So . . . What’s Next? How To Avoid Dead Ends

Don’t Take Your Customer On A Journey To NowhereMarketing Dead Ends

Each element of your marketing/messaging should have a designated purpose. No exceptions.  Each should be moving the target (customer or influencer) through some element of your selling cycle. This sounds very obvious and nobody would think that their own marketing plans have “dead ends” embedded in them. Au contraire – these dead ends are fairly prevalent,  and it is not just “those other guys”.

Remember, marketing is all centered around driving behavior change. After someone has experienced your marketing activities, you expect them to do something differently. Buy something, call your toll free number, go to your web site, etc. You are expecting them to DO SOMETHING.  So . . . you have to make it easy for them to know what to do next.  Simple right?  The harsh reality is it is “so simple” that it is often overlooked.

Each marketing activity, large or small plays a role in advancing the target toward your ultimate goal. In other words – each component of your marketing mix has a role in guiding your target along the conversion path (changing their behavior in some way). Each activity the target is exposed to is one step on this journey. Every activity should prepare them for their next step in the process. Therefore it is critical you make sure it is clear what that next step is!  See my post on Customer Journey Mapping 

I have seen many instances in which firms dedicate web pages to “FYI content” with no clear indication as to what they should do next. Unfortunately this leads to a dead end – with the user left with a virtual instance of throwing their hands up in the air. In this case – the “what’s next” is likely to be leaving the site.  Although they may actually nod their head in agreement before clicking out of your site.

Examples of Dead Ends (Digital and Non-Digital)

Some additional real-life examples of not considering “what’s next” include:

  • Pages on the site with product information with no clear path to purchase
  • Printed literature pieces that describe products or services with no listed mechanism for the target to obtain additional information
  • Home pages dedicated to about us information with no easy path to the user to “learn more”
  • Just saw this one:  A printed listing of “Upcoming Events” with dates listed but no times or location listed.  There was a phone number.  It is a stretch to think people will make a phone call to get information that should have been clearly presented to them.

To avoid placing your valuable targets in limbo, always ask the question “When the target is done consuming/experiencing this activity, what’s next for them? If you have provided them with a clear path that they can easily navigate, fantastic. If you cannot answer that basic question, you have created a dead end in your customer journey.

Providing your targets with a clear next step is no guarantee they will take that step. However, not having it clearly defined guarantees a dead end for the target and poor results for your marketing efforts.