Is Click Bait Dead?

For years we’ve been taught that there must be a call-to-action button placed front and center on all websites. The most popular options for designers have included:

  • Subscribe to our blog
  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Complete our contact form
  • Contact us for a complimentary consultation
  • Download a special report

These would be supplemented by smaller social media icons for those who want to like, follow, pin, link, etc.

For most designers, the lack of screening from this approach has led to more unqualified prospects than ideal clients. Simply asking for a budget number on a contact form was never enough. Then again, few can be so picky that they don’t even engage with some questionable leads.

But now the trend in websites of top-performing designers has clearly moved to the spectacular home page photograph, or better yet several photos in a quick-moving dissolve slider. Who wants to mess that up with a bunch of buttons or “Click Me!” links? Here are a few of my favorites for you to study:

The answer is that no one wants to mess up the stunning homepage image with a clumsy button. And the image itself, if done well, will act to discourage those without budgets. Yet for those investing in beautiful websites and perhaps continuing some form of advertising, direct marketing, or SEO, it’s frustrating to think that hundreds of people may visit your website and you’re not asking them to take any action at all! That you’ll never know who they are.

Perhaps There’s a Middle Ground

Perhaps the best middle ground is to accept that by putting up a glamorous home page, you may scare away some “B” prospects, but over the long term it’s worth it because you also get rid of the Cs, Ds, and Fs. They’re just too time consuming and can lead to very frustrating projects.

But perhaps you can recapture some Bs by offering them the right “bait.” It’s not a click from the home page, but it can be something from a menu item such as “How We Work” or even “Contact Us.” There, you could have a piece of click bait that would entice them to give up their email address so that you can put them in some sort of sales funnel for follow up.

As an example, I still like “Special Reports” that are packaged as information brochures, but are in reality, sales brochures. Topics that support high-end brands can include:

  • Understanding the Return on Investment of Home Improvement
  • 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Designing a Home Interior
  • Why 90% of Design Projects End in Disappointment

I particularly like that last one, which I helped to create for a member of The Edge. The information part of the report is about things like poor implementation, project delays, price overruns, and poor communication. The sales portion of the brochure is an explanation of the systems and processes that The Edge member has in place to be sure and avoid any of these traps!

In other words, this one report is “building the deficit” as they say in the sales word and increasing the risk of loss…all while simultaneously showing how your firm avoids theses concerns.

It’s definitely a Catch 22—using your website to repel unwanted and time consuming prospects, while not throwing out the baby with the bathwater. The goal is to let A prospects know instantly that they have come to the right place. And, to get rid of Cs, Ds, and Fs. As for Bs? They’re the ones left in limbo and the ones we need to work on.

The evolution of design websites is very much a work in progress today. If you’ve found the perfect solution, be sure and share it with us in the comments section below.

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