7 Rules to Designing a Call to Action that Converts

Last time, I wrote about the importance of having strong call to actions (CTAs) on your website.

When done correctly, CTAs can have an immediate impact when it comes to improving conversion rates on your website (something you want).

I realize for most of you, this is common sense, but when it comes to Internet marketing, I’m still surprised at how many websites lack the basics (like a strong call to action on the home page).

That said, designing and optimizing CTAs that convert is a both an art and a science.

It’s not easy, but if you’re serious about using Internet marketing to grow your business, there are some general rules you need to follow when designing a good CTA.

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Are Email Addresses the Real Currency of the Web?

I’ve been thinking about email a lot lately.

Partly, how I use it, but more about how it relates to building an audience.

But, first, a short story.

Over the years, I’ve become somewhat of an email nazi (see link for Seinfeld reference).  When it comes to personal email habits, I’m a big believer in attempting to process your inbox to zero on a regular basis.

As a result, my inbox has become my own little save haven. These days, most of the emails I receive are not junk. (My @gmail account, which is a catch-all account is another story).

Okay, here’s my point. [Read more…]

Performance Pricing and Building True Client Partnerships

I recently came across a post on DigiDay.com, which is fast becoming one of my new favourite blogs, called Agencies Must Embrace Performance Pricing.

The gist? Old-school agencies, be warned: your clients want you to put your money where your mouth is.

The article argued that the shift to performance pricing is inevitable.

Business leaders and their marketing heads expect more from their marketing dollars. They want partners who truly understand marketing’s responsibility beyond just impressions. Those who can build a brand by directly building revenue and market-share are the agencies that will endure in the 21st century. [Read more…]

Why Traffic Is Not That Important

What some companies do on a monthly basis with their online advertising budget.

Despite the fact this headline will likely infuriate some industry folk, it must be said.

When people think about online marketing, some still see traffic as the all important success metric. In fact, some still call it “hits.” (As in they want to get more hits to their site, which is not the same as unique visits or traffic).  The logic seemed simple - as long as we get plenty of traffic, we’ll get business.

Yes, traffic is great, but more importantly, your website must have an effective mechanism (or strategy) for capturing and tracking leads and/or sales.  Otherwise, traffic is useless.

For example…

[Read more…]

5 Common Misconceptions and Assumptions New Clients Have About Google Adwords

This blog post is long overdue.

Let me explain.

Recently, we’ve had a few situations with new clients who are working with us to get better results from Google AdWords.  Specifically, after a month or so, they’ve voiced similar concerns about how their campaigns were performing.

This is a common occurrence with new clients unfamiliar with Google AdWords a.k.a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) search engine marketing.  In fact, many of our Toronto-based clients who are familiar with AdWords often have the same concerns (or misconceptions) when they first start working with us to optimize existing online marketing campaigns. [Read more…]

Paid Advertising: How It Helps Generate Earned Media

A few months ago, I wrote about the basics of PPC advertising (Pay-Per-Click).  Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about how “paid” media can help generate “earned” media (advertising that is shared among friends and beyond).

To clarify, when I refer to PPC advertising, I’m simply referring to any platform that allows you to advertise on a pay-per-click or cost-per-click basis (example: Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, and LinkedIn Ads).

Why Do It?

Ultimately, our clients want to generate leads, inquires, and sales from the PPC campaigns we run on their behalf.  However, there are also other valid reasons to do PPC advertising, which may not achieve an immediate ‘hot lead’ or ‘sale’, but may do so down the road.

For example, if it makes sense for your business to have a Facebook Page you might want to consider using Facebook Ads to generate initial awareness and demand by driving people to your Facebook Page.

Running a Facebook Ad campaign, might help you get the first 1,000 people to “like” your Page.  From that point, you still have to keep them engaged, but in time, you may earn their trust and convert them into advocates, clients, or buyers.

In addition, a relatively small investment in Facebook Ads could generate a huge ROI considering the very same people who first “liked” your Page from clicking your ad also create an organic viral effect.

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words:

photo credit: Facebook

Overtime, once you’ve “earned” their trust, the same people who originally came to you via your paid Facebook Ad campaign (and who referred others) might eventually turn into a lead, inquiry, or sale.

About the Author

Mitch Fanning is VP of Fruition Interactive. He’s spent 11 plus years working with businesses of all sizes, from global brands to some of Canada’s fastest growing web start-ups ranked in the PROFIT 100.

Social Media For eCommerce Sites

In an effort to educate clients and strategic partners, I’ve started a series of blog posts dedicated to answering “frequently asked questions” we receive about interactive strategy, web design and development, search marketing, and social media.

Questions like “what is search engine marketing?”

In this post I’m addressing another common question which came from a call I received last week.  During the conversation, at one point, the caller said (not in so many words):

“I just don’t get social media.  I mean, I don’t use it, but I know there must be something to it…Can I actually generate orders for my e-commerce site using social media?  If I can, I’ll use it (social media).  If not, then I’m just not interested in it.”

Fair enough.  However, after a bit more Q&A, it was clear the real underlying issue was his e-commerce website wasn’t generating [and converting] enough traffic into orders.

Besides optimizing his search marketing initiatives, we discussed the possibility of integrating Facebook social plugins into his website to increase his referral traffic (for starters).

Many people often overlook this option, but using social plugins makes it very easy for visitors to spread the word about your business and/or product through their already “well-established” networks on Facebook.

Facebook Social Plugins

Social plugins are simple tools that can be dropped into any website, which when deployed can drive deeper engagement on websites using Facebook Likes, Recommendations, and Logins.  Facebook has even showcased some case studies that demonstrate spectacular increases in referral traffic using these social plugins.

The following are my top three Facebook Social Plugins, in order of importance and priority, for any e-commerce site looking to increase referral traffic and ultimately sales from this channel.

The Facebook Like button

The Like button lets users share pages from your site back to their Facebook profile with one click.  Implementing it on your product pages allows your visitors to tag the page with a “Like” which then shows up on their Facebook wall and their friend’s news stream. If you don’t yet have the Facebook Like button implemented on your product pages, this should be a priority.  Just like you optimize your site for SEO, you need to let visitors “Like” your key landing pages.

Facebook Recommendations

The Recommendations plugin gives users personalized suggestions for pages on your site when they might like.  You can test it for your website here.  It works even if you haven’t yet implemented the Facebook Like button because its based on what your Fans are already sharing on Facebook.

Facebook Login

The Login Button shows profile pictures of the user’s friends who have already signed up for your site, in addition to a Login button. While e-commerce websites have not been quick to adopt Login, it’s such a good fit.  Why?  Site visitors are more likely to log in with their existing Facebook account on an e-commerce site than create a new account.

Obviously, there’s a lot more to successful social media and Web marketing than the above, but it’s a good start, can be implemented quite easily, and has the potential to improve your bottom-line.

P.S. If you found these tips useful, check out our free guide, 9 Ways to Turbo Charge Your Online Marketing.

About the Author

Mitch Fanning is VP of Strategy & Business Development for Fruition Interactive. Mitch has spent 11 years working with businesses of all sizes, from global brands to some of Canada’s fastest growing web start-ups ranked in the PROFIT 100.

Photo credit: SocialCommerceToday

3 ways to get more value out of your Web site @ BNI Bay Street

I’m going to be doing a presentation next Wednesday, January 26 on “3 Ways to Get More Value out of Your Web site” as part of BNI Bay Street’s regular weekly networking group.

The 10 minute briefing will cover the 3 core principles that will help businesses get more leads, sales, opt-in’s and other business value out of their Web site.  There’ll be a brief Q+A  to follow.

In addition to the presentation, you’ll have a chance to expand your network by meeting with a couple dozen of the city’s brightest small business people.

BNI Bay Street meets at the Strathcona Hotel, 60 York St., Toronto from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. every Wednesday. The cost is $25 and includes a  lunch (it’s good food, too). Dress is business attire (so no jeans or runners, please).

If you’re interested in coming, please RSVP to me at [email protected].

15 Ways To Increase Your Conversion Online

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.