Internet Marketing – Brand Vs Direct Response Advertising

Most businesses get advertising wrong. Online is no exception, as a matter of fact, in some sense it may be worse. Businesses both offline and online get brand vs. direct response advertising mixed up. Essentially, there’s no reason any business other than very large corporations needs to do brand advertising. Let’s talk more about this.

Everything about advertising has been thought of before. All this stuff you see on the Internet, free ebooks for the price of your email address, software you download and pay for a month later only after you’re sure you like it, tracking codes, A/B split testing, …all this stuff was invented before the 1920s!

Most of what we use in internet marketing is an application of the principals of the greats like Claude Hopkins, the advertising genius who thought of using coupons to track results of ads. (If you haven’t read Hopkins’ book The Science of Advertising then you’re in for a real treat!)

So, why is it that advertising is so misunderstood when applied to Internet marketing.

I can’t tell you how many times I get emails that say: “Help, I’ve got this great website, but no traffic and no sales! What do I do?”

Okay, in a nutshell, here’s the problem.

Let’s suppose you build a great looking website and put it on the Internet. Let’s also suppose you do some basic search engine optimization and, maybe, pay per click advertising so that you’re actually getting some decent traffic.

The question is what are you doing with the traffic? What do you expect your visitors to do?

Most websites ask their visitors to do too much thinking.

Suppose you search for plumbing tips. One of the search results intrigues you and you click through to the home page of a high-end fixture and plumbing supply company. There’s the usual About Us, Contact, Blog, Articles, Recent Jobs buttons on the navigation bar. What are you the visitor going to do? Probably you’re going to hit the back button and leave. If you stay on the site, you’ll bounce around some, then click out.

Really what could happen here? I believe most website owners with websites like this believe the quality of their website will convince visitors they are the ones to do business with.

I got news for you. There are a ton of great looking websites out there, all competing for your prospect’s attention. The best thing would be for the prospect to pick up the phone and call the company and talk to a real live sales person. That’s probably not going to happen, at least in 99 out of 100 visits.

What needs to happen is you need to take a page from the world of direct marketing and offer your visitor something free (but worthwhile!) in exchange for their email address. According to what you sell, you could offer your visitor a free trial of something.

Anything! to keep them and to get their email address!

Once you’ve got that, then you can start really marketing to them and building a relationship.