Why Your Business Needs a Direct Response Website

I recently completed a survey of around 100 business websites in my local area, and found that by and large, over 95% of them amounted to nothing more than digital business cards. The common theme was a contact page, brief overview of the company, perhaps a short description of products and services, and some pictures of the business or work past work samples. 

The most daring sites were from spas and restaurants, with some of them actually including price lists and menus. If I remember correctly, 2 of the websites had a special ‘web only’ offer for their customers. None of the sites I visited took orders online, though many had contact forms and “get a free quote” style forms. 

This is what everyone is doing. It has become accepted practice for small offline businesses to have a business card style website – commonly called a ‘brochure site’. I should take a minute to mention that these sites ranged from the clearly “done myself” category hosted on a free server to very beautiful professional designs. 

So if everyone is doing it, what’s the big deal?

Think for a moment why you paid someone (I’m guessing here) thousands of dollars to build you a business website. What were you hoping to accomplish with it? Chances are you wanted to capture a portion of the thousands of people on the internet these days, and sell them some stuff, right? 

Ok, let’s assume this was the motivation. Now backup into the offline world again for a second. What is the equivalent? Do you think it would be effective advertising for your business to staple a  business card on a pole near the busiest intersection in your town? Or would you take out an ad in the local paper and give them a business card as your ad copy?

I’m guessing you wouldn’t generate a lot of walk-in or phone-in traffic that way. Likewise, your website is more than likely being ignored by most web-surfers as just another bit of information on the information superhighway. 

It is a business card placed in the midst of a jungle of interactive YouTube videos, online games, engaging news stories and social media sites like Facebook. 

Which do you think gets more attention? What’s the problem here? 

There’s nothing to make it relevant! ‘Build it and they will come’ does not apply to websites! 

Your customer’s time is valuable and they won’t spend their valuable time in places that have no relevance to them, or don’t provide some sort of value to them. So what is the answer? 

Direct Response Websites

A direct response website is simply a website that asks for a direct response from the visitor. Sign up for our newsletter, a free report, our preferred members club, a one time discount, to enter in a draw – it doesn’t matter! The point is that you ask for a direct response from the potential client, and provide them something of immediate value in exchange for their contact information. 

Consumers are busy, and they cannot be expected to take action unless you ask them to! Only the absolutely most interested will pick up that phone on their own, and these are a small, small percentage of your visitors! However, by visiting your site, the person has demonstrated at least some level of interest in what you have to offer. Now your responsibility is to capture their contact information so you can follow up and nurture that interest into a buying decision. That should be the goal of your direct response business site. 

You see, when a customer is shopping around for something, sometimes they will visit a store or two, then talk to some friends, research a bit on the internet, finally make a decision, then come into the store of their choice and purchase. You have one opportunity, while the customer is in your store, to make a good enough impression that they will remember you down the road when it is buying time. 

Don’t let this happen!

Why not be a part of the decision process all the way through? This would dramatically increase your preeminence in their minds come buying time. 

You can do that by capturing their contact information, in the form of email, and following up with the customer with an automated sequence of emails. 

As they go through their decision process, you can be unobtrusively providing helpful information, tips, advice etc, perhaps even a discount coupon. Unless you have a terrible product, your chances of making that sale just went through the roof! 

Can you see the power of this? 

Simple Sites

You might assume that in order to make say, $10,000 a month on the internet, you’d have to have a pretty amazing website, right? 

Wrong. I personally own a 1 page website that has generated more than $10,000 per month, just by asking the visitor to take action. I’ve seen dozens of one-page websites that simply ask for the person’s email, in exchange for a free something or other of value, that are producing tens of thousands of dollars a month. 
 
How can this be? It’s all about the follow up. You don’t sell someone the farm the first time you meet! When the person visits your site for the first time, it is unlikely they have their credit card out and want something immediately. They’re usually just mildly interested. 
 
Giving them something for free will help heighten that interest. Following up over time can develop that customer into a person who absolutely wants what you have to offer. The final sale can then happen in-store – it doesn’t have to be online. 
 
Getting the Traffic
 
I should mention that of the 100 sites I surveyed, nearly all of them had abysmally low traffic. Nearly half had Alexa rankings higher than 20 million, which equates to something like 1 visitor every couple of months. This is because there is no reason for them to be visiting these sites – they can find all the same information in the yellowpages already!
 
So give them a reason to visit. Offer something of value on your site in exchange for their permission to follow up with you. They give you permission when they give you their email. Now you can tell people that walk into your store about what you offer on your website, and why they will benefit. Now they’ll go check out your site! 
 
There are many more tricks to take advantage of this, but I’m holding those back for my own clients =). 
 
Which is more valuable?
 
So which do you think is more valuable? A multi-page business card, or a direct response website? Which would you rather have for your business? Of course, you can do both; they’re not mutually exclusive. But if you want to get any sort of a response out of your visitors, you must take the initiative! 
 
For more information on direct response websites and how one could benefit your business, sign up for the free report near the top right of this page.