The 5 C’s of Indoctrination: Essential website elements to welcome cold prospects and convert the curious

If you only sell to people who know the value of your product or service you’ll quickly run out of new customers, doomed to forever be a small fish flopping around in a shallow pool of revenue.

To expand your market and increase sales you must indoctrinate new prospects.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of indoctrination is “to instruct especially in fundamentals or rudiments; teach.”

Your website must show cold prospects what you offer and how it benefits them.

While you can’t change people’s minds completely, you can channel their existing desire and curiosity toward your product.

Here are five elements your website must have to expand the crack of curiosity in their minds and turn cold prospects into raving fans of your products and services.

1. Control the Narrative around Your Product or Service

You control the information about your products by writing it out in benefit-rich copy on your website. This includes product descriptions, in blogs and content, meta tags and meta descriptions, rich snippets …

Everywhere you write about or market your products or services online, tell potential customers what problem it can solve for them. Don’t let the misinformed masses on the Internet tell your ideal prospects what you’re all about.

For example: herbal tea.

Tea is more than a way to pass the time. It can be therapeutic for a variety of conditions.

Your cold prospect may not be a tea drinker, but say she needs something to help get her blood pressure down so she can avoid going on prescription meds. Her sister the “health nut” told her hibiscus tea’s been shown to reduce blood pressure.

So she’s searching online for more information… If she’s convinced, she’ll buy a box or two.

When she searches “hibiscus tea” in Google, it returns a mix of information such as Shop for hibiscus tea on Google, Wikipedia and websites.

The first two websites after the Wikipedia page provide conflicting information: “11 Surprising Benefits of Hibiscus Tea” and “Risks of Drinking Hibiscus Tea.”

When your cold prospect gets this kind of conflicting info she’s not sure what to believe, and a confused mind does not buy.

What’s worse, when she clicks on the options under the “Shop for…” the product descriptions and websites aren’t any more helpful.

There’s no information about blood pressure (or even about “supporting cardiovascular health”) and the products are described with near-meaningless words like “effervescent,” “evocatively fruity” and contain florid descriptions of the hibiscus flower’s beauty.

Your ideal prospect doesn’t have time to search all over the Internet, so she drops it.

If you’re a tea seller, you’ve just missed an opportunity to convert a cold prospect into a customer.

Not only that, but your lost customer continues to struggle with solutions to her blood pressure problem, becoming increasingly despondent that she’ll have to go on expensive Big Pharma drugs.

2. Confirm Your Claims

Back up all statements, especially those regarding health, with proof. In the alternative health niche staying FDA-compliant can be a little tricky, but there are ways to provide proof of your products’ benefits.

The FDA won’t let you make direct claims in a product description such as “cures arthritis” or “emphysema remedy.”

However, the regulations around content such as blogs, emails, or newsletters are not nearly so stringent. You can write articles and provide information to your prospects about the research supporting your implied product benefits.

(BONUS: Creating benefit-rich content on your website can also help boost your organic search ranking. Instead of Wikipedia and blogs that don’t sell anything, your site can be one of the first a cold prospect sees.)

Another way to prove your statements is to use social proof. Post customer ratings and testimonials. Link to them on your website and pepper pages of copy with one or two brief social proof statements that back up your claims.

Plant Therapy essential oils is a great example. In the lower lefthand corner the Google Customer Reviews box shows they have 4.9 out of 5 stars. When a prospect clicks the box they have easy access to more than 5,000 customer reviews.

3. Clean Design, Clear Copy

This applies to both the design of your website and your copy. Think of your website as a bricks-and-mortar business.

You want people to feel curious, confident, relaxed and engaged when they enter your domain. Not looking around wondering, “Am I in the right place? What the hell is going here?” And then click away as fast as they can.

Clean design and clear copy draw in cold prospects and make them feel comfortable. The Benefits of Honey website is a classic example how NOT to design and write your website.

  • There’s no one focal point so there’s no “flow.” Your eyes bounce around like a pinball trying to figure out what to do.
  • There’s an overwhelming amount of pictures, links and options
  • There are too many ads and they’re placed in such a way that they get in the way of reading the content.
  • The social media buttons aren’t standardized and they’re repeated twice on the home page.

It’s paralyzing.

Set up your website like Starbucks sets up their coffee shops: the flow is controlled from one logical point to the next (the front door, the order-and-pay station, the pick-up station).

If you’re waiting in line there’s plenty of interesting and relevant add-on purchases available, such as newspapers, muffins, mints and gifts.

Plan your website with these successful principles in mind.

4. Come Say “Hi!”

If your website is the virtual home of your store, where are you in the mix?

Are you at the counter, greeting folks as they come in? Or are you hiding in the storeroom, leaving guests to wonder, “Who runs this joint?”

Don’t hide behind your product or company. Your ideal customers don’t trust faceless businesses. They rely on people like you to help them.

Include your backstory, why you care about what you do, and why you’re an authority on the subject. Include the names and pictures of your staff as well.

The Traditional Cooking School About page is an excellent example. Wardee Harmon shows who she is, why she cares and how you, the visitor, can benefit from traditional cooking, all in one clean and well-written page.

5. Capture Your Visitors’ Contact Information and Continue the Conversation

It’s imperative you offer your visitors something of value in exchange for their email address. Don’t say, “Sign up for our newsletter” without offering something in return.

Nor should you offer a discount on their next purchase. That devalues your product or service in their eyes, and they’ll probably unsubscribe as soon as they get what they want.Instead, offer them something they want and can use.

Food Babe Vani Hari specializes in investigating the hidden toxins in food and everyday items. The gift-for-contact-information of “10 foods plus 6 habits” is easy to consume and engages her new visitors with the healthy living lifestyle.

There’s a saying in marketing, “The fortune is in the follow up.”

So when you collect this contact information, use it! Have a welcome sequence and regular emails in place to keep the conversation going and the prospects engaged and curious.

The purpose of your marketing is to build a relationship with potential customers and your fan base alike, so include content and value in your emails, not just “Buy more stuff!”

Implementing the 5 C’s of Indoctrination will help bring new customers into your world and make them feel comfortable and valuable enough to do business with you. They discover the benefits of alternative health and you increase your reach and revenue. It’s a win-win.

Get your own quick-reference 5 C’s of Indoctrination Checklist.

Links in this article:

searchers “hibiscus tea in Google”:

Plant Therapy:

Benefits of Honey:

Traditional Cooking School about page:

Food Babe: