Here’s an expirement you can conduct in your local shopping centre car park tomorrow. Print out 100 sheets of paper with an item you want to sell and your phone number, or the contact details where people can buy it. Then stick one sheet under the windscreen wiper of 100 random cars. Wait a week and see how many calls you get. Chances are you’ll get none – possibly one. Now repeat the exercise, this time printing out 2,500 sheets of paper and sticking one under the windscreen wiper or every car. Yes, you’ll probably get more calls.
It really is rather simple mathematics. To get more sales you need to reach more people. Tesco makes millions of pounds profit each week, but it serves tens of millions of people. My corner store only reaches a thousand or so people every few days, so is not going to make anything like the money of a supermarket – in spite of higher margins.
Anyone in business understands this simple fact of life. You make more money if you reach more people. Online, businesses are translating this concept into “traffic”. The more people I get to my website, the theory goes, the more money I’ll make. Wrong.
People are chasing the wrong bit of maths here. What most businesses do is build a website then spend thousands in trying to get that site maximum attention. But new research confirms that the theory of the Long Tail is right. You make more money if you concentrate on producing loads of pages. According to the study by HubSpot, there is a relationship between sales leads and the number of pages you have on the web. A website with less than 60 pages gets an average of 5 sales leads each month. But if you have more than 300 pages you’ll get over 70 sales leads a month.
If you reconsider the car park analogy, a small website is like having just a handful of sales leaflets and hoping that by placing them on a few car windscreens everyone will see them. With a large, multi-page website you are effectively plastering all the cars around with sales leaflets.
A website with a large number of pages also shows people the depth of your material, making them more interested in what you have to offer. People “weigh by the pound” and so does Google. The more pages you have, the more you are trusted and the more Google likes you. That leads to a circular arrangement whereby you get high ranking and more people see you, who then like you because you have lots to offer.
If you are seeking more sales online, stop fiddling around trying to get your website noticed more. That’s like putting a leaflet under one car windscreen wiper and then shouting at every one in the car park to try and get them to walk over and look at it. Instead, simply create more pages on your website. You’ll reach more people that way – and according to this latest research you’ll make more money by attracting more sales leads. Attempting to get your website noticed more or trying to get your pages ranked more highly in search engines could be wasting your time. You’ll be more profitable if you spend that time on creating more pages instead.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+