ICS Magazine

Take Your Prospect From Offline to Online

December 3, 2012
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One key advertising principle is that the more means of response you give, the better your response rate. Knowing this, it makes perfect sense to include your website along with your phone number in all of your advertising. So let’s explore some creative ways to boost the possibility that prospects will go to your website after seeing your offline ad.

Another huge reason you want prospects to go to your website after they see or hear your offline ad: You want them to complete the sales process. Don’t leave them hanging.

What happens when a red-hot prospect reads your direct mail piece after business hours? They know your office is closed, so they probably won’t try to call. Instead, they may save your ad or jot down your phone number with the intention of calling you the next day. But how many times does a prospect intend on calling you and then lose your number? This happens more than you think. Don’t allow them to forget you. By giving your website as a secondary means of response, you are allowing your prospect to finish what they started and buy from you.

Here are some other occasions when your prospect will be more inclined to go to your website:

  • When she’s at work: Suppose your prospect sees your ad while at work. She can’t call you because the boss will hear the conversation. But she may be able to check out your website on her smart phone or office computer.
  • When she is out and about: Whether shopping, driving or working out at the gym, your prospect could hear about your company, but not be available for a phone conversation.
  • If she’s not ready to talk yet: Perhaps the baby is taking a nap. Or maybe your prospect is worried you may strong-arm your way into giving an in-home estimate? Sometimes your prospect wants more information as a “soft” introduction to your business.

Simply adding your domain name to your ad may help a little. But what can you do to really entice prospects to go to your website? In your ad, you must give them a reason why they should leave the media they are currently using and go online to see your company. You have to give them a good reason:

  • Contests: Facebook contests and contests that have to be registered for online will drive traffic to your website. Give away a free $500 cleaning certificate to the winner.
  • Booklets and reports: Mention that your website has a free information booklet or report. Once, we did a newspaper campaign that mentioned a free “pet stain removal” report on our website.
  • Coupons and certificates: Give away coupons or gift certificates, but require your prospect to go to your website to get the giveaway. One tactic that worked nicely was to give away a free $25 gift certificate for cleaning that was only earned by going to our website.
  • Videos: If you have a video that teaches, gives lots of detailed information or offers immense value, use this as a tool to pull prospects to your website. One example would be a video that demonstrates how homeowners can easily remove pet stain accidents on their own.
  • Specific tips: If your site or blog has specific tips on what a prospect should do in a particular situation, call them to your site. To help homeowners hire the best water damage restoration contractor, we’ve offered five specific tips on choosing the right water damage company.
  • More information: If your ad is compelling, but short, close the ad with a statement that says, “To see more about this XYZ subject, visit www.yourwebsite.com.” This works very well in newspaper, postcards and other short form print media.
  • Secondary means of contact: Give your website as a secondary way to contact you. But to do this, you must have a contact form on your site that prospects can easily use. In addition, it’s a good idea to put links and banners up throughout your website that say, “Contact us now.” Make it easy for them to see the contact form. Don’t hide it. Mention your contact form and link to it throughout your site.
  • QR codes: Have you ever seen those funny looking square barcodes that people scan with their smart phones? That’s a QR code. You can get a QR code that instantly directs people to your website upon scanning. Get a free QR code at http://beqrious.com/qr-code-generator. Then, add the QR code to your ads and brochures. This works especially well when your prospect is out and about.

It’s all about continuing the conversation. If your ad has the prospect interested, don’t allow the conversation to be over just because it’s late at night or the baby is asleep. Keep going. But you must give them a good reason why they should keep going. After all, we’re talking about your business here. You want to do everything you can to keep prospects interested until they book an appointment and give you money. Nothing else matters.  

And by all means, make sure your website delivers. Don’t tell them you’ve got a great report on pet stain removal and then hide the report on a lonely, poorly traveled page of your site. Make sure your site is designed so whatever you promise in your ad is easily found. If your prospect has to go to one of the inner pages of your site to find whatever you promised, frustration sets in and you could lose the prospect.

By the way, another huge benefit to getting more visitors on your site is the potential increased ranking in the search engines. With search engines (especially Google), more website traffic means your site has more credibility. More credibility can mean higher search rankings.

Start using these techniques to improve your ad conversions. Just small additions to your ad and website can mean huge increases in your response.