2 Simple, Critical, Landing Page Rules

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If you run online advertising, chances are you’ve created landing pages to go with your ads. If you haven’t, you should make landing page creation your next project! Taking a usepalette-1482678_1280r to your general website, instead of a landing page directly related to the ad they’ve just clicked on, is a mistake. Why? Because the person who clicked thru has done so because something in your ad interested them. If where they land is unrelated, they are sure to bounce, and then you’ve lost them.

The function of a landing page can vary: get the sale, get the lead, get the registration for your event. No matter what action you want your reader to take, there are 2 things you must make sure to do:

The offer or key message from your ad needs to be front and center on your landing page. When a user clicks on an ad, it’s important there’s a payoff. Use what made them click in the first place to drive them further to take action when they land on your page. For instance, if you are advertising ‘Save $100’ on your ad, make sure that’s a primary message that greets the reader.

The creative approach of your ad, even if it’s just with a particular font, needs to match your landing page. Continuity between your ad and landing page is important in keeping the experience smooth for your reader.

There are of course other things you should do on your landing page, like making sure your call to action is clear and including social proof (reviews from others), but you need to test your landing pages when you make your decisions on those design elements. What works for others won’t necessarily work for you.

5 Sources for Inspiring Marketing Content

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By Sue Brady

IdeasIt’s not news that engaging, informative and interesting content is key to gaining readership and attracting visitors to your website. Many business websites have blogs. In fact, the number of blogs from January 2015 to January 2016 has risen by 25% to 276 million (source: statista.com).

And there are plenty of stats about how blogging can help a business. Just these three stats alone from Business2community.com should be enough to convince you that you need a blog on your website. Sites with blogs that have continual postings:

  • Have 97% more links to their site
  • Generate 55% more site visits
  • Have pages indexed <by search engines> 434% more often.

So where do you get the content for those blog posts?

The Competition – What does your competition post about? Reading your competitors’ content can give you a good sense for how they are positioning themselves. And, it can give you some good ideas for your own content.

Customers – Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. If you were in the market for your product, what would you want to know about? You can even take the step of asking some of your customers what’s important to them. All great fodder for future posts! Plus, your customers post on social media, sometimes about your company. Stay vigilant in tracking those posts so that you can identify topics that are of interest.

Your Salespeople – Ask your salespeople what objections they hear most often when they are on sales calls. Use those objections as a way to formulate content that counters them. You wouldn’t want to say: “Our customers say our product easily breaks. But our studies show…” Instead you’d write a post about how you build your product using the top materials available in the industry.

Your Customer Service Staff – These people are on the front-lines. They talk to your customers every day and have great insight. They may be able to identify potential issues that may come up on their calls, and if you can tease them out, you can write a post that counters an issue before it becomes a real problem. And, they hear about other things, not just issues. All of that can be turned into compelling blog posts.

Other Bloggers – Identify bloggers who write about your industry and actively read those blogs. They will be a great source of information that you can write about too.

Write on!

 

5 Obvious Things you Should be Doing on your Website, Part 2

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By Sue Brady

Breadcrumbs Read on for 5 tweaks you can make to your website for immediate improvement. Part 1 from a few weeks ago covered some very obvious tweaks (Obvious Things Part 1). These are less obvious, but equally important. Remember, your website is the window into your brand’s world, but it won’t do you any good if your visitors don’t read what you want them to, or take the action you desire.

Assuming your website goals are engagement and conversion, here are some things you should do:

1. Images. Images on a website are of course important. The key is to make sure they have the desired response. There are several things to consider:

Images of Humans. The risk with showing people is that a visitor might immediately think “that person is nothing like me,” and assume your product cannot be for them. We tested this a lot during my days at AOL, and almost without exception, showing people depressed our response.

Faces of your images. If you are showing faces, make them work for you. Make sure photos of people are looking where you want the consumer to look. One example is illustrated in this KISSmetrics article, and there are many others. This example shows that when a baby’s image was moved so that rather than facing front, he was facing towards the copy, viewers tended to read the copy (and spend less time on the baby’s face). Note, some heat-mapping is created using eye-tracking where users are in a lab and actual eye movement is captured. The more common (and less-expensive) heat-mapping these days is based on mouse movement.

I’ve read other tests where having a person in a photo pointing in a direction caused viewers of the page to look in that direction. It’s worth a test!

2. The Rotator (aka sliders or carousels). The rotator is the large ‘changing’ image that frequently appears at the top of a webpage. They look great and tons of sites have them. But they don’t work. Consumers don’t like them. This is not new information. Web experience designers have been saying this for years. Here’s a good article on the subject written by Shane Melaugh, aptly titled “Why Sliders Suck” that quotes several web experts who have a lot of experience in this area. Generally, findings show that sliders are ignored or annoying, and click-thru rates are awful. He also includes a list of marketing, website and user experience optimization websites that don’t have sliders, just to further illustrate the point.

3. The text. Break up your text. There are so many studies that have been done that prove that readers like bulleted or formatted lists, rather than straight type. Typical consumer behavior is to scan websites to find relevant information. Make it easy for your potential customers to do that.

And only use text that’s necessary. Shorter is almost always better. And small, easy-to-understand words are your best choice. Unless you are writing for a highly technical audience, keep it simple. I’ve been marketing Internet products of one kind or another for many years, and I still have to convince others in my industry that over 50% of consumers do not know what the term broadband means. We know what it means because we’re in it everyday, but the average person understands ‘high-speed’ much better.

4. Search Engine Optimizaion (SEO). There are several things you can do to improve your SEO, and they are not difficult.

Sitemap. Make sure you have a sitemap on your home page. It should be in the footer of the page, and it can be in smaller sized type. Basically, Google can find you more easily if you have a site map.

Page titles or meta tags. Each of your web pages has a title that’s searchable by search engines. Use keywords in your titles, as well as your company name. You can read more about that here.

Keywords. You should have some of your important keywords visible on your home page. Don’t overdo it, but use your real estate to help make your site searchable.

5. Breadcrumbs. Consider testing breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs allow your visitors to know exactly where they are on your site. They can help with your bounce rates (rate at which users leave your site) and seem intuitively to be a good thing. There are two kinds: Path-based and Attribute-based. Path-based provides an easy method of navigation for a user because they can see where they are and easily click back to a prior page. Attribute-based follows various specifications a user has made while traveling your site and is usually found on ecommerce sites. The first is more common and easy to set up, the second, not so much. You made want help setting up that method because it can cause problems with search engines and duplicate content.

In the picture below, the path-based breadcrumbs are Footwear and Women’s Footwear. The attribute-based crumbs are Ankle Boot and Water Resistant. Those aren’t clickable,  but a user can ‘x’ out of them to remove them from their searching.

Breadcrumbs

 

Please share, and remember, friends don’t let friends have bad websites!

‘Must Knows’ on Mobile, Apps and eCommerce

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By Sue Brady

shopping-cart-304843_1280

 

It’s common knowledge that mobile is playing a bigger role than ever in eCommerce, and it’s important to understand why.

Mobile

I found some interesting stats from Criteo.com that show that consumers are using multiple devices and that a larger and larger number of those consumers are completing their transactions on a mobile device. They studied over 1.4 billion transactions and found that:

  • A full 31% of all transactions happened on a mobile device in 2015
  • 35% who used more than one device ultimately purchased using their mobile
  • More than one device is used in 4 of 10 Internet transactions
  • And, those that have multiple devices are 20% more likely (than the average user) to complete their transaction on their mobile device
  • Mobile share of eCommerce transactions has grown from 27% in Q4, 2014, to 44% in Q3, 2015
  • For mobile purchases, Smartphones outpace tablets (56% smartphone vs 44% tablet).

And all that only serves to highlight that if you take transactions on your website, your mobile site needs to be consumer friendly and mobile appropriate. And mobile appropriate doesn’t mean responsive. In fact, given this data, you should ensure that your mobile website makes it easy for a user to get to, and check out from, the shopping cart. That’s not always easy to do using responsive design so look into other approaches (like Adaptive Design for instance). Here’s a post I wrote a couple of years ago on why I favor adaptive design…and I still do!

Also, your website must load quickly. 40% of users will bail if your site takes more than 3 seconds to load. And each second over that sees an exponential increase in that bounce rate (source: getresponse.com).

Apps

In addition to mobile sites being of greater and greater importance, apps are gaining ground in mobile commerce. Again, more interesting data from Criteo: Of retailers that have over 25% of their transactions coming from mobile, their apps generate 58% of that mobile revenue. Their apps are converting at 3.7% times the rate than their mobile sites. And, order values were higher when a customer ordered via the app – higher than mobile browser and desktop buyers.

There are a number of online sources that give advice on designing mobile apps, and here’s a good one that covers the basics.

Email

If you use email to sell, it’s important to know that 53% of emails are opened on a mobile phone or tablet (source: emailmonday.com). If you don’t have a mobile friendly view, almost everyone who opens your email will bail immediately. And if they open and click thru and land on a non-mobile friendly website, almost 60% will bounce!

Let this year be the year you focus on all things mobile.

New Year

5 Obvious Things you Should be Doing on your Website

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By Sue Brady

Aces

It’s easy to overlook the obvious. So here are a few helpful hints to remind you of some basics to make sure your website starts the New Year on the right foot.

  1. Ask customers to take the action you want them to take.

Buy now. Learn more. Add to Cart. Checkout.

If you don’t tell your customers what to do, they might not do it. Here’s a post on this subject.

2. Make it easy for your visitors to take an action. The harder they have to work for it, the less likely they are to do it. I was on a well-known site yesterday and really wanted to add a photo book I’d created to my shopping cart. I couldn’t do it. I could clearly see the quantity button and the price (I drew the green arrow in the picture), but there was no ‘add to cart’ button. I had to completely exit out and come back in through a different set of commands before I was shown the ‘add to cart’ button.

Make it easy

3. Make your action buttons large enough so that they stand out on the page.

4. Don’t use reversed out white type in your body copy. Yes, this is one of my pet peeves, but it should be yours as well! Reversed out white type is hard on the eyes when used on more than a line or two of type. And if your web pages are hard to read, your potential customers won’t read them.

5. Have a mobile version of your website. Seriously, you should have done this a few years ago, but if you somehow haven’t, make it your next project. The time spent on the Internet via a mobile phone has now surpassed the time spent on the Internet on a desktop computer (Mary Meeker KPBC Internet Trends Report). Consumers now expect sites to be mobile friendly and will leave your site if it’s not (latest research from Google shows 29% will bounce immediately!). Plus, having a mobile friendly site helps you with your Google organic search. When a user is on a mobile phone, Google gives preference to mobile friendly sites over non-mobile friendly sites when it returns search results.

Obvious tips, but so often overlooked. Get your website into the best shape you can so that you start 2016 off right!