On the Web, communicators must first and foremost help those who
want to be helped, rather than trying to reach brand new
I’ve seen some powerful ads about drug use on UK television
recently. They don’t pull any punches. At the end they advise
you to go to a website. Do you know what that website is called?
No, not “drug-abuse.co.uk“. The website is called
talktofrank.com. Who is Frank?
90,500 people in the UK used Google to search for “drug abuse”
in October 2009. 33,100 searched for “drug testing.” 22,200
searched for “drug treatment.” 18,100 searched for “drug rehab.”
14,800 searched for “drug free.” 6,600 searched for “drug
In October 2009 over 200,000 people searched for help by using
“drug” in their search terms. There were also a huge amount of
searches for words like “cocaine” (800,000 in October) and
“cannabis” (800,000 in October). The “Talk to Frank” phrase was
searched for by 60,000 people which, considering the extensive
TV advertising, is not very impressive. The talktofrank website
does do very well for a lot of the search terms, so at least it
has a quality search optimization strategy.
However, the talktofrank website and campaign reflect classic
old school communications and marketing. First and foremost it
is a campaign. It is about being cool and getting attention. It
feels that it would be boring to call a website “cocaine.co.uk“.
The whole psychology of old school pre-Web communications and
marketing is about telling you something you don’t currently
know or getting you to do something you don’t really want to do.
The marketer and the communicator set out with the aim of
achieving the organization’s objectives, not yours.
Government says that drugs are a problem. Government comes up
with a policy. Government hires an advertising agency to promote
that policy. Advertising agency creates a campaign and campaign
website. Campaign does well. Budget is exhausted. Campaign ends.
Project complete. And another website falls into decline.
The Web is where you give attention, not get it. People on the
Web are already engaged. Someone who wants to buy a Ford Mondeo
does not accidentally type “drug rehab” into a search engine.
There are millions of people out there who need help with a drug
problem, and they are actively searching for help. The Web
communicator must be absolutely focused on those who want
answers. They must ensure that those who want answers actually
This is much more boring work than planning and launching a
campaign or redesign. It’s about continuous improvement of a
website based on the testing of top tasks with real people. It’s
about grinding it out by testing a link with 10 or 100
variations of a phrase.
Think about it. There are lots of people on our website right
now whose attention we already have. Will they leave satisfied?
There are many more searching for things that we have. They
don’t need to be convinced. They are already on a journey to
complete a task that we can help them complete. Let’s help them
be successful. It’s a massive opportunity.