Are You Driving Your Audience to Dead Ends?
There's nothing worse than being lost in a massive subdivision. This often happens to me when I see slowed traffic on the road ahead and think that I'll detour around it by quickly turning onto a side street. "Surely," I think to myself, "there's got to be a street running parallel to this one. Only suckers would wait for this traffic."
This move often leads to heartbreak and a deep, deep hatred of slow cell phone data as I desperately consult my smartphone's map. I often find myself in a maze of winding roads, cul de sacs and dead end streets. By the time I make it out, I've most likely doubled the time it would have taken me to simply wait for the slow traffic.
I've had similar experiences online. Most recently, I needed to renew our Microsoft Partner Network subscription. Even though I had a link from Microsoft, I ended up becoming trapped in a seemingly endless maze of site redirects. This happens every year when I need to renew our account.
In both cases, my unfamiliarity with my surroundings leads to incredible frustration, lots of backtracking and a boatload of wasted time.
This is important to remember when building and promoting your website, especially if it's a large site. Your visitors won't be as familiar with your site as you are. When you drive people to your site in advertisements, make sure to give them the relevant directions. It's often as simple as using a specific URL, instead of just listing your home page. If someone actually responds to your ad by visiting your site, the last thing you want to do is set them up for a frustrating visit.
It's become common for ads to end with "visit our website for more details" but that's often an empty promise. Many times, there are few, if any "more details" on the site, or the details are buried in a maze of subpages. To be truly effective, you should have a specific landing page on your site that matches the messages of your ad and directs visitors where to go from there.
This is also true when promoting your social media properties. It's become cliche to say "visit us on Facebook" without providing any context or actual benefit to doing so. What if someone who watched the ad actually took you up on that offer? Are you doing anything on Facebook that's relevant to the ad that drove them there? Or did you basically just send someone to Facebook so they could see your logo in the Facebook template?
Your website and Facebook page can make great calls-to-action for your advertising, but please ensure that you're not directing your visitors to a frustrating dead end.
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