‘If your advertised article be of a kind which you cannot reasonably hope to sell him through Printed Salesmanship, make it possible for him in the advertisement to do something toward purchasing.’
– John E. Kennedy, author of ‘Reason Why Advertising plus Intensive Advertising’
This quote from John E. Kennedy, another of marketing’s early master copywriters, who practiced his craft in the early 1900’s raises some some interesting question when posed in the context of the online world of today.
Let’s say you are selling a service or a high priced product through your website. Experience has shown you that your sales typically result from a two or more step sales process, because the average visitor isn’t about to spend his hard earned money quickly on a high ticket item.
So the first basic question you need to ask yourself is ‘What is the purpose of my website?’
If it’s not feasible to close the sale right then and there on your website then I think the purpose of any commercial website should be to move the visitor to the next point in your sales cycle process. So even before you begin to put together a website you need to analyze your sales process.
What is my first objective with this prospect? After I’ve accomplished that what is step two on the way to closing a sale? Step 3? Step 4?
Your sales process might involve several steps that, in a sense, have nothing to do with your website. Perhaps your initial objective is to merely capture the visitor’s email address so you can begin an autoresponder sequence with them. Your ongoing communications with them may then be entirely via email, with your website designed only to be a capture mechanism to begin the sales process.
The real key here, and what John E. Kennedy was emphasizing around 80 years ago, is that every advertisement, every marketing communication with your prospect needs to have some mechanism that will move them closer to a purchase. If it’s not possible to sell them today get them to do something do move them further into the sales cycle.
Your task: Take a look at your key webpages/website. Think about what the purpose of that page is and how it’s moving the visitor further along your sales cycle. If it’s not meeting what you think the objective of the page is then modify the page to do that.
You can pick up John E. Kennedy’s classic copywriting book “Reason Why Advertising Plus Intensive Advertising” at SFSBookstore.com.