Gone are the days when a simple print ad would cause your phone to ring or when a new billboard would bring curious consumers into your facility who were just waiting to be sold. Instead, thanks to the internet and social media, consumers now respond to ads by side-stepping the hard sell they get with a personal visit to your business and instead gathering, at their own time and pace, more information from anywhere they can find it: websites, support groups, friends, social media, and even strangers in forums. Because consumers are often in no rush, the sale might not occur the day they see an ad, or a week after seeing it, or even a month after seeing it. Like cats, they are literally all over the place and moving in a hundred different directions. Their erratic behavior makes it nearly impossible to know what’s working or why.

In order to advertise effectively, today’s marketers must recognize the power that consumers now have in this high-tech world and work with it rather than against it. Instead of pushing a sale, advertising campaigns (and all communication for that matter) must be seen as as a multi-step process that herds people slowly and deliberately in a highly trackable way toward the sale.

Banner ads, keyword buys, forums, social media, eblasts, and even traditional advertising all must get attention and lead people to take the first step toward you — and that’s normally to your website.

Whatever web page or landing page these clickers end up on must work hard to either convert them to the goal or at least convince them to go one step further. If these pages are “all or nothing” in the minds of the viewers (meaning “buy or exit”), you’ll likely get little. Rather, if the page is “all or this, or this, or this”, then most viewers will continue with you, learning more and growing more comfortable with you to the point that they will give you something in return, like an email address—which is gold to marketers. Getting viewers to click through to a goal is web herding. Once the goal is met and you have a relationship started, then you begin romancing your customers via Sparking.

At DC Interactive Group, we have pioneered this process we call “web herding” to an art form. We produce a chain of communication for our clients that is like a Lay’s potato chip to the audience—they just can’t quit with one click.

Click on the link to see a case study of web herding. For more, just visit our portfolio and see how the work for each client leads their customers to go from one step to the next, and to the next.  If you’d like to stay on top of web herding news, as well as get other bits of website news and helpful advice delivered right to your inbox, then join our elist.

Of course, to learn more about how to make web herding a successful part of your advertising, contact us.