Let’s get one thing straight from the start. Just throwing promotional money at getting people to visit your website home page is a waste. It’s like inviting your customers to a demonstration at your offices, then when they arrive, having a sign in reception saying: “Welcome to the demonstration. Have a wander round the building. The demonstration room is in here somewhere”. You wouldn’t do that, you’d have someone to greet them and show them exactly where you wanted them to be. Yet in adverts and direct mail every day we see companies advertising specific products from their range, but not pointing prospects at the relevant page on the website.
The only reason not to send people straight to the page on your website which picks up on your promotional message is if you’re expecting people to type in the page address (e.g after seeing a print advert), and if that address is too complicated for them to type in. Indeed, even if it’s simple (such as our directory www.bmon.co.uk/companies), there’s evidence to show that people will still just type in the domain name and ignore slashes and anything after them. So, if you can’t send people to even a simply-addressed internal page, how can you get them straight there?
Here are two suggestions. The first is to send them to the home page, but to highlight the offer there with a flash, so it’s the first thing visitors see. If you’re sending people from a print ad, make the flash pick up the graphical style of the print ad, and visitors will be in no doubt that they’re going straight to the right page.
An alternative is to set up a new domain. Lots of big advertisers do this as a matter of course now; instead of a message saying “visit bluewidgetcompany.co.uk/widgets/faster” (the page they want people to visit), they create a special domain for the campaign: “fasterwidgets.co.uk”, for example. And all that does is redirect people to the desired page. But this idea isn’t just for big consumer businesses. You can register a domain with any number of domain registration companies for less than £10 for two years, and set up a redirect simply by filling in a field. It takes just seconds. I’ve seen quite small companies use this idea on print adverts and on promotional flyers at exhibitions, and I’ve seen larger companies use it as a smart way to get people straight to their section of a big corporate website. Easy.