What’s the most efficient, as well as most effective, way to get from your couch to the fridge? Is it a shortcut such as taking a giant leap? Or is it taking a number of comfortable steps?

Walking, which is one step—and always and only one step—at a time, has been the winning transportation tactic employed by people since the dawn of time. Gliding and flying aren’t possible in a living room setting while jumping and leaping are just too energy consuming to make it worthwhile. If you kept exerting the amount of energy needed for jumping, you’d end up having to make more frequent trips to the fridge than otherwise needed. So “one step at a time” is the best way to get from your couch to the fridge.

What does this have to do with book marketing?

We take the one-step method granted when it comes to biped mobility, but we forget about it when it comes to all other aspects of life. And that’s simply because we don’t practice those other activities nearly as much as we do walking. We’ve perfected walking, now let’s perfect marketing, too!

Let’s consider your website. If I asked you what the most important goal of your website was, would you say it was to make a sale? That is, to sell copies of your book or to get you hired as a consultant?

If you said yes, you may be confusing your goals with those of your website. The purpose of each step in a journey is to connect you with the next step. You see, your website is but a single step in your marketing funnel. Expecting your website to make a sale is akin to asking every new person you meet, “Will you buy my book?” It’s like trying to jump from your couch to the fridge. It’s simply too expensive, uneconomical, and it doesn’t work.

When you meet a new person, first you say hello—step one. Then you engage in a conversation—step two, and so on. You may find out that one person doesn’t read books at all, while another is actually looking for the solution your book offers. Your next step in the dialog is very different for these two people: you only ask the second person for the sale.

Likewise, your website’s goal should be to start a conversation with your visitors, and not simply to make a sale on the first visit.

Once a visitor arrives on your home page, he will have taken several steps to get there. What is the next step he should take? Call a number? Book an appointment? Sign up for a free gift or newsletter? Regardless of what it is, focus on this one step only and get rid of any other diversions or “bells and whistles” from your website. Do you want your visitor to fill out a form? Then make sure that one step is prominently featured and remove anything else that would distract her from filling out the form.

Once your prospect has taken action and filled out the form, your website is done! Now it’s your personal follow-up (whether email or phone) that will take her to the next step after that: either additional follow-up or the sale itself.

Don’t overwhelm your website visitor with multiple options to choose from; find the one purpose for your website in a multi-step marketing funnel and then let him complete that step on your site.