OK, so maybe I worded that badly.
Last month I tackled the death of websites as we know them, and since publishing that article, many of my peers have shot me down, in much the same way as a blasphemer would have been in the dark ages for saying there was no god or that the earth was round.
In fact, at the time of writing the article, I had employed the services of one of the top UK digital agencies to help with my click-through conversions to boost the effectiveness of my online advertising.
From the start I was quite clear that I did not want to mess around with web pages and in fact, I was unwavering, that from the outset all of my new ad-words lead generating traffic would be driven to one of my Infusionsoft CRM Landing Pages.
A month into the deal, the vendor having agreed with these terms then proceeded to tell me that the sophisticated page design needed to drive traffic could not be generated by the CRM Landing Page.
What utter BS.
Firstly, all of the very high end direct marketing gurus emphatically protest sophisticated landing pages.
Secondly, I was always told that simplicity and downright ugly works best.
So, I cancelled the contract and demanded a refund after sending them a copy of my article for last month… Boy did the shit hit the fan.
I was told that: far from websites being dead, they were critical to the growth of business and at no time had they or my previous mentors ever suggested otherwise. OK, so was I confused, had I misread the message?
Over the last month I’ve done some serious soul searching and I still believe that what I said is true. There is no doubt that websites are what got me to where I am now, and I can still remember when Google AdWords were called Overture. Yup, I’ve been in this game a lot longer than most.
There is no doubt that over the years, the purpose and role that a website plays in your overall marketing strategy has changed. For some, it’s remained the same from day one. But, for others that embrace the technological advancements that we enjoy, the role it plays too must adapt with the ever changing way we engage with our customers.
As an example, and by way of explanation, then when I first set up a website for my business way back in 1999, it was an info site, its purpose was to let people know what I did and what my products were. My sales were driven by people phoning in and ordering.
Then as time progressed, I changed my whole site from an info site to a shopping cart and watched as engagement plummeted. The market was not ready for a direct buy now with no back story. So, I changed it back to an info site which is what it’s been ever since. For a period, the site had a shopping cart functionality which ticked over, but never did big numbers. I guess that’s because I sell high end and people want to have a natter before they commit.
The shopping cart functionality and the online purchase were removed from my site along with the price list 4 years ago.
“No price list?” I hear you say, “WTF is the man mad?”
Yup, no doubt about it, but when you have prices which are 10x the average, you need to engage with the customer, you need to have a dialogue and ease them into paying so much more. In the early days, the sales process went something like this:
Gardening Show > Flyer > Website > Call > Buy
Magazine Article > Website > Call > Buy
The purpose of the website was to inform, and as a result my site has always featured videos. Since upgrading my website 4 years ago, 2 more site overhauls have been instigated but never completed. “Why?” you ask.
- too damn complicated
- not fast enough to respond
- by far too much specialist help required
- Plus, and the most important reason, most of my traffic comes from AdWord Pay Per Click marketing
So, do I really want to spend a large amount of money on website overhaul when all of my traffic comes from an AdWord or a call from a referral? NO.
The website, as a whole, has a purpose for organic search; people who find you organically then go to see what you are about. But they have a lot of stuff to get through, and it can be hard work when you have a lot to share, so they leave either because you try to feed them too much or too little.
Nope, in my opinion it’s much better to drive people to a Landing Page, this is what I’ve always been taught.
- A Landing Page for every product
- AdWords Campaign for every Landing Page
- Squeeze Page for every enquiry
- A targeted email sequence for every Squeeze Page enquiry which relates to that product and that product alone
- And an optional up-sell to other products on the Thank You page
This is a true marketing system or machine. It puts you in control of the info that the prospect gets. You’re in the driving seat of how they get it and when they get it, plus it gives you a database of potential, interested, customers, much better than just a website.
So, there’s some overlap between having a Website and a Landing Page, namely that your website can just be a lot of landing pages and, yup, that’s fine if you’re in control of how that all works and functions; but I’m not computer savvy, and modern websites I find difficult to build, Word Press is supposed to be easy, but I find it’s not. So, hence back to my CRM Infusionsoft which can host the Landing Page and control the traffic and information feed.
No, I’m firmly of the belief that, as CRM’s become better, there will be no need for a website and the faster you get in control of the information fed to your customer, the higher the quality of customer you will attract. I’ve just rebuilt my 3 main Landing Pages and 2 weeks ago spent 8 hours in front of a camera shooting new videos, not for the website, for new subject related Landing Pages to drive traffic to take action.
Simplicity and Downright Ugly Works Best
Personally, for me, a website is an online brochure where people can browse but with little commitment to part with valuable information. But they’ll only find the website if they already know of you or you feature high in the rankings. If I’m going to pay good money for someone to look at my page, I definitely don’t want them browsing, I want fast action.
Let’s be honest here, look at any of the big boys of digital marketing: Frank Kern, Russell Brunson, GKIC, Chris Cardell, Dan Kennedy, Lisa Sasevich, Kim Walsh Phillips, Bob Proctor. They all use Landing pages either from a Google AdWord Campaign or from a Facebook ad from a referral link.
The one thing that stands out when you look at what they are doing: the page is simple and formulated. They ask direct questions to get direct responses. There is a wallet-opener opportunity and active engagement; you go directly into a structured multi step marketing email sequence.
Not once are you sent back to a website.
I say that again: after first engagement, you are never ever sent back to a website.
I guess what I’m saying then is: ‘What’s the point?’
If your CRM can host webpages, and you can build them quickly and easily, and
if your business is driven by advertising through Google, Facebook or LinkedIn; it’s simple landing pages that answer the direct question that the prospect was asking in the search phrase. So, what better medium than a targeted, content specific, landing page with a direct call to action?
Ok, so I hope I’m making sense… Just a couple of things that I need to clarify:
Primarily from an ad, you need to drive the prospect to a landing page. After an action is taken on a landing page, you can drive the prospect to an email sequence. You must not go directly from an ad to an email sequence.
I guess this is what my mentors were getting at when the shit hit the fan, because most people don’t have a CRM that can build Landing Pages, and therefore would need to do that within a website.
In their minds a Word Press site can hold a basic 10-page website, giving all the cotton wool experience that a prospect may expect, but within the fluffy organic pages you also keep 100’s of different landing pages, pages designed for one purpose alone: to make them give up their personal contact details so that you can send them stuff.
As I write this, I’m just getting my bags ready to fly to America to attend Dan Kennedy’s ‘Marketing to the Affluent’ 3-day seminar in Cleveland.
So, in next month’s edition, I’ll give you an update on what’s hot and what’s not in this arena.