How most small businesses fail online because they don’t have a clear goal for their website.

Mistake no clear direction

Why local businesses can’t get customers online: no clear direction.

Direct marketing, aka, “junk mail”, preceded internet marketing by many decades. Direct marketers mailed to consumers and businesses long before Google’s founders were born.

Direct marketers understood effective marketing – they are still masters of the medium.

One of the most important aspects of any direct marketing package is the call to action. The call to action is what the company wants a prospect to do when they get a letter in the mail? For example, do they want somebody to fill out a credit card application or call GEICO for a quote? Whatever it is, direct marketers are very clear on their call to action.

Understanding the Call to Action

Smart local businesses manage their website like direct marketers handle their mailings. Visitors who come to their website should find a catchy headline, proof elements, and other essentials that point prospects to a common goal: the call to action.

Many local businesses don’t understand direct marketing or the call to action. They’re still stuck in 1999 with an online brochure. That may be fine if your business has a great referral network, but it won’t work if you’re in a competitive online market. And most businesses are now competing for consumers online.

There are two (2) ways to fix a lack of focus on your website…

#1 Determine Your Direction

One of the biggest benefits of online marketing is the ability to turn your online brochure into an interactive salesperson. But your “salesperson” can’t sell if it doesn’t know what you’re selling. That’s why it’s important to ask this critical question:

What do you want your visitors to do at your website?

Do you want to generate phone calls? Do you want to increase store traffic? Do you want your prospective customers to download a coupon? Whatever it is, define exactly what your prospects should do on your site.

#2 – Create Realistic Call(s) to Action

The next thing is to construct your website in such a way to encourage website visitors to take the action you desire. If you want to encourage phone calls, make sure your phone number is in a prominent place on every page of your website. “Download A Free Home Insurance Buyers Guide” is an excellent, not-too-committal call to action.

Here’s a great call to action from Makepeace’s Total Package:

Total Package Call to Action

A great call to action: Get 4 Free E-Books with Sign-up!

Your call to action must also be realistic. You can’t expect prospects to hand over their credit card on their first visit to your site. Provide value first.

Give your prospects a free download to demonstrate your expertise. Offer a free gas card or something for their time. Once you demonstrate some credibility and value, prospects will be more willing to travel through your sales funnel.

In case you’re wondering, the sales funnel is a series of steps prospects take before completing a sale. Your website’s call to action is your invitation to the prospect to step into your sales funnel. Once the prospect steps into the funnel, you’re one step closer to making them a paying customer.

You’ve also clarified your goal for why your business is online.