Experts Blog

Once They Find Your Page How Do You Get Them to Take Action?! Common Mistakes Marketers Make.

By Stephen Mahaney on Oct 18, 2012 - 11:50 AM

The following blog post is a reprint of the VERY first article published to back in February of 1997. It's written by Stephen Mahaney and it's message is short, to the point and still 100% accurate and relevant today! So relevant, in fact, that we felt compelled to share it with you now - over 15 years later. The very foundation of marketing is understanding human nature and Internet or not - that will never change.

In this month's issue I will address the most common marketing mistake people are making on the Internet...

However, before I can do so I must point out the question that every customer wants answered before they will decide to do business with you or your company -- and that question is...

"What's in it for me?"

Customers (bless them all) are a selfish lot. They want to know why they should do business with you instead of one of your competitors. What is unique about your offer..., how will you deliver on your promises and how good is your guarantee? ( DO have a guarantee, don't you?)

In essense, they want to know what is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). That compelling reason why your product or service will solve their problem and why your offer is better than any of your competitors'.

The common mistake that most companies are making on the internet these days is they fail to address this issue from the start. Instead, they force the customer to wait for unnecessary, slow loading graphics that gloriously illustrate the company's logo followed by some obscure mission statement that sounds more like rhetoric than benefit.

Maybe I shouldn't tell you this, but your customer doesn't care. He or she wants to know what's in it for them. And, if you make them wait too long before you tell them they "click" away to another site.

Of course there are exceptions... especially if your site's primary focus is entertainment. However, if your are looking for a direct response... a purchase or a phone call, it will seldom happen if the customer cannot quickly determine what it is you have to offer and your reason(s) why they should buy it... from you -- this is a fact of marketing.

So here are some tips.

  1. The name of your company is seldom your headline.

    Unless your company name has household recognition within your industry, your name is insignificant to the customer until he or she has decided that they want what it is you are offering. If they want it... they will literally examine the computer screen with a magnifying glass, if necessary, to find your contact information.

  2. Your headline should be your USP.

    Tell them -- right away -- what benefit they will achieve by doing business with you right now! Tell them why you can offer them what they are looking for and why they can trust you to provide the product or service. This is what they want to know. If you have the best price, tell them. If you offer exclusivity, show them. If your service is superior, prove it.

  3. Sell the sizzle, not the steak.

    Customers buy benefits not features. They want to know how your product or service is going to solve their problem... and they want a guarantee! If you really think about it honestly you will find that these are the same ingredients that you look for when you buy, isn't that true?

For instance, if you are in the flower business on the Internet you are selling primarily to men (women don't usually buy flowers on the Internet -- they'd rather pick them out in person or "chat" about them by phone). Men want to know that you will take responsibility for getting the flowers to their significant other on time! (translated, same day... usually within the hour) ...and that the flowers will be beautiful, and the girl will LOVE them. Men don't (usually) really care what flowers you pick out... they only care that your flower service will solve their problem! ...which is -- keep the girl happy! Because, when the girl is happy, men think they will get what they want.

Reducing this process to such simplicity may seem silly but if you think about it, you know it's true.

Here's the point. Your business site on the internet should focus on solving the problems of your typical customers. Design your site so that it is user friendly, makes a compelling offer and builds trust.

It is a mistake to attempt to dazzle your site visitors with entertainment and gloss. There are plenty of ways to look professional without resorting to Java Applets that distract from your message, frames that fragment their attention, and company logos that look as if they were produced by Madison Avenue... if people want entertainment they have TV.

People who have money and use the Internet are looking for information, products, and services that will make life easier and solve their problems.

If you want to make sales, you should design headlines and pages that are benefit oriented and lead your potential customers through a systematic presentation that focuses on what you can do for them and why they should do business with you. By doing so, you'll be amazed how less is more and how well simplicity sells.

Happy Marketing,

Stephen Mahaney
Planet Ocean Communications