While the digital advertising industry is always abuzz with best practices, hottest trends, and catchphrases, it unfortunately lacks direction. For instance, everyone knows content marketing is an awesome strategy, but ask business owners or marketers what it really is and why you need it and only a few will be able to give definitive answers.
Tips and advice about making your Web marketing efforts more effective, with a focus on branding issues. Including issues around Web design, usability, user experience and more. From Toronto digital marketing agency Fruition Interactive.
Recently, I heard a news report, which claimed Walmart had lost market share to its competitors over the past few quarters. This statement, alone, did not seem “out of the ordinary” or odd considering the economic climate we’ve experienced over the past two years or so.
I did, however, find the reason for this decline somewhat interesting. As it turns out, Walmart did what a lot of businesses sometimes do when looking to grow. They focus on a new market instead of re-focusing their efforts on retaining or attracting more of their core customers.
At some point, during the economic slowdown, Walmart changed their strategy in an effort to attract middle–class families. This seemed to work – for awhile. However, for some reason, their core customer (lower income families) started to shop elsewhere.
Then, as the economy began to pick up steam, middle-class families who shopped at Walmart during the slowdown went back to their old shopping habits and dropped the big-box store from their weekly shopping trips.
This is a situation many businesses face on a regular basis, including Fruition Interactive. When you try to appeal to everybody you end up reaching no one. Forgetting who your best or core clients and customers are can be disastrous, as we’ve seen here with the Walmart example.
photo credit : ogimogi
Recently, I wrote an article called Is Your Website Converting Leads into Gold? In it, I discussed the importance of optimizing your website or landing page for lead conversion.
With that in mind, here are 15 additional ways to increase your conversion online:
1. Keep your most important sales elements “above the fold” (ideally on your home page, without scrolling). This usually means putting your most interesting content with a convincing call-to-action and perhaps even a photo of you (to build trust and rapport). Tip: Tools like CrazyEgg can help reveal your most important content that should be at the top left side of your page.
2. Are you using a standard and up-to-date web design or blog theme? Navigation should be immediately understandable. Is there a lot of distracting navigation leading your customers away? Remove it.
3. Let prospects know they’re buying from a human being. Keep the copy personal, friendly, and (for most markets) informal. Sound like a person, not a robot.
4. Simplify your content.
5. Do your headline and subheads tell an intriguing story if you read them without any of the rest of the copy?
6. Make the first paragraph easy to read.
7. What’s the experience of using your service? Could you make that more vivid with a testimonial video or a great case study? (we’re currently in the process of doing this for ourselves)
8. Got testimonials? Use them.
9. Is your message confusing? Can a bright ten-year old read your sales copy and figure out why they should use your service. You might be an expert in your industry, but your prospects aren’t.
10. How often are you using the word “You”? Can it be increased?
11. Have you made yourself an authority in your market?
12. Throw in some more proof that what you’re saying is true. Proof can come from statistics, testimonials, case studies, even news stories or current events that illustrate the ideas your product or service is based on.
13. If you demand a pretty penny for your services make sure your web design and content is congruent? If your average client brings in $15,000 annually, make sure you own your own domain and its not a site your nephew built (unless they’re really that good).
14. Cut all long paragraphs into shorter ones. Make sure there are enough subheads so you have at least one per screen. If copy looks daunting to read, it doesn’t get read.
15. Increase your font size.
Did I miss any?
About the Author:
Mitch Fanning is VP of Strategy & Business Development for Fruition Interactive (Toronto, Canada), a professional member of Social Media Club, and founding member of Social Media Club Niagara. He’s spent 10 plus years working with businesses of all sizes, from global brands – to mid-sized B2B companies – to some of Canada’s fastest growing Internet start-ups ranked in the PROFIT 100. Follow Mitch on his adventures in new media at [mitchellfanning.com].
Did you like this article? Check out additional articles on optimizing conversion here.
It’s more than just a logo
I hear a lot of business people — and a lot of branding specialist, who should know better — talk about branding as if it were just a logo, or just a visual identity for an organization. But a brand is so much more than that. It’s about the total experience of your business and how that experience connects with and appeals to your customers.
Take Apple, for instance. They don’t have a great brand because they have a great logo. They have a great brand because they offer simple, elegant experiences that work like magic. The logo is just a symbol of that experience.
A great visual identity can be an effective short-hand for a promise of a great experience. But a great brand experience can inspire people to take action. And a key element of your brand’s experience is your Web site.
3 elements of an experience
In order for your brand experience — and your Web site — to be effective it needs to connect with your customer on 3 different dimensions:
- Aesthetic – this is the sensual dimension of the brand: how it tastes, what it smells like, what it looks like.
- Meaning – this is the social impact dimension of the brand. For instance, fair trade coffee has a meaning above and beyond what the coffee tastes like or how effectively it perks you up. This can speak to people’s aspirations of who they want to be, as well.
- Benefit – this is the “what’s in it for me” dimension. How does your product or service tangibly make life easier for your customers.
So how do you get your Web site to connect with your customers? You’ve got 3 main tools:
- content (perhaps the most overlooked of the 3)
Each of those elements has to reflect
- the sensual experience your customers want — is it fun? is it staid? is it dependable? is it innovative?
- the aspirational aspects your customers want — how does it make people or the world better or different?
- the logical, tangible immediate benefits your business can bring
If they don’t, or if they’re pulling in different directions, you’re missing an opportunity to influence and inspire and to get the full benefit your site can bring.
At Fruition, we talk a lot about Web site usability and good online user experience. It’s kind of what we do around here. But as a business person, why should you care about whether your Web site is clean-looking and easy to navigate?
It’s about conversions
Increasing your site’s conversion rate is the easiest and most cost-effective way to generate new leads and new revenue from your site. Period. You don’t need to spend a dime on driving new traffic to your site to generate additional revenue if you can increase the number of your current visitors who become customers. And the payoffs can be huge.
Let’s take, for example, a site that gets 20,000 unique visitors in a month. There are a lot of sites that do this kind of traffic. If we can increase their conversion rate — the percentage of those visitors that become customers — by 1%, that’s 200 new customers a month.
What’s the lifetime value of a customer to your business? For a lot of our clients, that number is in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. And what would you spend to increase your sales by $200,000 a month?
So how does Web site usability factor into this math?