician. For various reasons the person hasn’t bought into what’s on offer.
There are many such reasons (for example, on the website, there may not be strong enough content; for the politician, you may not agree with their policies), but one of the reasons they haven’t bought in could be that there’s no pre-existing trust.
Trust for the future
So what should the website owner do if they know companies have been to their website, but they haven’t bought in to what’s on offer?
Well, they could do what many subscribers do and try to make contact with that company (which sometimes works). Or they could take an enlightened attitude of such activity taking up a lot of time when it could be simpler to have put something on the website that at least gave the company visitor an opportunity to become a future customer.
Something like a lead-generation page.
No, not a crappy ‘sign up for our newsletter’ box, but something of real tangible value, that would encourage someone to sign up for it. Perhaps the local politician could help here with a hypothetical example …
- Politician puts an “I’d like to know what would make you vote for me in 4 or 5 years time?” leaflet through the door, with a promise to call in soon.
- You answer the door to the politician when they call, intrigued that they’re ‘different’.
- The politician, after a short chat, doesn’t directly ask for your vote but does ask permission to email you a monthly update on what they’ve been doing to serve the community, something that you may be interested in.
Then, over the next few years, some sort of relationship/trust (perhaps including more proactive contact) has been built up, making the ‘sale’ a lot easier for the politician next time round.
In business, it’s lucky that the ‘sales cycle’ is much shorter. You may have something of value to offer visitors to your website and such a thing (e.g. a mini-series of useful tips related to what you sell) can be effective quite quickly.
Think that this is common sense? Well consider a business sector that’s as guilty as politicians – most of those who build exhibition stands. They pop up once a year when an exhibition is on, and your name is down as being an exhibitor. Suddenly they want to be your best friend, instead of having nurtured you in the preceding 12 months (e.g. by sending you a monthly update on what they’ve been creating for their clients).
As with the politicians, it’s insulting to be contacted in such a way.
The difference with the visitors to your website is that there is a form of interest. How fantastic would it be if your website had functionality that effectively said “we know you’ve probably not been here before, and you really don’t know us well at all, but hey, can we offer you this freebie something that’ll be useful to you, so that you can consider whether you’d like to talk to us soon?”.
Watch this space – come the next general elections, nothing will have changed in the way that politicians build their potential for votes in the preceding years. Although it would be amazing to be proved wrong. Website owners though (we believe), will have evolved substantially in the way that ‘failed visits’ are considered.