By now, the Internet is some 30 billion pages large, so it doesn’t take too much analysis to appreciate the chance of someone finding your site by accident is close to zero. Generating traffic to sites is as big a challenge as keeping customers’ interest once they’ve arrived.
The goal, therefore, is to optimize the traffic-generating capacity of every possible channel to achieve maximum visits to your site. You’re not surprised. It’s obvious, right? However, I constantly encounter ignorance of this matter. Many brands are far from perfect in the traffic-generating arena.
In my years of experience, I’ve found offline activities are highly successful at generating online traffic. Again, not surprising. What is surprising is many companies, for some reason, have difficulty understanding the importance of securing online traffic by communicating the Web site’s message offline.
I suppose the usual offline promotion goes something like “Visit www.YourBrandName.com.” How many people would take the time to find a computer, remember the address, type it in, and wait for a response without necessarily knowing what they’re about to visit?
Every offline-generating activity needs to initiate action and communicate a reason for this action. So “Visit www.YourBrandName.com” is not effective without an appealing explanation as to why someone should visit that site. By “appealing explanation,” I don’t mean weak messages such as “Lots of good offers” or “News every day.” You need to go further. You need to commit to something meaningful and unique.
Try to create messages that are concrete, hands on, and, most important, constantly changing (establishing new reasons for customers to revisit your site). The appeal you create must be almost retail-like. For example: “Save 20% on all future software purchases at www.YourBrandName.com,” or “Test your knowledge of X at www.YourBrandName.com.” Come up with a proposition that makes potential visitors curious — curious enough to visit your site and check out your brand.
Make sure your URL never stands alone. It should always be tagged with a proposition that teases potential visitors and inspires them to visit your brand.
Don’t stop there. Guide your visitors into the part of your site that fulfils the promise. There’s nothing worse than being teased with an enticing message, only to discover the site barely covers whatever it was that persuaded you to visit. Ensure you can offer synergy between the URL proposition and what you deliver.
Don’t make empty promises. If you use several messages, you should have several links on your home page to help visitors continue their exploration and close the deal. If you use only one message, make sure it’s reflected clearly on the home page.
Remember, the first 20 seconds are the most important. If you lose customers here because you didn’t deliver what you promised, they’re likely to never visit you again, no matter what promises you make.
Listen up! A brand is a promise. Successful brands always keep their promises.