It’s third quarter for most of us. How’s your year shaping up? I always encourage clients to revisit their brand strategy once per quarter – and this includes your all-important website. For most businesses, your website is the crown jewel of your marketing efforts, your storefront, your showpiece. But often we spend so much time putting it up and then seem to forget about it.
If your website strategy is off, you could be missing out on sales and customer connections. So today, we’re getting priceless tips for a better website from one of the best in the biz.
Norma Maxwell is one of my favorite people and partners. She’s a designer, interactive strategist, and founder of Connect Interactive. Norma and her team help clients create an online presence that not only connects with people, but resonates long after they have made their first contact.
Today, she shares three tips for great sales pages, how to incorporate all your social media channels, and how to layout your page for maximum pop.
RS: Welcome Norma! Everyone struggles with setting up great sales and landing pages. Do you have three top tips for doing this right and achieving your sales goals?
- Understand who will be visiting your page. This informs every single decision you will make relating to your visual layout/design, your written content, and your calls-to-action (prompts that “call” your visitor to do something when they get to your page).
- Create a compelling message (visually and through your copy). This is where the importance of knowing your brand and your messaging will come in. If someone has taken the time to visit your page, make sure they find consistency, professionalism, credibility when they get there. This is the foundation of a lasting conversion.
- Capture your visitors information so you can stay in touch. Give them a good reason to opt-in to you list. You can offer a free download, sample chapter of your book, or access to a webinar—just make sure it is something that provides real value for your visitors. And think about how you will manage your list when people do show enough interest to opt-in. Make sure you are sending the right messages to your audience. Create value so that they will want to hear from you in their already overcrowded inbox. Some people will just want to see what you have to say from time to time; they don’t want to forget about you (which is why they opted-in), but they are not going to buy anytime soon. Others are very interested in what you have to offer, and if you follow up in the right way, with the right email messages, they will convert to customers quickly.
RS: How the heck can businesses integrate social media strategies effectively to drive visitors to their website? Should your website be your primary destination vs. Facebook, etc?
NM: Your social media efforts will be the most effective when you provide value and remain consistent. This is challenging, especially for solopreneurs, but if you will take a few hours each month to plan, it is much less time consuming and painful. Once you have a plan in place, you can hire someone to help you keep the plan implemented for just a few hours each week.
At a minimum your business should have a Facebook and Twitter presence. A LinkedIn presence is also important and increasingly so with the advent of Company pages. If you can take advantage of more social media sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Pinterest, etc. definitely go for it! The more pathways you have that lead others to your website (your home base), the better. It all comes down to what you can manage with the resources you have available to you.
Your website is the destination where you will house all of your most important information in one place—think of it as your physical business location (office, storefront, etc.), whereas your social media satellite spots are wonderful tools for building buzz and driving people to your website where they will become a lasting part of your online community or better yet, a new customer or client.
RS: Can you give us 3 tips to consider when laying out your web page? Does it differ by industry? Are there hard and fast rules for what should go “above the fold” or how you should entice people to sign up for your email list?
- This is the same as #1 above. The first consideration when laying out your webpage is who will be visiting you there. What kind of personality do they have? What are their needs and wants? What will you say to them visually and through your copy? What is it that that particular person needs to see and hear in order to want to stay in touch with you, or do business with you?
- Make sure your message is clear (and your message is conveyed through your visuals—the colors you choose, your brand mark or logo if you have one, any other graphics that are present; your copy—the name of your company, the headlines you use, the verbiage you choose for your newsletter sign-up box, the messaging you have on your home page to let visitors know what you’re all about and why they are in the right place), because your message lets them know that you GET them!
- What will be above the fold. There is a section of your website that will be visible without visitors having to scroll down. This is called “above the fold.” This is prime real estate on you website because if someone is just clicking through looking for something, this is the place you will either capture or lose their attention. You really want to maximize this space by making sure it is visually captivating, makes it crystal clear where they are and why they should care, and invites them to stay in contact with you—because maybe you are not what they happened to be looking for right now, and yet, you have piqued their interest enough that they do not want to forget about you. If they are really in a hurry, the difference between suggesting to them “what they should do” and not, is the difference between a lost visitor or a new contact. You don’t have to do everything possible to capture them (because the possibilities are numerous and that’s another article!), but a few that are worth considering include:
– Suggest they “Bookmark” your site. If you do, they probably will (which makes is much easier for them to find you again). If you don’t, they may or may not.
– Suggest they “Sign Up” for your newsletter. You can use some of the ideas mentioned above to make it worth their time and effort and to in effect “thank them” for letting you visit them in their inbox from time to time.
– Call them to “Join” your community if you are a membership website, or “Join” you on Facebook where you can foster a community around your brand.
– Make sure icons to all of your social media locations are placed above the fold—those that want to learn more about you are going to want to find those places, so keep it easy for them.
– Call them to “Read” your latest blog post (and beyond that, at the end, go ahead and Ask them to comment, or ask a question so they will comment with an answer—you will be amazed at how simply asking/prompting your visitors in the direction you want them to go will make a difference.
– Call them to “Register” for a webinar or conference
– Ask them to “Buy” your book or product
You get the idea—obviously you can’t do all of this above the fold (without creating a sense of clutter—which I wouldn’t recommend), so choose the things that are most important to you (and to your visitor) and put them higher up on your home page. I always advise clients to keep their opt-in list above the fold because it is an opportunity to connect regularly and on a deeper level with visitors that is difficult to match.