Be soft — don’t always go for a hard sell

SMPL, a customer of ours, had a 3rd party SEO ‘audit.’ To quote a section of the report from this terribly inexperienced agency:

“There are a few areas that could use some attention to improve usability and conversion.

I’m assuming your key conversion metric would be getting people to contact you. The contact form is an easier metric to track, but which you say is more valuable to you phone or contact form? When you land on the home page the most prominent call to action (button) should be your conversion metric. Right now the phone number is secondary and the contact link is buried in the menu and footer.”

This is where this agency’s inexperience shows. In fact, it reeks. It’s mistakes like these that can cost your business a lot financially.

For a service business, often your hard sell — aka bottom of the funnel (BOFU) offer — is normally a contact page. On the website in question, a link to it is posted everywhere and it’s tracked. However, soft sells — aka middle of the funnel (MOFU) offers — almost always have more clicks. Why? Think of it this way. When you meet a new person, do you give them your phone number right away? No! (Unless, well, um… yeah.) It’s very much like — nice to meet you… tell me more about yourself… Explore, explore, explore… Ok, now let’s meet/tango. Here’s my number!

So, what do you do instead? The two key elements to always have above the fold on your homepage are: ‘Who we are’ and ‘How we do what we do’ (process). On our customer’s website, ‘How it Works’ and ‘Meet SMPL’ are the two primary links. On those two important pages, ‘How it Works’ and ‘Meet SMPL’ are where they usher in the harder sell. In SMPL’s case, it’s ‘Request a free consultation.’ Right?

Let me show you an example of this in action (from the bottom up):

SMPL Website Data Visualization

Flow of the user: Home -> About Us -> Process -> Portfolio -> Contact. It’s easy and makes sense. It’s human. Could you imagine if all we had was a hard sell? It’s repulsive.

So, one thing I’d like you to consider when doing sitemaps and copy, is to always think about those two calls to action on the homepage: the soft sells to the exploratory pages. Then hit your harder sell on those exploratory pages.

BTW, SMPL has been killin’ it. In his own words (without edits):

“ill tell you this much, we’ve taken care of all the leads that have come in on the new site – and get every contract but 1 ….. its the busiest year on record, and the phone wont stop ringing … two new calls per week for the last three months straight. 32 projects on the “current board” 18 already completed … 50 total for this year .. thats the amount we did last year and its only april

the new site has honed in the “buyers” and everyone coming wants modern.”

I’d share the rest of this companies ‘audit,’ but it’s too painful and not worthy of our blog. Remember, the Internet is an investment. Don’t sell yourself short!

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