Lesson #3

Direct Response Web Sites Explained

What Makes Most Web Sites Totally Worthless?

OK, so now you're convinced that your business has to have a website up on the Internet (if you don’t already have one) if you're going to take advantage of the tremendous profits that can be made from all of the people who are searching for someone to take care of their auto repair needs.

You now realize that fewer and fewer people use the Yellow Pages™ every day to look for local goods and services, and that 76.2% of consumers now use the Internet to find local businesses. And that trend is only increasing. So you figure you’ll just hire someone to make you a website, or you'll ask a tech savvy family member will make one for you, and you'll be good to go, right? Wrong!! That would be a BIG mistake unless you first learn what an effective web site really is.

There are tons and tons of people out there who can build a web site for you, or, like I just mentioned, you can get a “young genius” family member to build one for you, or you can even build one for yourself with the free software that is now available, but of the thousands of people who could build a site for you, 99% of the time it’s going to be what is called a “billboard” or “brochure” site.

What is a “billboard” or “brochure” site? These are types of sites, built by computer programmers or IT Techno-wiz geniuses, that look professional, are usually flashy and pretty, and do provide the basic information about the business. BUT, are they effective in getting you customers? Absolutely NOT!

If you ask any of the businesses that have this type of site, and the majority of business owners who do have sites have this type, “When was the last time you had a paying customer come into your business because they saw your web site?”, the answer will always be either “Some time ago”, or “Never”.

Here’s some interesting information that is VITAL to the success of any web site. Most people who use the Internet do so at a very rapid pace until they conclude that they may have found what they are looking for.

So, first of all, if the description of your web site in the search engine results listing is not compelling enough to persuade them to click on your listing and go to your web site, your listing may as well not exist.

Then, if your site takes more that 7 to 8 seconds to open, which most sites with fancy graphics and “cool” animation do, the majority of Internet users will immediately click the “back” button on their browser and return to the search listings to find another site.

Also, and this is CRITICAL, once a searcher lands on the home page of your web site, you have between 3 to 5 seconds to convince your visitor that your site can provide what they are looking for, or they will immediately go back to the search results to look for another site that does.

What’s surprising to me is that so many business owners continue to make this SAME mistake every single day, by entrusting their web site to people who think that marketing involves pretty pictures, fancy graphics, and “cool” layouts. That’s why MOST web sites published by small business owners NEVER produce a dime in profits.

If your site is not built by a marketing expert, or, if you build it yourself, if you have not  taken the time to learn enough about marketing to do it correctly, your site will not be part of the “Information Super Highway” and generate customers and profits for you, instead it’ll be as effective as if it was sitting on a narrow dirt side road somewhere, just accumulating dust, and not making you much money.

You should not have a web site just sitting there while you hope someone will see it, and then praying that they will then decide to do business with you. Your web site should be a powerful marketing tool that grabs auto repair prospects and converts them into a flood of new and profitable customers.

But don’t despair, you can learn enough about marketing yourself and what you need to do in order to generate the profits that are there for the taking, by creating what is called a “Direct Response” web site. You can create your own site, just like the sites I create for my clients.

So, What is a “Direct Response” web site you ask?

First of all, we have to address the #1 rule in marketing that MUST be adhered to if ANY promotion is going to be successful. It’s basic MARKETING 101 … any marketing you do must answer one very important question for your potential customer. Actually, it is the ONLY important question. If you just remember this one rule, you will know more about marketing and advertising than 90% of the people who claim to be experts.

Here is the question you must answer for every potential customer.

Is your advertising or web site information all about you? Do you go on about how long you’ve  been in business and how great you are etc? Your potential customers simply do not care unless you also address “What’s in it for them”. Yes, those other things are important to the customer, BUT only in the context of how it will benefit them.  Remember to explain, what’s in it for them and how you’re going to make their lives a lot easier or better, and your marketing will be 1,000% more effective.

To give you a real-life example, consider the difference between the signs in these two Bank windows on opposite sides of the street. The first Bank has a sign in their window that says, "47 Years Of Quality Service To The Community", and the second Bank has a sign that says, "Highest Interest Accounts, With Internet Access". Which Bank do you think MOST people would want to deal with? Obviously it's the second Bank. They have provided a benefit that a LOT of people will desire and be attracted to, while the first Bank is offering something that is impersonal, non-specific, and totally boring.

A Direct Response web site is designed to accomplish TWO extremely important tasks. Firstly, it must show your potential customer what the benefits of doing business with you are, versus doing business with any of your competitors. Remember, every single potential new customer has one prevailing thought in their mind, whether consciously or subconsciously, and that is “What’s in it for me?”

So a Direct Response web site has to satisfy that desire. A successful web site must focus on what the potential customer is expecting or searching for, not on what you as a business owner wants to say on the site.

Flashy graphics, award winning photos, great humor, none of those things make an ounce of difference in whether or not a visitor to your site will become a customer. In fact, some of those things can sometimes repel a potential customer. Remember, your potential customer will not do business with you because you have a beautiful site with dazzling images.

They’ll do business with you ONLY if they truly believe that you’ll provide what they’re looking for. Remember, your site MUST provide the answer to the most important question, “what’s in it for them”. They want to know why they should do business with you instead of one of your competitors. If you fail to make that case quickly and convincingly, you won’t be the one getting their business.

What’s the second thing a Direct Response web site must accomplish? It must capture the contact information of your site visitors so that whether or not they do business with you this time, you can communicate with them, free of charge via e-mail, in order to build a relationship with them and provide them with educational and promotional offers to entice them to become future customers.

There is an additional benefit to capturing the contact information of those visitors that become customers, and I’ll address that  in a coming lesson.

And here’s a very interesting reality. The 2 MOST important factors in the success and profitability of any business is "getting customers" and "keeping customers". Well, a Direct Response web site does BOTH of those tasks more efficiently than ANY thing else you could ever do.

In setting up your “Direct Response” web site, here are a couple of common mistakes the majority of businesses make, and which you should avoid.

* There is no clear and compelling benefit to the visitor that jumps out at them as soon as they land on the site’s main page. Remember, It’s a fact that you only have between 3 to 5 seconds to convince a visitor to stay at your site and investigate further, so if they can’t determine right away that you offer a great benefit of some sort to them, they’ll quickly hit the “back button” on their browser and be off to the next site.

* The sales message used in the text on the web site does not address the potential customer’s wants or desires, but is instead focused on the company and the product or service. This is likely to drive away many potential customers who will continue looking for a company who understands how to fulfill their needs.

A properly structured “Direct Response” web site will eliminate these mistakes, and others, so make sure that you don’t create a “brochure” site that only talks about how great you are etc etc. but NEVER hits on the key triggers that cause site visitors to decide to do business with you.

Just a word of warning. If you decide to build a website, or if you already have one, PLEASE take the time and effort to learn at least the basics about effective marketing and how it relates to the proper construction of a “Direct Response” web site, so that you don’t waste all of your work on a site that will be totally ineffective. DO NOT make the mistake of thinking that most website designers know what they are doing when it comes to creating effective websites or you'll end up with just a pretty picture on the Internet that won't get you many customers.

A properly constructed Direct Response website can dramatically increase your customer volume, and your profits, so don't delay in getting yours up and functioning.

If you wish to learn more about what a Direct Response website is, send me an email and ask me for my FREE brief but very valuable White Paper Report entitled, "Why Your Local Business Website May Never Make You a Dime - How To Correct 14 Costly Mistakes 99% Of Business Owners Make With Their Website".

This White Paper Report will be eyeopening and save you from disaster and failure if you have a website or intend to get a website. Don't pass up on this vital, profit generating information if you fall into either of those 2 categories.

Do you understand everything that was discussed in his lesson?
Do you have any questions about the information just covered?

If you have any questions about what we’ve covered so far, other Internet marketing questions, or just about marketing in general, I’m always available to you to answer a question or to help you understand something more completely, so don’t hesitate to ask for my help. And it’s free. My e-mail address is, gordon(at)auto-repair-marketing.com.
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