Try not to use ‘visit our web site for more information’

I picked up a brochure for a garden centre the other day. It was a nice brochure, well designed and with enough of a hook in the writing to get me interested. I wanted to find out more so I could buy some plants from them.

But there was a glitch: it was 9pm and they were closed. A line on the back of their brochure carried the cast-iron promise ‘visit our web site for more information’.

So I did. I dutifully opened my laptop, fired up my web connection and visited their web site. And when I left their site, I knew less about them than before I’d visited.

There was actually more information on their brochure than on their site. I wanted to know opening hours so I could visit their garden centre. Nothing. I wanted a list of products so I could check if they had what I was looking for. Nothing. I wanted to know how to contact them. Nothing.

What a disappointment for me as a potential customer. But the greater disaster for them was that I took my business somewhere else and I’m now telling other people of my experience so they don’t go there either.

Using the line ‘visit our web site for more information’ is kind of a given in our industry. I often speak with designers about marketing projects I’m working on and they just include it without much thought.

That’s the problem.

If people visit your web site, what extra information will they get? What’s the point of them visiting your web site?

So what should you do as a writer? Three things:

  1. Think of the reason WHY people would visit your web site after reading other material. What else would they want and how can you provide it?
  2. Stop using the generic phrase ‘for more information’. I’ve written client marketing collateral that promises ‘if you visit our web site, you can see the latest product range’ or ‘take a virtual tour of our facility’ or ‘match the colour with your home furnishings using our virtual design service’. Stop being bland – tell them what they’ll find when they get there.
  3. Think about where on your web site they could get this information. Most reference URLs on printed material just point to the home page – but is there a more appropriate page to point to? You don’t HAVE to link to your home page every time. Some IT administrators have a heart attack when I mention that because ‘pointing to the home page means I don’t have to manage all the URLs that are being referenced’. So? If you’re running your web site properly, you’ll be managing those effectively anyway.

So what do you think? Do you have an example of being let down by a web site? If so, let me know.

Or visit my web site for more information. 😉

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