Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last 20 years, you’ve very likely heard of the Internet and probably use it on a regular basis. However, you may not be aware of the vital role the Internet can play in marketing your business. When compared to traditional advertising mediums, online marketing and advertising can be far more effective and can provide a much better ROI (return on investment). Compared to other mediums such as TV, print and radio, the Internet can be one of the most cost effective forms of advertising, dollar-per-dollar. Unlike a TV ad, your website is always “running”, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and you don’t have to wait for the publication to hit the newsstands. You can also change/edit your website as often as you want and there are easy ways to measure the results and traffic that it generates.
Like many business owners, you’ve probably had some form of a website for a while now but is it working for you the way it should be? The big question is how do you know if you’re getting your money’s worth? Is your website actually helping to grow your business or is it just collecting dust out there in cyber-space? Following are 6 pitfalls you need to avoid in order to get the most out of your website and thus increase sales and conversions and make more money.
1- Your Website Isn’t Creating Leads or Phone Calls
The sole purpose of a website is to help promote your business, drive sales and generate leads. If your website is not doing this for you, then you might as well not even have one. This is why it is critical to have your site created by someone who understands the principals of SEO (search engine optimization), marketing and advertising. Why spend thousands of dollars on something that’s not going to produce results? So how is a website supposed to do all of this? A website is very different to a book or magazine -no one is going to cozy up to the fireplace and spend a few hours reading your website. On the contrary, when browsing the web, people want to find the information they need as quickly as possible. The website should guide them to what they need in a fast and intuitive way. It also needs to be constantly moving them towards a call to action. This could be collection leads via an online form, entering them into a contest, signing them up for a mailing list or a dozen other things. If your website has not been designed with these principals in mind, then you could be losing out on potential sales.
2- Your IT Guy Designed Your Website
A business website is a marketing tool. If designed correctly, it can and should be the centerpiece of your entire marketing campaign. Sure it uses technology to do its job, but so does your TV. Would you hire your IT guy to write your TV commercial? Then why have him build your most critical marketing piece? It’s imperative that you have your website created by someone who thoroughly understands marketing, advertising and design. The difference between the former and the latter will be as blatant as night and day. One will have a hugely positive impact on your sales, the other won’t. It’s that simple! Does your IT guy know how to write compelling marketing copy that motivates your customers to buy? Does he know how to design a simple yet intuitive layout that draws the user in and calls them to action? Probably not. So choose a professional to design your site so that it works the way it needs to.
3- You’re Unable to Track Visitors and Traffic.
Ideally you want your website to work in conjunction with your other less contemporary advertising efforts. In fact, this synergy is critical. The question is, how do you know if it’s the print ads or the radio spot that’s driving people to your site if you have no way to track and measure the impact of your website? This is why it’s critical to have what we call “analytics” (AKA. web traffic reports) on your website. Without this vital information, you’re essentially poking around in the dark with no idea as to the impact of your marketing strategies on your bottom line.
It’s a simple matter to set up very powerful analytics that tell you the who, what, where and when of the traffic on your site, and to then adapt your marketing campaign accordingly.
Following is a classic example. A few years ago, at Scottsdale Website Design, we were working with a small private school in the Phoenix area. By examining their analytics, we were able to show them that their advertising dollars were flying out the back door: they were spending a lot of money on TV ads which sent a lot of people to the website. However, the analytics showed that close to 90% of them were leaving the site within the first 3 seconds! That told us that there was a problem with the design, content and messaging on the home page. After a simple redesign, we were able to increase the “stickiness” of their website and dramatically reduce its bounce rate. The result: a massive increase in the number of applications to study at their school!
4- You Aren’t Leveraging Social Media.
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn (to name only a few) boast some of the highest traffic volumes of all sites on the Internet. These websites not only allow you to stay in touch with old friends, but are also a fantastic business marketing tool. One great example is Facebook. It has over 900 million people registered on the site, and you can precisely target your ads to the exact demographic that you want to reach. Facebook makes this all possible because they know exactly who someone is when they are logged in. How would you like to have an ad that only shows to women between the ages of 25-36 with a college education, living in Seattle or Portland? Facebook lets you do just that!
Another powerful way to use social media to increase sales is to engage and interact with your target audience. You can integrate Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn right into your website. This makes your site seem fresh, and up-to-date. It also opens up a two-way dialogue between you and your perspective customers. When it comes to social media, interaction = more leads = more sales = more money!
5- You Aren’t Ranking Well In Search Engines.
What’s the point of having a great website if no ever sees it? It’s vital that your business is easily found on search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and others. The process of designing or redesigning your site to help it rank better in search engines is called SEO (search engine optimization). Putting together an ongoing campaign to increase and drive more traffic to your site via these search engines is called SEM (search engine marketing). One of the many factors that affect this is the copy on your site, (i.e. the keywords that you use in the text on your web pages). Being ranked well for your target keywords can make a huge impact to your bottom line. When potential customers use a search engine to look for your targeted keywords online, you need to be on page one. If you’re not the first page of the search results then for all practical reasons you don’t exist! Few consumers will take the time to visit other pages when searching for something. Search Engine Optimization makes you more visible to more potential customers and ultimately increases sales.
6- Your Website Isn’t Mobile Compatible.
It is estimated that as many as 40% of US adults use a smart phone or mobile device to browse the web. The younger demographics especially tend to do the majority of their web surfing on mobile devices rather than a traditional computer or laptop. For this reason alone, it is imperative that your website is designed to be mobile compatible because if it isn’t, you’re losing out on literally thousands of potential sales every day! Have you ever used your smartphone to browse a site that wasn’t designed for mobile browsers? It can be frustrating, confusing and essentially futile. Many smartphones don’t show applications like Flash, and other older technologies. Imagine your customers seeing a big blank spot in your website where your Flash animation is supposed to be. This is not the first impression that you would like to create. Your website may look great on a standard computer monitor, but if it isn’t optimized for mobile then it may look terrible on an iPhone or other mobile device. If your website is clunky, confusing or hard to use, your customers will leave it within seconds and will simply end up on one of your competitor’s sites. Fact!
If you feel that your website is suffering from any of the afore-mentioned problems, or if you feel that it could be improved according to these guidelines, then we’d love to talk to you about it. For years, Scottsdale Website Design has specialized in creating and optimizing websites so that they promote your business, generate leads, and increase your sales and conversions. We create websites that make YOU more money and we would be happy to offer you a free, no obligation evaluation of your website. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain! So give our industry experts a call or drop us an email. Do it now because the chances are that your competitors already have.