15th March 2018 Claire Hawes

What Friends can teach you about dead-end web pages

The one where Ross teaches us about awkward silences and dead-end replies and I teach you how to avoid dead-end web pages and keep conversations flowing

Last week I succumbed to the lure of reruns of Friends on Netflix.

In the pilot episode, recently divorced Ross admits to a crush he had on Rachel while they were at school.

Emboldened by Rachel’s response, Ross asks her: “Do you think it would be OK if I ask you out sometime?”

“Yes,” Rachel says. “Maybe.”

“OK,” Ross ponders. “OK… Maybe I will.”

Ross! Don’t you want to shake him? He got Rachel’s attention. He captured her interest. But when it came to taking the next step, he ignored her signals and gave her a dead-end reply.

What a missed opportunity!

It’s a bit like the frustration of dead-end web pages.

There is nothing more exasperating than upon finding a great product or service online, you scroll to the end of the web page, only to discover no instructions tell you where to go and what to do next.

Your attempts to continue the relationship are thwarted by an uncomfortable dead-end.

Perhaps the website owner expects you to navigate to a ‘contact us’ page. But if you’re using a mobile device, it’s a hassle to have to scroll and to click on annoying drop-down menus.

Alternatively, perhaps it’s assumed it’s not the right time in the sales process to insert a call to action. Maybe a little more decision-making is required.

But here’s the thing. Websites are called websites for a reason. A web connects you from one page to another. Hence it makes it easy for you to keep conversations flowing by guiding you to digging deeper and build a relationship.

So wherever you reader ends up on your website, think about your sales process. If you were to have a conversation with your reader offline, what would you want that person to do next?

Make a list of all the questions your customers ask themselves when they consider buying your products and services. Then answer those questions with suitable content.

For example:

When your prospective customer has identified a need

Use calls to action to build awareness of your ability to solve a problem:

  • Read this blog post
  • Sign up for a newsletter
  • Download checklists, cheat sheets and so on.

When your prospective customer is evaluating its options

Direct your readers to content that persuades them your solution is best:

When your prospective customer is ready to make a purchase

Now is the time to make it easy for them to make a decision. Offer:

  • A free trial/consultation
  • A quote
  • Other suitable offers

It really is that simple.

To recap

Once you’ve managed to get the attention of your reader and gained their trust, unlike Ross, you’ll want to keep the relationship going. So your next step should always be to guide them into taking action.

If you frustrate your visitors, like Ross frustrated his audience, by leading them to a dead-end web page, all your hard work in gaining their trust will be lost.

So add calls to action on your web pages. Your aim is to get readers to dig deeper and start a relationship with you.

Do this, and you’ll increase the likelihood of converting your readers’ interest into enquiries.

What could be better than that?

And finally

If you would like help writing calls to action that convert readers into enquiries, then do get in touch. You’ll be surprised by how easy it is to drive engagement with the power of words.

Claire Hawes, copywriter and owner of The Content BoutiqueAbout Claire Hawes

Claire Hawes is a marketing communications copywriter. She enjoys writing engaging copy that helps businesses to get noticed and attract enquiries. Claire’s experience mainly lies in the business to business sector. Her clients include both businesses and digital marketing agencies.

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