I read a lot of articles about SEO – how to’s, must-have’s, top 10 lists, secret formulas for guaranteed success and so on. What doesn’t get nearly as much ink is something that is more important than all the SEO in the world – your website’s ability to convert traffic. You can spend all the time or money you want driving traffic to your site, but it’s all for nothing if you site can’t convert.
Here are three critical wins your website must get if it’s going to convert your visitors to online or offline leads.
A Sharp, Clean Look
A visitors first ten seconds on your website is critical. If they don’t like the look and feel they’ll be reaching for the ‘Back’ button.
In his best-selling book Blink, author Malcolm Gladwell describes how the human subconscious quickly makes many important decisions about things based on their visual appearance and these decisions strongly influence how we perceive those things moving forward.
Your website design must have a clean and organized look if it’s going to keep your visitor on-site. It should present the impression that you’re a professional company that knows what it’s doing and that they’d want to do business with you.
The look of your website should start the next phase of the engagement – delivering your businesses core message and giving the visitor a path to the next layer of what they’re looking for.
Present the Problem, Offer the Solution
If your visitor is still on your site beyond the ten second mark, give your overall look a high-five but the work is not done yet. Now you’ve got to keep their interest and take them to the next level of engagement.
Keeping them on your website through the 10 – 30 second time window is going to take more than a nice aesthetic look. You have to present the problem that they are wrestling with (or hit their pleasure point if you’re selling a pleasure based product) and show them that you’ve got the answer.
Sliders (those big rotating images typically found at the top of the main page of a website) are a great way to do this. Sliders have got a bit of a bum rap lately because usage data suggests that people have developed blind spots for sliders. This happened years ago when so many websites had banner ads across the top and sides of their site that people started tuning them out. The problem isn’t the sliders themselves – they can be very effective if used correctly – the problem is that too many website designers put bland, vague and uninspiring images and message on the sliders that they design. Used effectively, sliders should hit the pain points of those visitors who are your ideal clients and are more likely to buy from you. This is why it is so important to understand your ideal client: who they are, what they’re looking for and the factors in their buying decision – these are the fundamental considerations we look at during our project planning and preparation phase.
As you hit the visitor’s pain points, give them the solution. For each slide on your slider you could link to the page on your website that describes the product or service that you offer to solve that problem. Alternately, you can also have three or four highly visible but very succinct sections below your sliders pointing your visitor to the areas of your website that they’re most likely looking for.
Bring the Visitor Down the Stretch
If your visitor is still on your site at the 30 second mark, you’ve done most of the hard work but the job isn’t done yet. This is where the information that you present on the subpages of your website is really important.
Let’s face it, few of us are lucky enough to offer products or services in an uncompetitive category – we know there are plenty of online marketing companies around that can build websites, run social media campaigns and provide other internet marketing services and the same is probably true in your business, too. So when your website has got the visitor to those subpages, you’ve got to keep them there and make them care about what you’re selling.
Start with Why, a concept originally developed by Simon Sinak, is so important to continue bringing your website visitor deeper into the engagement. Don’t start by telling your visitor what you do, and don’t even start by telling them how you do it. Start by telling them why what you do and how you do it matters to them. If you don’t quickly present your value proposition or key differentiation point – the why’s that they care about – then you might never get to because they’ll be gone before you know it.
Identifying who your ideal client is, why they care about what you do and how to communicate them – all key components of planning and preparing for a project – are vitally important to nurture that website visitor into an online or offline lead.
Tell Them What To Do Next
If they’re still on your website one minute after they got there, things are looking pretty good. But once again, the job isn’t done yet. You’ve caught their attention, hit their pain point and offered up a solution … now what?
Tell them what to do, that’s what!
Many sites fail to convert by not having a strong call to action. They look good and present some great information, but then they just leave the prospect to do whatever they feel like and hope for the best.
Tell your visitor what to do at the end of the page. If you want them to call you, give them a phone number and tell them to call you. If you want them to fill in a form with their contact details, tell them to do so and put the form right there at the bottom of the page. If you want them to buy something in your e-store, give them an ‘Add to Cart’ button.
Whatever you do, don’t just leave the end of the page open and hope they do what you want them to.
Driving traffic to your website is a very important factor in building a successful online marketing platform for your business. But it’s not the only factor – all the traffic in the world won’t do you a bit of good if your website can’t convert that traffic. Successfully converting visitors means you have to quickly make a professional impression when they get there, give them a reason to stick around by hitting their pain points, tell them why they care about how you can help them, and finish by telling them what you want them to do next.
Your Online Marketing – it starts with a Spark!
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