Your Website Should Be Your Best Salesman (but it probably isn't)
Your website is not producing the results it could be.
As the hub of your online presence, it should be built to turn visitors into leads and convert those leads into paying customers. But is it?
Building a lead-generating machine-of-a-website is as much an art, as it is a science and ongoing process; this article will tell you how to increase your chances of capturing each lead and converting them into sales.
Your website is the central hub of your online and offline marketing activities drawing traffic from SEO, Social Media, Video and PPC efforts. Not to mention all your offline efforts as well. For all of these channels to become of value to you, your website needs to be able to convert the traffic they generate into leads, and convert those leads into paying customers. In theory, your website should be your number one salesperson. But is it?
In this article we’ll follow on from last week’s introduction to conversion optimisation with a look into the science behind conversion driven website design. We’ll discuss three areas your site may be ‘leaking’ sales from, and how you can act now to plug them!
Leak One: Complicated Design
Your homepage should effectively highlight what you offer and what the benefits are of using your products/services. First impressions are formed very quickly; in a study by Google in 2012 researchers found that users will judge the beauty of a website within 1/20th of a second. Moreover visually complex websites are rated less beautiful than their simpler counterparts.
The more simple the website, the easier it is for users to digest information with minimal distractions. Is your website it as simple as it could be? Does it capture a user’s attention? Optimizing for easier information processing involves communicating as much as possible in the fewest amount of elements possible.
Scientifically speaking, this simplicity helps a user stay focused by only providing as much info as their short term memories can handle. Our short term memory can hold up to 9 pieces of information at any given time, it’s the part of the brain that helps us focus, make decisions and resist distractions. By reducing unnecessary ‘noise’ on your website, it helps users focus on what you want them to, without being distracted by different ‘chunks’ of information(e.g. confusing jargon, content overload, substandard graphics/photos).
Leak Two: It's Not the Industry Standard
Have you ever noticed the way many major ecommerce sites all seem to follow the same layout? Think about how you imagine a standard ecommerce website to be laid out often with a large hi-resolution image dominating the top of the page, the company logo somewhere in the top left corner and a horizontal navigation bar. Sound familiar? They live up to the standard expectations of their industry.
Familiarity’ is the key here. This is not to say these sites copy one another, they simply follow a classic design that gives users some familiarity when they arrive on the site. If users of your site are conditioned to expect specific characteristics, contradicting this may lose you some leads.
Leak Three: Bad Content
This is, and always will be, the most important part of any website. By focusing on the important messages and information you want to get across to your audience, you can create and optimise your website in less time and more cost effectively. Your content gives a direction and order to your design, and ensures all the vital elements are included. With only around five seconds to capture your visitor’s attention after landing on your site, you need to think about engaging them from second one, whilst removing any factors that are going to disengage them.
Start by thinking about the type of information that is going to be meaningful to your customers, what do they want to know when they arrive on your website? Your front-line sales and customer service staff can be a wealth of real knowledge about your customers. Ask your best salespeople:
- - What do customers ask you?
- - What do they like about our product/service?
- - Why do people buy from us?
- - What gets the best positive reaction from customers?
These are the most common areas that cause traffic to bounce straight off your page as fast as they landed there. Of course there are many areas that could be losing you sales, and the only way to truly know where your leaks are is through continuous testing and improvement over time. Your website should be your number one sales person.