Sell your site with a “Webcard”

BY CHUCK GREEN No matter what we offer online, in many if not most cases, we have yet to reach significant segments of our audience. As I see it, there are three obvious groups who are tough to reach:

Audience One: Those who are not online. If the figures are to be believed, 73 percent or roughly 148 million of all American adults are Internet users, which means that 27 percent or 50 million-plus are not.

Audience Two: The computer-challenged. If your experience is anything like mine, you know plenty of successful, intelligent people who, for one reason or another, understand only the very basics of computing and of navigating the Internet. It stands to reason that they travel a limited circle of sites and are less likely to know how or where to find us.

Audience Three: Those who are out of reach. These folks are either not responsive to conventional means of the Internet advertising or they are simply traveling paths that do not intersect with ours. As of this writing, there are over 68 million active domains: if someone isn't looking specifically for you or your product or service, the odds of them stumbling across you are poor.

Finding and attracting these audiences takes unconventional thinking. One common-sense approach is a “Webcard”—a postcard-sized printed piece with a single purpose: to push your prospect to your URL (figure 1).

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Webcard: A 4 by 9 inch rack card for marketing your Web site

This prototype, a 4 by 9 inch rack card, is particularly versatile. It is easily mailed as a card or in a standard #10 business envelope along with a cover letter, stuffed into packages, handed out at trade shows, displayed in public areas, distributed by partners, and offered at every other point of contact with customers and prospects.

Plus, it is easy and inexpensive to print—2500 cards printed on heavy, 15pt card stock, with four colors and a high gloss UV coating on one side and black on the reverse side can cost as little as $200.

The first step to producing your card is to craft the message. Note that a Webcard addresses a single topic (figure 2). Why? Having too many messages or too much detail muddies the water. If you want your reader to take a certain action, don't distract them with irrelevant details. Define the primary benefit of the site to the user and point them to it. If you have several strong points, send a series of cards over several weeks or months.

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The site this Webcard promotes offers new and pre-owned paving equipment but the focus of this card is the sale of pre-owned equipment. It is not a corporate brochure—it pushes the pre-owned equipment and it does it with an economy of words, seventy-seven to be exact. The headline and text on side one clearly states the benefit and presents the URL. Side two lays out the path to follow one they get there.

The second step is to design the card so that it shows what you say. The front of the card shows the cover page of the site and highlights the tab the reader will click to get to the pre-owned equipment list (figure 3).

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The back of the card shows the exact clicks the reader will use to navigate to a page that shows the product (figure 4).

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It's that simple: you state the benefit and show how to access it by way of the URL. The images do nothing more and nothing less than show you what the message states. Images are literal—anything that adds visual interest, such as the magnifying lenses, serves a purpose (figure 5).

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Webcards: Magnify the subject with a Photoshop lens

Direct mail may seem like a round-about way to reach online prospects but it makes common sense. If your cost per contact is in line with the cost of production and postage, it would seem a Webcard is an inexpensive way to move an absent audience to your site.

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