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What's the similarity between a website and a bicycle?

Written by Lerynne Verster.

What's the difference between a website and a bicycle?A few hints on how to drive traffic to your website...

The only sounds in the room were the dull hum of the air-conditioner and the crackle of a page been turned here and there. Each seat at the long boardroom table was occupied by a serious looking person concentrating on a document in front of them - each seat that is except the one isolated and rather lonely one at the far end of the table.

At last the chairman looked up, took off his glasses and played with them in between his fingers as he spoke to the senior staff assembled around the table.

“Both men are excellent candidates for the job.  They both have impressive credentials, are highly qualified and have a great deal of experience. However, we only have place for one, and today we need to decide on the right one. What we are looking for is someone with a little extra special something, something that cannot be found in the CVs front of you, something that sets this person ahead of the average, something which will enable them to help carry this business successfully into the future.”

“To help us do this, I am going to ask each candidate one final question. You can make notes regarding the responses, but I think you will know when we've found the right one.  Candice, call in Mr Kruger, please.”

Having greeted the people sitting at the boardroom table, the first candidate sat down.

“Mr Kruger, can you tell us how a bicycle works?”

Dave Kruger saw his own puzzlement reflected in the the other faces in the room.

“Well,” he said, “basically you've got two wheels that slot into a frame.  You have handlebars to steer the bike and a saddle to sit on. When the pedals are pushed part of them makes contact with the chain, which interacts with a cog mechanism attached to the wheels causing the bike to move forward.”

Although still slightly puzzled, Dave, a regular cyclist who had already done four Argus races, started warming to his topic.  He went into great detail about the mechanics of a bicycle, the different group sets and kinds of tyres that could be fitted to a frame.  The different kinds of frame, from steel to aluminium to carbon fibre. He clearly knew a lot about bicycles and at the end of ten minutes a number of people around the table were almost convinced to go out and buy a bicycle for themselves.

Just about everyone had written plentiful notes on Dave's clear and engaging manner of speaking, his confidence, his body language and obvious knowledge. Without even seeing the second candidate, the majority of people around the table were convinced that Dave was their man.

“Candice, could you call Mr Richardson in, please?”

Paul Richardson greeted everyone in the room and then took his place in the interviewee's chair.

“Mr Richardson,” said the chairman, “Could you please tell us how a bicycle works?”

Paul took a moment to consider the question and then answered, “I am reasonably sure everyone in this room has seen, if not actually ridden, a bicycle. So I am confident that you will all agree with me when I say it works because a person gets on it and starts pedalling which makes the bike move. So I'd say the thing that actually makes a bicycle work, be it an old one or a new one, the latest and greatest or the one in your grandfather's backyard, is the person on it. No matter what kind of a bicycle you've got, it won't work without someone on it!”

*******************

And it's the same with your website: it's not going to “work” if you don't “get on it” and provide some pedal power – or more specifically, some visitors to it. You can have the greatest website ever built, it can be the most exquisite site on the entire internet, it can have the finest “mechanics” behind it, but if people don't know about it, it's not going to mean a thing for you.

You don't print promotional pamphlets and brochures and then leave them in the cupboard. You don't open your new shop in a tiny, hidden back alley – and then don't even attempt to tell people where to find you. So why do that with your website?

Many people have built a website in the mistaken belief that “If I build it they will come.” Then they've sat back and waited for “something” to happen. When nothing does, they proceed to proclaim, “Websites don't work.” That's not true! Websites do work but they need someone manning the pedals!

So how exactly do you drive traffic to your website?

Here are 2 quick tips for you to start sending - as opposed to getting - people to your website (sending implies some kind of action on your part; getting is too close to the “they'll just come” misconception):

1. Put your website address (URL) on all your business stationery and promotional items.

  • Business cards
  • Letterheads
  • Compliment slips
  • Banners
  • Posters
  • Vehicle markings
  • T-shirts, golf shirts, jackets, caps
  • How will this help send visitors to your website?

Imagine you are at a sports exhibition and you see a stall demonstrating the latest golf clubs. You could actually do with a new set of clubs but you'd like to find out a bit more about these before buying them. So you chat to the salesman and then ask for his business card. He doesn't have anymore at the moment but you're welcome to contact him on 082 957 1658 – anytime. Or you can go to www.golftips.co.za – and then you can also get some handy tips for improving your swing!

What do you think will be easier to remember:
his cell number or the name of his website? You're right, most people will find his website far easier to remember than a phone number!

What do you think people will remember better when they see promotional signage on a vehicle: a cell number or a website address? And if someone wearing one of your T-shirts or caps walks around, what's likely to be better remembered: another telephone number or an easy to read and say website address? (Of course, the person wearing that T-shirt can be creating a whole impact all of their own - but that's another story! ;) )

By bringing your website address to your client's attention you give him an easy and effective way to remember you and return to you - and to refer you to his friends.

2. Give people a reason to go to your website.

You want them to go there because you want them to see all you have to offer. But what can you do to make them want to go to your website?

How about offering some free useful information? Like what?

  • 10 tips to improve your golf swing.
  • How to care for your outdoor equipment.
  • A 20 point safety checklist for your industry.
  • How to clean stains from your Persian carpet
  • 15 things to watch out for when planning for a successful year-end function

You've got a wealth of information about your product or service that people could really benefit from. But most of the time you don't get to share your knowledge and your client loses out by not having it. Why not help your client - and drive traffic to your website at the same time - by offering an article containing some of your knowledge? You get to build your relationship with your client while increasing your credibility as a reliable, helpful expert in your field and your client gets to benefit from tips and info concerning something important to him.

If, when your visitor does browse your website, you then go one step further and ask them to enter their name and e-mail address so that you can send them the valuable info you promised (instead of just displaying it straight on the website), you can steadily build up a list of people who are obviously interested in the kind of product / service you have to offer. You can then contact these people on a regular basis with further useful or interesting info pertaining to your field of business.

Just a quick note here: do not pester this list with dozens of adverts for your specific product. Such blatant advertising annoys people and they'll unsubscribe from your list faster than you can type. Rather use your list to build a relationship with people, so that they can get to know you, in an unpressurized manner, as an expert in your field. When they are ready and need what you offer, they'll come to you.

If you want to ride the Argus cycle race, you need to put in a fair amount of effort and training. If you want your website to attract more customers and help you make more sales, you also need to do your part. So, don't just sit around waiting for something to happen: Pedal! And happy riding!

* PS: Paul got the job ;)

* PPS: If you don't yet have a website, talk to us...

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