Who’s Driving Your Marketing Bus?

Got an email the other day from a client for whom I did some work about 18 months ago.

When he and I first met, his web site was in a sorry state. The design was weak. The copy was bland and completely void of emotion. My job was to write the web copy and the client’s SEO “guy” would optimize the site and create a PPC ad campaign.

Here’s the email he sent:

“I’m really taken aback. I went and looked at last year and saw that we did not get a single job from the website or our online ads. We got a couple calls, but they amounted to nothing. This winter we got about three hundred dollars in work from one job. We obviously need to make some changes.”

So here we are, a year and a half later and his site is doing virtually nothing to grow his business.

My “Spidey” marketing senses tingled immediately signaling there was more to this story so I sent him the following questions:

1. Can you please send me the google ad that ran?
2. How many clicks did you have on the ad that ran last year? How often did it run? When did it run?
3. How many unique visitors did you have to the site every month?
4. What was the organic traffic to the site eg. the traffic sent by search engines?
5. Are you reviewing google analytics or is your SEO guy doing it?

After reviewing the responses, two problems were evident.

First, his site was only averaging 1.3 daily visitors. And that’s simply not enough traffic (even assuming the SEO guy was targeting the right audience with the PPC ad) to produce meaningful results.

Second, he was relying on his “web guy” to keep an eye on the road.

So how could a business owner go a year and a half with a web site that wasn’t contributing to his bottom line and not raise a red flag?

Here’s what I think may have happened:

The offline marketing ideas I had given him during the time we worked together were effective enough in generating results that he failed to realize his site was essentially parked in the garage. He was doing well. And that drew attention away from the non-performance of his web site. The fact is, he probably could have been doing even better if he had been aware of the issue earlier.

How about your marketing efforts? Are you regularly checking to see how each element of your marketing plan is performing? Do you know what to look for?

Here’s a partial list of web site sales killers I see every week that I know are costing business owners a fortune in missed opportunities:

Home pages that greet the visitor with Welcome To Our Site.

No benefit headline to grab attention on home page. (this is one of the most expensive omissions a marketer can make)

Copy using the words “we, our and us” instead of “you and your”.

Web copy that completely ignores what the reader is looking for and instead lists products and services.

No emotion in the copy.

Vanilla testimonials that contain no quantitative evidence to show the reader what real results he or she can expect.

No call to action telling the reader what to do next in the buying process.

No use of a lead magnet eg. a free offer of a report, guide or a consultation that requires the reader provide an email address.
Big graphics instead of copy. Graphics don’t lead people to buy.

No marketer would allow this to happen intentionally. Many simply don’t realize the impact it has on their web site’s ability to generate sales leads. Just like my client didn’t realize his web site wasn’t earning its keep.

We are all so busy these days, it’s tempting to hand off the marketing reins to someone else for monitoring while we attend to the onslaught of other “urgent” things that come at us during the week.

Ultimately, as business owners, we are the ones who need to keep our hands on the steering wheel.

You don’t have to be an expert but it’s important to know enough to be able to recognize what’s effective and what’s not when it comes to attracting and converting prospects into profitable clients and customers.

Gerry Black is a marketing copywriter based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada who works with clients in Canada and the United States.

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