Whether we are talking business or life, I am of the opinion that you do have to ask. Yes, there are the romantic events where “You don’t have to ask” can and occasionally does apply.
But, the truth is if you don’t ask, you don’t get. It’s the same on the web – if you do not call to action you do not convert visitors to buyers.
I can think of experiences as a child, where if I had asked, the outcome would have been far less uncomfortable and embarrassing. If only I had asked “Can you stop at the next service station?” (Maybe I should have just wriggled a little louder.)
The same applies in business. I have been in sales for 25 years and I would not exactly be being honest if I said the following never happened to me:
Carl: “Hello Bob, just called to catch up on your thoughts since our meeting, last week, about which printer you are looking for.”
Bob: “Hello Carl, yes we have ordered an ABC123. Thanks for all your help.”
Carl: “You’ve ordered one. But you did not order it from me?”
Bob: “Oh, I thought we were quite clear what we wanted when you were here. When you didn’t ask, we assumed you did not want the order from us.”
Worst still, I probably thought as I left the meeting that I should have asked, but I did not go straight back in and ask or make that call the next day, rather than a week later. We know, but we often still don’t.
A simple, “Can I Help?”, “What Can I Help You With?”, “What is it you need?”… Can ensure mistakes are not made and opportunities are not missed.
So let’s look at your website, the shop window to your business. No matter how good it is in showing your products or services, if you do not make it simple for a visitor to progress past looking, then they will go away.
There are a large number of “window-shoppers” who end up buying. The shop window is attractive; the terms are good; there is a door to enter and the staff are politely attentive (not more interested in talking about last night’s soap opera). Having decided to act, by going through the door they have changed from a window shopper to a buyer.
A visitor is looking at your website. More often than not they are more than a window shopper, because they have done a search, which steers them to your website, or they have been referred from other advertisements or word of mouth.
They are interested enough to want to know more or even to buy. What action do you want them to take?
Do you want them to call you? Is your telephone number easy for them to find? If it isn’t might this imply you do not want to be called?
Even if your telephone number is there, is this enough? Asking is not all that is used person to person. Whether it is asking more than once or using other things such as body language, many influences are used in getting the desired action.
So it has to be on your website. Your telephone number is there to use, but the visitor still needs to be told to use it. They need to be called to action. This can be subtle such as repeatedly saying in your main text something like “…give us a call for a chat.” Alternatively it can be blatant frequent pop ups saying in bright colours “CALL ME NOW!” As in the person to person scenario the objective dictates the means.
Remember that your website is open 24×7. If your business is then tell the visitor, “Call us any time”, alternatively call the visitor to an alternative action. With call me back or send message options, you are letting the visitor know you are interested in their business.
It is quite possible you can use more subtle and direct calls to action on your website than you can in your shop or business. In the same way you are able to steer the type of visitor you want to your website, you can also call the visitors you want to business with to action.
This should be reviewed as you review the (type) of visitors to your website. Subtle changes on the web can be achieved at little to no expense, but have almost immediate effect – a little simpler than relocating, redecorating or redisplaying.