By Robert Ian French, Founder

What do you think most consumers do after watching your DRTV commercial?

A. Call the number displayed on the screen
B. Input the URL displayed on the screen
C. Google your company or product name

If you answered ‘A’: You’re partially right. Depending on the product or service and how prominently the 1-800 number is presented, about 10% to 15% of respondents will call the number.

If you answered ‘B’: You should consider a career in something other than marketing. Only two to six percent of respondents will ever enter a specific URL into the address bar of their computer. Why? Because it’s too much work and consumers – including you, me, your friends, family and neighbors – resist doing anything that requires extra effort.

If you answered ‘C’: Congratulations! You understand a basic but important marketing truism, which is: consumers always take the path of least effort, least risk and least commitment. And, more often than not, that means they will simply Google you.

And here’s the kicker – it is this exact moment, after huge numbers of qualified consumers have watched your DRTV commercial, and are now online trying to find out more about your product, that will determine the success or failure of your DRTV campaign.

Understanding this and making sure you have a bulletproof process in place to turn that Google search into a sale, is the key to doing DRTV in the Digital Age.

They saw your commercial, they’re online —— now what?

In my last article, I discussed DRTV’s unparalleled power to drive a large volume of leads and how many so-called online-only companies, such as TripAdvisor, eHarmony and Esurance were using DRTV to build their online business.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that many companies simply do a poor job of turning that DRTV-driven search into a sale. Even worse, they’re handing that lead over to their competition. Here’s how you can do better:

1. Rethink What Search Terms Prospects Use

Many companies think they know exactly what terms consumers use to search for them, but a quick look under the hood usually reveals this is not the case. The truth is, after watching a DRTV spot, many respondents will search for you using brand-related terms. We recommend analyzing the traffic being driven to your website or landing page on a weekly basis to uncover what terms consumers used to search, including those reinforced directly by DRTV.

And, if you are launching a new DRTV campaign, make sure the team managing your search efforts has seen the ad and is familiar with the script and all the terminology.

2. First Page or Bust

As we’ve already discussed, 80% to 90% of respondents are going to Google you after watching your DRTV commercial.

To convert that stream of gold-plated prospects into sales, your website or landing page must show up – at minimum – on the first page of returned search results. Remember our marketing truism: people are lazy, and if you are not on the first page, preferably in the first, second or third position, you are taking highly coveted leads generated from your DRTV campaign and putting them on your competitors’ doorstep – who, I promise, will be on the first page.

If you can’t achieve high first-page ranking organically, don’t panic. You can invest in a paid search campaign that will give you that highly coveted first-page visibility.

3. Optimize Your Landing Page or Website for Conversions

Once you have optimized your search terms and achieved much-needed first-page visibility, the next step is to ensure that your landing page or website is a conversion monster! In other words, do anything and everything you can to ensure your site converts at the highest possible levels. Here are three proven tweaks:

A. Eliminate Extraneous Content
If your website or landing page contains any content that is not related to selling your product or service – remove it. That’s right, stop reading this article, call your web team and tell them to strip your site down to its selling essentials. When they object, remind them gently that your site does not exist to make investors, regulators or existing customers happy. It is designed to convert prospects into customers and any content that does not serve that purpose is lowering your conversion rates.
B. Close Your Site
Here’s a novel idea: if you don’t want prospects to leave your site without buying, eliminate all links that are not related to buying. Remove the investor information link. Remove the link to the corporate site. Remove the FAQ link. Why? Because every link on your site is a link away from your site, lowering your potential conversion rates as a result.
C. Run Multivariate Testing
If you have enough traffic to make testing statistically relevant, there is no better way to improve the conversion efficiency of your site then running multivariate testing. And if you are not running multivariate testing on your landing page or website, I guarantee your site is not as effective as it could be.

What Should You Test?

Everything! Test headlines, subheaders, images (e.g., man, woman or couple?); bullet points versus paragraphs (hint: bullets win every time); font size, messaging hierarchy and site buttons – right down to their name, size and color variations. Test. Test. Test.

Multivariate testing usually reveals six or seven simple, inexpensive changes you can make to your site that, individually, incrementally increase conversion. Implemented together, they often result in a significant lift in conversions. And that is the name of the game.


DRTV remains one of the most powerful marketing tools available. However, doing DRTV in the Digital Age demands paying strict attention to what happens after the consumer sees your commercial and searches online for more information.

This all sounds painfully obvious, I know. But sadly, it is amazing how many companies are letting sales die on the vine, because they are not doing everything possible to convert the Search into a Sale. (Coming soon: re-targeting and the power of CRM.)

Until then, let’s do what our clients pay us for, and sell something!

We can help you grow your brand and drive results.