Most people think more Google traffic will solve their online marketing performance problems. “If I only had more visitors, then we would sell more, have more leads, produce more buyers (insert your most desired outcome here) ”.

That’s probably why the search engine optimisation search terms like “SEO” and “Google AdWords” are so costly to bid on and challenging to rank for on Google. Most people see them as a panacea to their website’s woes.

If only it was that easy. Let me explain.

I frequently refer to websites as sales people: it makes the whole online marketing story so much easier to explain. In this case, the traffic your site receives from Google or any other space is the “people” your website sees.

That leaves the site’s content as the sales message. And it is in this area that a poor performing website almost always needs work. Fixing content is a lot harder than buying more traffic. Let me show you why.

The Queen Street shuffle

Queen Street

Imagine you’ve been tasked with selling home alarms to Aucklanders. (Quick FYI: if you need one then visit Ray at Garrison Alarms – they have been a Permission client for a while and will not let you down).

On your first day you walk down Queen Street and approach everyone to pitch your offer. Young, old, male, female, those in suits, those in jeans – it doesn’t matter. Just rock up to everyone who walks towards you and pitch them the same sales script in the hope that someone will buy.

The script is simple. Just the technical features of your alarm – its colour, alarm sound and perhaps a few alarm buzz words thrown in.

What do you think your chances of success are? Low!

The big, bold billboard


Let’s now change things with a massive billboard advertising swanky new home alarms strategically placed on the corner of Queen and Wellesley. This time you stand under said billboard wearing your uniform and and wait for people to approach you.

Gradually, as people notice the huge sign – which points to you below – they start to approach. Elderly, young, casual and business people – a steady stream of interested souls come towards you. You meet them with guess what? The same script you read to everyone before. Lots of technical stuff all about your product.

Now your chances of success have moved from low to medium. You are now talking to interested people but still they get the same boring spiel.

The Tiddles approachtiddles approach

Finally we get to the “enhanced version”. In this one you leave the billboard and visit Burger King opposite. You grab a coffee, sit at a table and scribble out a number of sales scripts for different types of buyers. The critical difference here is that the scripts focus on the benefits the customer receives rather than the product’s features.

Each script describes the unique benefits that would appeal to its audience. For instance, the elderly want a system that is super simple to operate and is monitored when they head away on the occasional cruise.

The technically inclined, on the other hand, want a solution that allows them to check from their smartphone exactly what’s happening back at base. Those who were burgled last night want speed – a solution installed right now. Those who are moving house want an alarm that is easier to use than the one they own now. Single women want a solution that allows them to arm certain areas of their home while they are asleep upstairs. And those with pets want the alarm to still work – but not work, if you know what I mean – when Tiddles is inside.

So you finish your coffee and walk back to the billboard armed with customised sales scripts. When some rocks up now you don’t start selling until you know which group they belong to. Then you take out the script that works and walk them through the benefits that best suit their needs.

Now your chances of success are probably the best they will ever be.

Now let’s relate each situation to the online world

Walking down Queen Street and pitching to anyone with a pulse is like placing a banner ad on The NZ Herald website for 50,000 visitors to see. The most likely outcomes are a hefty bill, lots of unqualified traffic and few results.

The billboard plus single sales script is like running a Google AdWords ad. While you’re now getting qualified traffic coming your way, your single, feature-driven sales spiel doesn’t relate your product to their various worlds and desires.

The optimum experience? That’s a series of landing pages written with each audience in mind. Sure, they should include some product specs, but their real focus should be the benefits that appeal to each group.

Now how do you do that when you can’t “see” the people visiting your website? You set up your site content to make it easy for people to find the page that is most relevant to them.

The key is understanding that people buy based on what the product does, not on how it does it. Pet friendly sensors are a waste of time for households without a Tiddles. Smartphone access only appeals to those with the technology and desire to check up on their home.

Struggling to know what benefits your product provides? Sit down and brainstorm all the reasons people use your service or product. The list should be long and varied.

Then look at your web pages that attract the most visitors and see how many of these benefits are mentioned. If your website suffers performance issues, I guarantee you’ll find large gaps.

Having many different customer types can make web content a challenge. However, sometimes you’ll find that the benefits most customers want are common across many groups. You’re lucky: for you, just one “script” really will appeal to nearly all your website visitors.

We came across a situation just like this a while back after surveying every lead for a business over a three month timeframe and asking them to answer just three questions. Out of this came a completely redesigned home page that replaced some “feature laden” text and a picture of a van with the franchise owner’s smiling face.

A version of this page is still running now, many years later. That’s it below.

select cleaning


Your task this month: sit down and create that benefit list I mentioned earlier. Include the whole team in its creation. Even ask a few customers for their input. Then compare this with what your content shows and see what comes up. Welcome the gaps that show up – they represent new business opportunities.

We have some experience in laying out these benefits in the right order and uncovering those with the widest appeal. Contact us today if you would like to learn more.