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Marketing Effectiveness

You Have Your Visitor Because Of Your Fantastic SEO (search engine optimisation), Now What?

Six questions are asked by any potential customer of any business, be it bricks and mortar or Internet based:

  1. Are you trustworthy?
  2. Are you believable?
  3. Do you understand what I want?
  4. What's in it for me?
  5. What do you require from me?
  6. Is what you are offering worth it?

Websites have very similar credibility issues as any bricks and mortar business. The big difference with a website is that it is always just one click away from losing the potential customer. There are no physical barriers to stop the visitor clicking away from your site and on to your competitor’s.

So how do you answer the first two questions quickly, are we trustworthy, are we believable?

  • Establishing Trust and Credibility

    Remember that this should be a large part of your website strategy that you set out earlier. Elements that encourage trust and credibility are

    • Testimonials from customers. There is nothing more persuasive than a third party recommending your products or services.
      Testimonials should be present on the index or home page of your website.

    • Awards. If you or your company has been recognised in your industry, or you have personally received some merit, show this on your index or home page and also again on your “about us” page.

    • Privacy statement. This usually states that information you receive from customers won’t be on sold or given to a third party. Many websites gather names and addresses, and then sell the list to others for marketing purposes.

    • Terms of trade. This page clearly sets out your terms of trade so there is no confusion between the parties as to each party’s requirements and expectations.

  • Website Design

    • Down load speed. There is nothing more annoying to a visitor than waiting for a page to download onto their computer.
      Research has found that if a web page takes any longer than 8-10 seconds download time ON DIALUP, you will start losing visitors. There are still too high a number of Internet users on a dial up connection to ignore this requirement.
      Text adds very little to download speed. The main culprits are images. Images need to be “optimised”. This means the best possible quality image at the lowest possible size. By size I mean file size, although actual size does have an effect on file size. If you have taken a high quality photograph and loaded it onto your computer, the size may be several megabytes in file size. This will need to be reduced to somewhere around 1% of the size. Images should be around 10-20 kilobytes in file size. Don’t put images on a page for the sake of having pretty pictures if it is going to increase download time above the optimal 8-10 seconds, and don’t lower the quality of your images to such an extent that they are fuzzy. It’s all a compromise.
      Images should have their height and width dimensions set in the HTML code, because it allows the browser to continue to download the rest of the page without having to keep adjusting the page for an image that is still downloading at a slower speed. This speeds up the download.

    • Layout. Your website’s page layout should be based on recognised standards. Research was done to establish how a web page was read. It was found that most visitors start at the top left, move to the centre of the page, move to the right, then across to the left. This information has led to a standard layout for the index or home page that starts with the company logo at the top left, main content in a centre column, testimonials, guarantees or awards in the right hand column, and links to other pages in the left column or across the top.
      There is nothing more annoying than trying to navigate around a web page where someone has used their “artistic” flair. I have seen links positioned in the middle of a web page. It took me some time to realise they were links. If I had been a customer, I would have given up trying to navigate the site and gone elsewhere.

    • Professional Design. Your website can’t look “homemade”. If it doesn’t look like it has been done professionally, your potential customer is going to assume that the goods or services you provide may be “homemade” as well. If you can’t afford to have a professional web site, where else will you cut corners.

    • Clear sales pathway. It may appear obvious, but having a clear sales pathway for your visitor to follow is critical. By this we mean the steps from when a visitor has decided to purchase a product, added it to their shopping cart right through to how they pay for the goods needs to be as simple as possible. If the pathway is clumsy or difficult to understand, your customer will be lost.

  • Compelling Sales Copy

    Sales copy is such an important topic, it deserves a website to itself. Sales copy is what is missing on 90% of websites. Think of sales copy as the wording you would see in a newspaper advert. It serves the same function of grabbing the reader’s attention, and then convincing them to take up the advert offer.
    It has been stated that you only have 2-3 seconds to grab your visitor’s attention, otherwise they will leave your website.
    Sales copy is not content. Your website should have a mix of good content to attract the visitor in the first place, and compelling sales copy to convince the visitor to either buy something or contact you.

    Sales copy is made up of several key elements, beginning with

    • The headline. The headline is the most important part of your compelling sales copy. It is the attention grabber. You need to spend a great deal of time on your headline, as this is when your visitor decides whether they are going to stay and read further, or go elsewhere. You are providing the answer to question 3 "do you understand what I want?" in the headline.
      The headline contributes 50-80% of the effectiveness of any sales copy, regardless of what follows. Whatever the figure is, it is still significant. If the headline hits the mark, your visitor is drawn into the page where the opening hook takes over and draws the visitor further into the web page. Take the example of this headline;

      "Is your website under performing because of these simple reasons?"

      This headline does three things:

      1. It asks a question; humans are compelled to find an answer.
      2. It identifies a problem you may have; an under performing website.
      3. It provides the answer to your problem within the web page if you care to read further.
    • It has been said that producing a great headline and opening hook is 95% perspiration and 5% inspiration.

    • The Hook. After your compelling headline has caught the attention of your visitor, the opening hook draws the visitor into the main body of your sales copy.
      The opening hook continues on from where your headline finishes. It leads the visitor into the sales copy that explains in more detail your services or products with the appropriate benefits they provide.

    • Headings. Headings are used by visitors to scan a page. Visitors don’t read a web page like a book page. They are in a hurry. They want to quickly scan the page, establish if it has the relevant information they require, and if not they will go elsewhere.
      The heading should be relevant to the topic underneath, and if grouped together, should have some sort of flow and relevance to the headline and the other headings.

    • List of Benefits. Question four, "what's in it for me?", is answered in your sales copy by listing the benefits of what you are offering.
      Don't confuse features with benefits. You need to list benefits of you product or service, not features. Your new car may feature Xenon headlights; the benefit is better vision at night.

    • Bonuses. If you can offer a bonus, which is usually for free and doesn’t cost you a great deal, e.g. “free installation with every aquarium sold”, this adds another reason for the visitor to accept the offer being made. The more bonuses the better.

    • Call to action. Many sales are lost because the sales person (or website text) doesn’t ask for the sale. Your sales copy must have a strong call to action, e.g. “Click here to book your free consultation”. Humans will put off taking action if they can. Put some urgency to the call such as, “first 50 customers only”. Question five, "What do you require from me?" is answered by you asking them to take some sort of action such as requesting contact, or purchasing an item.

    • Guarantees. Question six "Is what you are offering worth it?" is answered in your sales copy by offering guarantees and if possible bonuses if a purchase is made. Have a cast iron guarantee with any offer, e.g. “30 day money back guarantee”. The better the guarantee, the more likely the visitor will buy. If you can’t offer a guarantee for some reason, make the bonuses appear very good value.

    • PS. The PS at the bottom of your sales copy is one of the most read parts of any sales copy. That is why you must have one, and it is your last opportunity to re-emphasise the benefits your product or service has to offer. You could also slip in a surprise bonus before making a last call to action.

    I've only touched on some of the more important elements of sales copy. Many books have been written on the subject because it is such an important part of the sales process. It is not an exact science, even for the experts. The approach most take when producing sales copy for adverts and websites is to test different parts of the copy. An obvious starting point is the headline. The idea is to test several versions of the headline and see which one gives the best result in terms of sales or contacts.
    The way this works is to produce two or more identical web pages, except for the headlines. You go to Google Analytics/Content/Experiments, and retrieve special tracking script which is pasted into the various versions of the pages. All versions of the pages are uploaded to the Web. Google then rotates the different versions evenly, and records the visits and "conversions" achieved. The page with the highest ratio of conversions to visits has the most effective headline. Conversions can be when a thank you page appears after a sale, or if a particular web page is visited such as the contact page.

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