Why does your company engage in marketing activities? It’s not to show off your creative talents. It’s not because you have extra money lying around that you need to spend. It’s to attract the right people to your business. It’s to generate leads and to turn those leads into customers. It’s to point people to you, right?
Still, there are two times when it’s OK to point potential customers to someone else. And not only is it OK—it can actually work in your favor.
It’s OK if you’re providing helpful information. Of course we want potential customers coming to our website. That’s where we engage them. That’s where we can help meet their needs for information. It’s where we can qualify them as leads by seeing how interested they are. And it’s where we can win them as customers.
Conventional wisdom always said that you never wanted to lead anyone away from your website. Once they were gone, you might never get them back. But sometimes directing visitors to a neutral site actually strengthens your claims. If an independent site confirms the information you’re putting out (and even substantiates that your solution really addresses a problem) it’s a win. Having another site verify the validity of what you’re saying actually helps establish your credibility.
Of course, you want to be careful. You generally don’t want to send potential customers to a competitor’s site. But if the site is neutral and accurate, it can be helpful to your visitor. And it shows that you’re not hiding anything.
It’s OK if you’re not a good fit. Not everybody who visits your site is your customer. If you’re offering something that’s a high-end, expensive solution and your visitor is looking for a low-cost solution, you’re not a good fit. Don’t waste his time—or yours—trying to convince him. Point him to someone who can better meet his need.
Not only does it save you from wasting time marketing to someone who really isn’t your customer, but also if he has a friend or colleague who is looking for the kind of solution you offer, he may point his friend or colleague in your direction. You may not have been right for him, but you may be a good fit for his colleague.
Should your focus be on doing all you can to direct visitors to your site? Absolutely! Integrate all of your marketing efforts. Use direct mail, email, and social media to drive potential clients to your site. But don’t be afraid to occasionally point these visitors to other places if it will help establish you as an industry expert—or if you discover that you and your visitor really aren’t a good fit.