Your most valuable digital business asset is your website. The ROI of your online marketing strategy depends on the quality of your visitor experience.
The bottom line of every marketing strategy is conversion. When a visitor lands on your website, you want him to take action: sign up for your email list, learn something that will aid a buying decision, click through to your advertisers, buy, donate, or join.
Web design can either help or hinder your efforts. Here are the most common ways web design might be killing your marketing.
1. Your Website Isn’t Mobile Friendly
Decision-makers are researching buying decisions online—and if your website isn’t mobile friendly, they not even going to find you on search. If they do run across your website and it’s not mobile friendly, frustration will send 61% of your visitors racing to your competitors. A mobile-friendly responsive design improves your search rank and increases time spent on your site.
Not sure if your site is mobile friendly? Use the free and easy Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out. Now’s the time to go mobile, but how? Check out this handy and comprehensive FREE guide to making your website mobile friendly.
2. Your Color Choices are Inconsistent…or just plain wrong
Color is more important in buying decisions than you might imagine. Color influences how customers perceive and react to your brand. If your colors are sending the wrong message or if they’re different on every page of your website, you’re losing visitors and worse, damaging your brand.
3. Your Images are Boring
Everybody uses stock images, but they don’t have to look like a bad day in a cubicle farm.
Spice things up! Choose colorful concept images that relate to your topic and draw attention. Images take up a lot of page real estate, so make them count.
4. You Have a Case of Font Madness
Pick a nice font and stick with it. Don’t get fancy and don’t go crazy with a lot of different fonts. Sans-serif fonts, like Arial and Calibri, are easier to read on a screen. Make it a readable size (16 pt minimum) and ensure your kerning and line heights are properly adjusted so your site offers up even, readable spacing between letters and lines.
5. Your Site Lacks Information
Few things annoy web visitors more than a mystery homepage that offers no clue as to what your business is about. You have literally seconds to grab a visitor’s attention. Use that first impression to spotlight your value proposition. What makes your business stand out?
6. You’ve Hidden the Navigation
Do your customers have to hover over a symbol or scroll to the bottom of the page to find website sections? Why would you want to make your prospects work to find what they’re looking for? Ensure your navigation is clear and easy to find.
7. Your Landing Pages are Random
When users click a compelling call to action (CTA), they expect to find exactly what you promised to deliver. Your link should take them directly to the information they seek.
8. You’re a One-Page Wonder
When a visitor hits your site, they want more than a brochure. You need plenty of informational content to engage and enlighten your visitors. Don’t skimp on your site content—and remember: it’s about quality, not quantity, so ensure you have helpful, relevant, and well-written information.
9. You Cheaped Out
There are a lot of DIY point-and-click websites on the market. If you don’t have a budget and it’s your best option, go for it. If, on the other hand, you’re a thriving business just looking to save money on something you think “anybody” could just throw together, strongly consider how your website affects your long-term sales and marketing strategy.
Your website is an investment in your business—and it’s worth it. It’s the only front door to your business some consumers will ever see. To support your marketing efforts and earn those important conversions, ensure your website is complete, attractive, and easy to navigate on any device.
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Maybe you’re a manufacturer that doesn’t sell directly to the public—so why worry about what’s on your website?
While plenty of manufacturers still depend on tried-and-true marketing tactics (including cold calling, mailing out printed catalogs and attending trade shows), there’s another highly effective marketing method on the block that’s about to help you do even more to improve your customer relationships and hike up your sales: digital marketing.
Get this: Companies that ignore web-based marketing are missing out on huge sales opportunities. More than 45% of B2B buyers say they research solutions online to narrow down their choice of vendors and …
Not sure how to go digital with your marketing? Start here.
Here’s what your manufacturing website needs so your enterprise can attract more attention and retain more happy customers…
- Enhanced Content
Your top-level webpages are just the beginning. Buyers, whether individual consumers or businesses, want the same thing: Information, and lots of it. You can enrich your content with white papers, case studies, articles, FAQs, and a blog covering company and industry news and concerns.
A great content strategy helps your manufacturing marketing efforts by:
- Increasing your web traffic and pushing you up in web search results.
- Building customer trust and buyer confidence. (Try answering common customer questions—they’ll love ya for it.)
- Establishing your in-house experts as knowledgeable voices of authority within your industry.
- Increasing brand recognition.
But let’s not forget your standard website basics: contact information, pricing, shipping, and technical information are all must-haves.
- Call-to-Action Buttons (CTAs)
A straightforward CTA gives your content teeth. Asking site visitors to provide basic information in exchange for something valuable, such as an eBook or white paper, ensures you don’t lose a potential lead.
- Immediate Response
One of the biggest mistakes any company can make is not responding to customer or prospect requests in a timely manner. People want answers right now—not in a few days. The faster you respond to inquiries, the more likely you are to make the sale. If you don’t, you can bet your competitors will.
To speed up response times, consider automated email responses and sales team alerts.
- Behind-the-Scenes Analytics
Analytics is the science of measuring, analyzing and generating reports from visitor and user data. It can include where users are located, how long they remain on each webpage (and even how far down they scrolled), where the visit originated, and where they go next.
Understanding what your website visitors do (and don’t do) can help you improve your website, target your marketing, separate hot leads from casual lookie-loos….and cut down on wasted time.
- Responsive Design
Many business executives report they usually search the web from their desktops, but mobile marketing is rapidly on the rise. Few online experiences are more frustrating than using a cellphone to access a website that’s not properly sized for a mobile device. Your clients may not be researching your product on mobile devices today, but they will be…soon!
Want to learn more about attracting more customers through effective digital marketing?
Download our FREE guide: Manufacturer’s Guide to Attracting More Customers to learn how your business can use digital marketing to grow. The guide includes:
- 5 key marketing strategies used by leading manufacturers
- 20+ effective, proven tips for generating more qualified leads
- Step-by-step instructions to attract and retain more repeat customers
No matter what industry you’re in, the competition is heating up, so traditional marketing methods simply aren’t enough anymore. Isn’t it time to get ahead of the curve and cash in on the inbound marketing phenomenon?
If you’re getting the clicks and not the sales, it’s time to take an objective look at what might be driving your customers to your competitors.
– Cultivate Communications
It’s the eternal question—what makes a website sticky? Ok, maybe not exactly eternal, but certainly foremost on the minds of business owners who need smart marketing. When you evaluate your site analytics, can you pinpoint how, why and when people stay…or leave? Lofty promises might earn you the click, but are you losing the sale with bad design or bad delivery?
People leave websites for a lot of reasons. If you’re getting the clicks and not the sales, it’s time to take an objective look at what might be driving your customers to your competitors.
1. The sound and the fury.
Anything that plays automatically is going to turn off some customers for a number of reasons. Websites that play music or video on pageload are annoying, slow and often buggy. Worse, dedicated shoppers with a dozen browser windows open at once may suffer a complete browser meltdown. That’s where the fury comes in. Think they’re coming back after you crash their browser and force a reboot? Not likely.
2. Your website is a slow starter.
Keep your content light and easy to load with low-resolution graphics sized to fit your space and a minimum of scripts. If load time goes over 5 seconds, you’re likely to lose your potential sale. In today’s high-speed world, a slow loading site just ain’t going to fly.
3. You’re forcing people to sign up.
Recently, a ton of retail sites decided it would be a good idea to require customers to create a profile and login before they can even browse. Forcing people to give out personal information before ever seeing the product? Fail! If you’re seeing visitors walk away from your login page, you might want to reconsider this approach. Get them to create accounts after they’re already interested…not before. Offer something in exchange for their details, like special discounts, unadvertised sales, or a useful downloadable freebie.
4. You threaten to hijack Facebook.
Another downright disturbing trend: Apps that ask a potential customer to sign up using their Facebook or Twitter account. Once logged in, the apps nabs permission to post spammy ads all over your wall. While this may seem like a good way to spread your brand name fame, it’s way more likely to increase your bounce rate and generate really bad press. Don’t try this tactic. If you create great content and you make it easy to share your content, people will do so voluntarily.
5. Your content stinks.
The grammar police are in full uniform on the web…and they’re patrolling YOU. Every word on your website should be spelled correctly, every sentence should be grammatically correct, and every fact should be accurate and up-to-date.
Poorly written, irrelevant or outdated content makes your business look unprofessional and untrustworthy. Never slap up a bunch of content just for the sake of “having content.” You don’t need to “have content.” You need excellent content that appeals to your target market at each and every stage in the Growth Cycle Marketing process.
Download our FREE Growth Cycle Marketing eBook to learn all about how to hit up your potential and current customers with great content at every stage in the buy cycle!
6. You’re not telling them enough.
Whether you sell products or services, the customer is going to want to know everything there is to know. Be sure you include an attractive description, technical specs, what it is or what you do, and anything else that makes the buying decision easier. To really drive the sale home, include customer reviews, testimonials, and case studies. Customer input and real-life experiences are incredibly important today.
7. Visitors can’t find the good stuff.
Remember back in the 90s when navigation got artsy and websites substituted pictures for words? Navigating pages should not be a game of Clue. If you have artsy little graphics instead of words, people are going to bounce. Pertinent information, including company and contact information should be obvious and easy to find if you want customers to give you money.
8. You’re not delivering on your promise.
False advertising is a surefire way to drive away potential customers. When you put out a teaser for a product or service, it’s important to deliver on that promise. The ol’ bait and switch is bad for business.
9. Did you forget about mobile?
More people are using cellphones and tablets to shop and that’s not going to change. If your site is not mobile friendly, you’re losing business. Make it easy for mobile customers to browse and buy…and they will.
10. You aren’t paying attention.
To really understand what’s driving your traffic, you need to keep track of the traffic patterns and have a solid understanding of what visitors are doing at your site.
It’s not enough to know how many people see your page; you need to know where they come from, how much time they spend on a page, and where they go next.
In-depth data analysis, or analytics, can give you a highly detailed picture of what’s working and what’s not, so you can do more of what’s working and stop wasting time and money on what’s not.
Improving your conversion rate is often a matter of understanding visitor behavior. If your products or services are attractive and customers are leaving your website, understanding why is half the battle. Once you’ve got a handle on what makes visitors bounce, you have a much better chance of making your website satisfyingly sticky.
When I talk to business owners about their marketing, the conversation usually gravitates to a discussion about their website. It’s only natural.
Your website is the center of your marketing universe.
Many times, I hear “Our site is good enough as is.” Some of the reasons they offer for this response include:
- “We’re keepin’ busy, so we don’t really need a new website.” But marketing is not about finding customers for TODAY. It’s about finding customers for TOMORROW. Tomorrow’s customers are looking at your website right now and making decisions about whether or not they want to buy from you in the future. This is especially true with younger buyers, who make judgments about your company in an instant — all based on their initial web experience. Do you really want to risk losing their business forever simply because your website is outdated? You can’t afford to take that chance.
- “Our site provides all the information a customer would need.” The idea that you should use your company website to simply “push information out” to people has come and gone. Customers now expect to be ENGAGED by your website and they want to be able to INTERACT with it to gain immediate information and achieve their shopping objectives. Static websites are no longer effective. Your website needs to be RESPONSIVE and allow your customers to leave a comment, to request more information, and to easily find and get exactly what they want — right when they want it. Does your site do that?
- “In our industry, our website is fine. It’s as good as our competition’s site.” Do you really want to be as good as your competition — or do you want to be BETTER? You have an opportunity to break out of the pack and set your company apart by embracing new technologies that can create a visually compelling website for you, rich with content and information that visibly establishes you as a leader in your industry 24 hours a day. You can leverage cool new technologies to integrate your website with social media platforms to change the way customers view your company. Show ’em you’re in the know and that you’re striving to truly connect with your customers, and they’ll choose your vibrant company over a stale competitor any day. Appearances really do matter.
Website development is changing every day. The plain truth of the matter is:
If your website is more than 2 years old, it’s likely not good enough anymore.
There’s a new type of website approach that guarantees longevity because it revolves around dynamic content. I mean, do you really want to re-do your website every 2 years? (I didn’t think so.) Do your research and click here to learn if a dynamic website is a good fit for your company.
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P.S. For more information on how to start bringing your website “up to speed,” read Does Your Website Achieve Your Business Goals? and Content Marketing Without a Blog.
In today’s wired world, small businesses simply must have a web presence to succeed. Unfortunately, the website you built even 5 years ago is as outdated as a rotary phone.
It’s sad, but true . . .
Simply having a website is no guarantee that new customers can find you online. Large search engines like Google are constantly updating their search criteria and algorithms. So, whatever you thought you knew about getting your site to the top of the results page, probably isn’t the way it’s done anymore.
Today, numerous factors can affect your website’s search engine page ranking, like outdated code, broken links, poorly written page descriptions, and stuffed meta-data. The way Google sees your website is nothing like the way a human eye sees it.
But instead of throwing around a bunch of techie jargon to explain Google PageRank, let’s drop the lingo:
The more visitors to your website, the more opportunities you’ll have to generate leads — and ultimately new customers.
It’s that simple.
Your website has the opportunity to be a 24/7 virtual sales & marketing tool
for your small business.
So, the real question is:
Does your website achieve your business goals?
To answer this loaded question, first ask yourself:
- Do you know where your site traffic is coming from? How long your visitors are staying? Which of your pages your visitors are most interested in reading?
- Do you know which keywords are giving you the biggest gains in traffic and leads?
- Does your current web platform allow you to experiment with and increase performance, lead generation, or customer conversations?
If you’re not able to answer all 3 of these underlying questions, it might be time for some professional web development help.
PS: For more details on Google’s past changes, be sure to read Mike Kissel’s article Google’s Panda & Penguin 101. At Cultivate, we’ve got just the pros to get your website optimized for success. Contact us at 414.727.2440, or send us an email today.