Are your product pages letting prospects just walk away?

After yesterday’s reminder that product pages actually need to contain a sales story, I’d like to conclude our look at the perfect product page with something we’ve covered many times before: the call to action. Everything on the product page should be geared up to luring the visitor into taking the next step and somehow engaging with you, whether it’s requesting more information, asking for a sales call or even buying the product directly, if appropriate. That is the aim of the page, not the cop-out of “downloading” a brochure, which so many marketing managers seem to consider to be some sort of successful outcome. I guess it is if you’re the sort of person who considers handing out a brochure to a passer-by at an exhibition (and then letting them walk off) to be some sort of a result. You should be looking for so much more.

(Aside: I spoke to one company a while back which said the aim of its product pages was to get people to “download” the PDF brochure. That was all. When I looked, the brochure had come from an overseas manufacturer whose products they distributed in this country, and didn’t even have their own company’s contact details on it.)

For most companies, the objective of their product pages will probably be for the prospect to get in touch to request more information or to ask for a sales call. It’s amazing how few pages really work hard to “close the deal” in this respect, leaving the visitor to do all the work. Every time you’ve hit the visitor with a benefit offered by your product, there should be a prominent call to action, effectively saying: “Like the idea of that? Here’s your next move” and making it as easy and attractive as possible for them to do so.

There’s a lot which has been written about the effectiveness of different types of link, colours of button, etc. That’s fine, but it’s just fine-tuning; most product pages which I see don’t have any real call to action at all. And your call to action doesn’t even need to send the visitor elsewhere on the site if it’s possible to meet the objective of the page with a minimal amount of information; examples would be for prospects to call you on this number, or to request the latest price list by filling in their name and email address on a quick form. A great product page can sell a product’s benefits and get the prospect into the sales loop all on one screen.

Nowadays, more prospects will be seeing the product page on your website than will see a printed brochure. Yet you’ll sign off £2,000 on a brochure and allocate no budget to producing the product page on your website. I believe that every product page should have its own (decent) budget, to be spent on great photography, professional copywriting and a decent presentation of the sales story, such as a video. If you can spend £2,000 on a brochure, you can spend a lot more than you currently do on your website’s product pages.

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