After all these years of writing and speaking about the ROI of publicity, I still sometimes hear from people who say they had a great publicity campaign but “it didn’t work.” They were disappointed that they didn’t get the increased sales of their products, books or services they hoped for.
If they really had a great publicity campaign, they would have gotten media coverage that boosted their visibility and added to their credibility. That’s the true ROI of publicity.
What “didn’t work” is actually what occurred at their point of sale.
Making sales is actually a two-step process. Step one is getting broad recognition from a good publicity campaign. Step two occurs at your point of sale.
A good publicity campaign positions you as a thought leader and sets you above the crowd by the implied endorsement that comes with being quoted as an expert in the media. People learn your name and your message when they hear you on the radio, see you on TV or read about you in a host of publications.
Consumers not only discover you, they’re also more willing to trust you because you’ve earned the confidence of journalists and talk show hosts who turn to you for your opinions or expertise. They become interested in learning more and will typically check out your website.
Visits to your site are part of the second step in the process. Whether your point of sale is your website, a store, or Amazon.com, what potential customers find when they walk in the door (figuratively speaking, of course) may seal – or kill – the deal. For this reason it’s imperative that your point of sale conveys the professionalism customers expect. After all you‘ve invested in delivering your service, developing your product or writing your book, your website is not the place to cut corners.
Imagine your website is a restaurant. You got some great PR and your chef was featured on the local morning news broadcast, whipping up his signature bruschetta. The paper ran a story about how you donated tomato plants to the elementary school garden and your whole staff helped the kids put them in the ground.
Your restaurant has gained visibility and credibility, so one day, I decide to visit.
I walk into a little storefront and see a dining room full of card tables and mismatched plastic patio chairs. There’s no one around to seat me, so I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do. I look around the room for a minute and spot the menu; it’s written in black Magic Marker on poster boards taped to the walls. I notice bruschetta is spelled “broochedda.”
Do I stay or do I get the heck out of there? I can tell you, I’m off like a shot. I don’t take chances where my stomach’s concerned!
I’m pretty certain I know what I’d find if I visited the websites of those businesses or authors who say their great publicity campaign didn’t work. I’m betting their site reads like a commercial and doesn’t engage visitors by answering the question, “What’s in it for me?”
Here are just a few things – by no means a comprehensive list – you can do to make sure your website is geared for sales.
- Make it look professional; it represents you. Misspelled words, pixilated images and an amateur design all make for a bad first impression. There are plenty of great web designers who will help you out for a reasonable fee.
- Have an image of your product prominently displayed. And make sure your “buy it here” button is easy to find. I can’t tell you how many websites lose me after five minutes of searching for how to buy the product.
- Even more important than how your website looks is what it says. If at all possible, hire a sales copy writer to handle that job. Most people don’t realize that writing sales copy is a technical skill and an art, so going with a highly-recommended professional is a smart investment.
- Include content that encourages people to linger on the site and gives them an incentive to return. That’s one more opportunity for you to make a sale if they’re on the fence about spending their money.
Of course, your website isn’t the only factor in that critical second step of the sales process. Price, quality of content and whether your message appeals to a niche audience or a broad one are all factors in the buying decision.
We PR professionals will get you the visibility and credibility that attracts potential customers. That’s step one. Step two is up to you. If your website is your point of sale, it has to close the deal.
P.S. If you want help with step one, getting the media talking about you, let us know. We’ve been arranging interviews for our clients on radio and TV, and obtaining editorial coverage in newspapers and magazines for more than 26 years. We also offer a comprehensive social media marketing program for select clients, where we do it all for you. If you’re interested in our help, please call us at 727-443-7115 Ext. 231. We’d love to hear from you!
Marsha Friedman launched EMS Incorporated in 1990. Her firm represents corporations and experts in a wide array of fields such as business, health, food, lifestyle, politics, finance, law, sports and entertainment. She consults individuals and businesses on a daily basis and is frequently asked to speak at conferences about how to harness the power of publicity.