The Triage Nurse
If you find yourself in the completely unenviable situation of having to visit the Emergency Room, you might want to bring a book–preferably a long book– since you’ll quite likely be there for a while, especially if your condition isn’t life-threatening.
That’s because there’s a system of prioritization that was created by French doctors in World War I known as “triage.”
Injured soldiers were placed into one of three categories:
1. Those likely to live, regardless of care
2. Those likely to die, regardless of care
3. Those for whom immediate care might determine the outcome
The idea was to give patients the level of care most appropriate to their immediate needs. The system used now (S.M.A.R.T.) is much more sophisticated, and uses a device called a “Triage Tag” to identify what needs to happen next. (See left.)
Are You Getting People Where They Need to Be?
Businesses spend small fortunes trying to get prospects to visit their web sites, only to drop the ball once they arrive.
Common errors include: no clear connection with the source that brought them to the site (the “handoff”); making the prospect go on a “wild goose chase” to find the promised information; and not “triaging” the visitor and getting them to the right place as soon as possible.
Just in case you think the “triage” term is a bit melodramatic, make no mistake about it: you have a very short amount of time to connect with the prospects before they become “dead” leads.
Step This Way, Please...
Think of triage as a kind of “traffic cop” maintaining the flow of traffic so everyone gets where they’re supposed to be as quickly, efficiently, and safely as possible. That should be your job in everything you do as it relates to lead generation.
It starts with marketing segmentation–understanding all the ways you can “dice and slice” your market and all the different niches they fall into.
Next comes the “message-to-market match” where you identify clearly which of your products and services are most relevant to these markets, and, most importantly, how they are going to help your customers, clients, and members solve their problems and achieve their objectives.
Finally, you need to tie this all together on your website’s home page.
Take a look to the left. This is the home page for www.seals. com–a manufacturer of “spray skirts” for kayaks. These are used to keep water from entering the cockpit of a sit-in kayak in case of rough water or for when you have to “roll” the kayak because you’ve flipped it over.
As you can see, the first thing the homepage does is ask visitors what kind of paddling they’re doing: whitewater kayaking, touring, or sport and recreation kayaking.
That immediately takes them, based on their selection, to a page that shows them the products–and only the products–that will be appropriate for them, eliminating confusion, and making the purchase decision much easier.
The exhibit to the left gives us another example of the triage page. In this case, the choice is simple: either you’re looking for an expert to feature on your TV or radio show...or you are the expert and want people to contact you.
Depending on which box you choose, you’re taken to either a database-driven page, where you can find experts by topic, or to a landing page/squeeze page (see below), where you’re given the opportunity to request a free report and get more information about being listed in their directory.
How Much Help Do You Need?
Finally, we have the exhibit above. This is the home page from www. SLSEventPlanning.com, owned by Sherrie Sokolowski.
She invites visitors to her website to “drill down” based on the kind of support they need for their events, ensuring that the information, benefits, and testimonials she provides are directly targeted to the prospect.
Does it take a bit more effort to go to this level of detail? You bet. Is it worth the effort? Absolutely! The more it seems as if you’re talking directly to the prospect, the more likely it is that the prospect will respond.
What Can You Triage?
Pretty much anything. The real challenge, frankly, is that there are an almost infinite number of ways you can “dice and slice” your market.
I will tell you with complete certainty that a generic one-size-fits-all approach to your marketing will deliver consistently disappointing results. It’s kind of like being a “jack of all trades, master of none.”
Incorporating the triage approach to your online marketing can produce powerful results and is worth the effort it takes to implement.