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A successful website marketing campaign – be it email marketing, search engine ads or media spots – builds traffic to your website.  A no brainer, right?  Not so fast.

The big race: an analogy

My friend bought this race car a few years ago and he’s always wanted to race it in this prestigious race.  However to get into this race requires a lot of schmoozing.  So over the past few years he’s put in a lot of time petitioning race organizers so that he can compete.  Two weeks ago he received a letter saying he was approved.  Last week he competed in the race and finished dead last.  Today he received a letter saying he’s been kicked out of the race for his poor performance.

Why did my friend fail so miserably?  In all his petitioning to get into the race he neglected to fine tune his car.

This story makes a good analogy to what happens on the internet every day.  Your race car is your website and your petitioning are your website marketing efforts.  Neglecting either will put you behind the rest of the field.

Two ads and their landing pages

Recently I searched Google for the term “bicycle tours” for a possible vacation next year.  Two of the paid ads caught my attention:

  • Bicycle Tour Catalog
  • Best value in deluxe bike vacations
  • Get your free catalog & DVD today!
  • www.VBT.com/Bicycle-Tours
  • Ciclismo Classico
  • Superb Cycling & Multisport Tours
  • Throughout Italy, France & Spain.
  • www.CiclismoClassico.com

In this example, both companies do an excellent job with their website marketing efforts.  The ads caught my attention and made me want to learn more.  Both get high marks for their website marketing.  Now let’s look at what happened when I clicked through to their websites.

Website #1: VBT Bicycle Tours

From the VBT Bicycle Tours ad I landed here.

This page is great!  The website is well designed and I am getting exactly what I expected from clicking the link. They are also making it very easy on me to move the process along.  All I have to do is fill out this simple form to receive the free DVD and catalog mentioned in the ad.  Already I’m feeling pretty good about working with this company.

Website #2: Ciclismo Classico

From the Ciclismo Classico ad I landed here.

This page is a missed opportunity.  “Page not found” is definitely not what I was expecting to see.  My opinion of this company is already lowered.  Not only are they not giving me the information I am looking for, they also seem wasteful by paying for ads that go nowhere.  I get the impression that they’re too big to possibly care about me if they don’t even care enough to make sure that their links are working.

A clear winner and a clear loser

The second example here, unfortunately, is a lot like my friend.  They put a lot of effort into their petitioning to get into the race but their race car is simply not ready.  The message I am receiving from their landing page does not match the ad and they have lost me as a potential customer.

By contrast the first example here does everything right.  I will fill out the website form and look forward to hearing from them.

Your website and your website marketing efforts are teammates

Always keep in mind that your website and your website marketing efforts are teammates.  Both need to perform well to stay in the race. If you are putting time into crafting an email or a radio spot announcing a great new service you offer, make sure that your website mentions it prominently.  Similarly, if you are running a search engine ad (like the example above) make sure you create a landing page that reinforces your ad text.  Sending visitors to a generic homepage is not enough.

Competition online is massive.  Building traffic alone is not enough.  By unifying your website marketing message and your website, you present a unified front that will increase your ROI by moving potential customers further along in your sales process.  We all want to get into the race, but be sure that you’re ready to do well once you’re in. Don’t be like my poor friend with his underperforming race car!

He’s still very sad.

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