Tom Schmitz // Aug 27 2008
You spent thousands of dollars on a print advertisement. You included a special URL to help you track visitors. Then you showed them your home page?
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Advertising is all about the ROI or return on investment. You know the adage, “You got to spend money to make money.”
If you are willing to invest all of that time, effort and money into crafting a persuasive print ad then you should follow-up with the custom message your visitors expect to see.
But Tom, Why Not Send Them to My Home Page?
You have a great home page. You invested lots of time to make your home page gorgeous and convincing. A professional writer lovingly crafted the copy and your designer spent hours selecting photographs. All those links will take visitors wherever their heart desires, as long as it is on your web site. Unfortunately a great home page is exactly the wrong follow-up for visitors from your print ads.
The problem is that great home pages are generic. You should design your home page for everyone throughout your target audience. Good home pages help different audiences to branch-off and find the information they want. Visitors can self-select the right content and click to it.
Visitors from print advertisements are different. When your they picked-up that magazine and responded to your advertisement, they made a decision about the type of content and the message they expected and wanted. For example:
If you run a museum and you show an add promoting your Egyptian Mummies Exhibit, the people who come to your web site will undoubtedly want to learn more about the mummies. They do not want to read about the Ships of the Sea room or the Dutch Dikes Display. Send them directly to a laser-targeted web page about your Egyptian mummies. What they are. Who they are. Opening and closing times. And most of all, a link they can click on to buy tickets, schedule a cab, and make reservations at a nice restaurant for afterward.
Of course I’m joking about the cab and the restaurant, maybe, but definitely make it easy to respond. They should only have to click once if they wish to buy tickets.
If you show these visitors your home page instead of a targeted landing page you force them to step backwards. If you’ve ever been in a customer service situation you know how annoying reverse progress can be. Don’t annoy your visitors.
Instead of your lovely but generic home page, give web site visitors arriving from your print advertisements what they want and what they expect.
Ultimately, when you follow this marketing guideline you show your visitors respect. People appreciate respect. Respect gets rewarded.
When you give visitors a web address use a short, catchy and meaningful word that appears in your print ad copy. For example, http://www.museum.org/mummies uses mummies. Using a real word can invoke anticipation. If visitors do not think they will be rewarded they’ll be more likely to pass on typing the extra character and go straight to your home page anyway.
By creating an original landing page for your print ad you also create original and search engine friendly content that you can add into your web site’s navigation. Just be sure your analytics tracking can differentiate direct visitors from web page referrals.