Top 10 Website Marketing Tips by eTrust Pro
We are going to share some web site marketing secrets with you that we've learned over the years through our own online tests. It doesn't take a high priced marketing firm to help you increase sales, just a little insight and guidance, which we are about to share with you.
With over 20 years of experience working and selling online and doing our own testing we have learned a lot of little secrets that really do increase your conversion rates and ROI (return on investment).
Some of these changes you will be able to do yourself, others may take your website programmer. Marketing takes time and testing, but it's something you must do if you're trying to sell online.
Tip 1: Layout & Eye-path
Always try to keep the navigation and layout consistant on every page. This seems like a no-brainer but I've seen links and placement of links change on every page. Keep links in the same place on every page so users do not get lost.
Try to think about your site as a new user the next time you look at it and you may find some placement flaws or additional changes you can make. Listen to your users and watch your traffic statistics to see what areas are popular and make those areas easier to find for new users.
You can use the free Google Analytics to view how many visitors you get, where they come from, how they found you, and what they do on your site.
- Use colors and size to attract the users attention to important areas.
- Tell the user what you want them to do. Join Today!
- Make it easy for first time users.
- Display how long the signup or ordering process will take.
- Let the user know you care about their privacy.
- Give detailed error messages to help the user continue.
- Display trust seals.
... to grab your users attention and draw them into the next step in your sales funnel.
- Your headline grabs the users attention and draws them into the next line, which can be a subheading or directly to the first paragrpah.
- A subheading will entice them and pull them into the first paragraph.
- The first paragraph engages them with your offer.
It's been proven many times over that vertical layouts perform better then side-by-side layouts. Users get confussed reading sid-by-side layouts where one paragraph of text is on the left and the next paragraph is on the right.
Tip 2 : Search Engine Traffic
I'm sure you know by now that unless you have people finding your web site in search engines you do not have a good chance to sell what you're offering. The best way to optimize your Web site for search engine traffic, I'm talking about FREE organic search engine traffic not paids ads, is to follow these steps...
Let's say you are selling dog collars and have tried paid listings, but they don't convert into sales enough to keep paying. Try these suggestions to get free traffic from search engines (it can take up to 1-3 months for the changes to take effect).
P.S. If your web site was not converting from paid search ads you may want to try again after you make the changes suggested on this page. Once you optimize and increase conversions from your free traffic try your optimized landing page with paid listings.
Google Is Your Friend (Most of the time)
Use the Google Keyword tool to find popular keywords based on your company, keywords are the words that customers would use to find your web site. Once you have the most popular keywords you can start optimizing your pages to target those keywords, which will increase your traffic in the long run. You can also review the Google Webmaster guidelines to learn more suggestions.
Optimizing Your Web Site For Organic Listings
- Use plain text as links because search engines do not recognize text contained in images. Google says every page should be reachable from at least one static text link, this doesn't mean every page should link to every page. Say you have a Dog Collar category with products like Red Dog Collar, Pink Dog Collar, etc... From the home page link to the main Dog Collar page and then from the Dog Collar page link to the inner category pages like Red Dog Collar and Pink Dog Collar.
- Change your <TITLE> tag to include keywords, use 3-4 keywords and maximum of 75 characters. Each page should have a unique <TITLE> tag to avoid duplicate content.
- Change your <DESCRIPTION> tag to include keywords, use 3-4 keywords and a sentence of text, usually the description on the page can be used. Each page should have a unique <DESCRIPTION> tag to avoid duplicate content.
- The <KEYWORD> tag is pretty much ignored by search engines these days.
- Use the <ALT> tags in images to include keywords, use a short sentence with keywords as the <ALT> tag. Each image should have a unique <ALT> tag to avoid duplicate content.
- On your homepage use a text link called Dog Collars and link that to your main dog collar page. Then on the main dog collar page you want to use the term dog collar in the TITLE, KEYWORD, and DESCRIPTION, and also in the main content of the page. Basically you want to always target each page towards a unique keyword. But don't load pages with irrelevant keywords.
- Don't create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.
- Try to get links back to your web site from other web sites. The more popular a web site that links to you the better in the eyes of Google. Google ranks web site based on popularity, which is based on the popularity of the web sites linking to that site.
Optimizing Your Web Site For Paid Listings
We are not going to foucs on paid search listings here, but when paying for ads on Google such as using AdWords or other search engines you want to have landing pages that are optimized for the keyword you are paying for. If you buy the keyword "dog collars" you should have a customized landing page focused on dog collars, do not send traffic to your home page.
- Create focused landing pages based on the terms you buy
- Try to buy more targeted keywords like "red dog collars" instead of just "dog collars"
Tip 3: Build Trust
It's harder for new, smaller sites to build trust then it is for larger sites like Amazon.com or Walmart.com. Smaller web businesses can use trust seals to help build the trust they need in order to get the sale.
- Display customer Testimonials throughout your site. It's best if you can use testimonials that are directly related to the page they're on or the step they're one in the ordering process. For instance on your signup page you could use a testimonial that states how fast and easy the signup process is to complete.
- Display trust seals such as eTrust pro and Better Business Bureau on your site and ecspecially on the sign up or ordering pages. These trust seals let your customers know that you are a legitimate company and care about their privacy and personal information.
- Make it easy for users to contact you. It has been proven that displaying your phone number in the top right hand corner of your site helps users trust you more, even if they do not use it to call you. By displaying your phone number on every page it makes your users feel like you're not far away if help is needed.
- If you have details share them, but be exact do not generalize when trying to advertise your products. Avoid sentences like "the most dog collars in the world" instead use "340,300 dog collars available now". Exact details give the user a feeling of trust, which will help move them to complete the purchase.
Tip 4 : Simplify
A lot of times less is more and it holds true for marketing. Clarity trumps persuasion, take some time to study your site and develop a genuine offer with pure clarity.
- Remove anything that will stop the user from thinking about your product. You must keep their focus down the path you want them to go. Remove anything that will change their frame of mind, because once you lose that it's going to be hard to get it back.
Think of your Web site as an instruction manual on telling users how to use your site. Guide your users step-by-step directly where you want them to go and your conversions will increase, we guarantee it!
- Focus on your niche market because you can not be everything to everyone. The more focused you can be the more of a leader in that industry you be become.
Tip 5: Button Copy, Size, & Color
This is an area a lot of people just don't think about. Test the copy (wording) you use on your form buttons and your conversions and ROI are sure to increase (or decrease). You want the user to take action, so tell them what they get for taking that action.
- Instead of using the basic "Submit" or the dreaded "Register" on your button use something a little more enticing like "Get Free Access Now" or "Start Downloading Images Now". Explain to your user exactly what they will be getting when they click that button.
- Test using different size buttons on your site. A lot of times the bigger the button the better it will convert, within reason of course. Make it more noticeable to grab the users attention.
- Test using different colors too. A Royal blue button with yellow text has been proven to out perform a standard grey button with black text. But always remember to test, test, and keep testing. Never use your gut feeling when making these changes without testing.
What you see on other sites, may not work on your site.
Tip 6 : Steps in ordering process
Look at your signup an ordering process. How many steps does it take to complete the process? If you have more then three steps to complete the process you should test using a one, two, or three step process.
A two step sign up process for subscriptions works really well because you can ask for the users email address during the first step and if they do not complete the second step you can email them trying to get them back.
For shopping carts test a 3 step process or even a single page checkout.
- Display how many steps the ordering process takes to complete
- Remove negative surprises
- Give incentive during each step
- Display how long the signup or ordering process will take
- Let the user know you care about their privacy
- Give detailed error messages to help the user continue
- Display trust seals
The idea is to shorten the process as much as possible to make it faster to complete, which has been proven to increase conversions 99% of the time.
Tip 7 : Colors Can Influence The Mind
Colors cheer us up, make us docile, give hope, comfort, feelings of love, they can even motivate and make us eat when we weren't even hungry! If you visit an online florist and view the pre-made floral selections for sympathy, romance/wedding, get well, spring, and birthday bouquets you'll notice that different colors dominate different categories.
Even if you have nothing to sell, you probably have something to say, want to trigger an emotion in your visitors, or hope they'll take a specific action. Whatever your web aspirations the follow guide will show you the colors that can take you there.
For most of us color preferences drive our personal choices and the professionals know that is true. That's why millions, no wait, billions of dollars are paid to advertising and marketing agencies to help corporations find the perfect colors to trigger consumers to buy their products or services.
Companies who want to portray soothing, calming, or peaceful feelings (Dove, baby products, spas) often use this color. Blue also represents trustworthiness, dependability and quality.
Yet another use for blue is for diet and fitness items because the color blue is an appetite suppressant. When you look at blue do you feel hungry? Blue works best when used with other shades of blue. Don't overdo it though, too much of this shade can actually give you the blues.
Use this color on your web site if you want to promote environmental issues, or insinuate growth either in the garden or profit sense. Use green with beige or brown to promote organic products.
Consider using green as a secondary color or it loses it peaceful affect. Green isn't all environmental and business, it can be punchy and spunky when combined with bright orange or yellow.
Purple, and its many shades, is perhaps the upper class of colors and represents wisdom, sympathy, honor, and royalty. The Purple Heart medal is the oldest military medal still issued and was created by George Washington. It is also perceived as the color of royalty. Keep in mind that shades that are too gray or light don't carry the same weight.
The most visible color combination is black lettering on a yellow background (think cabs), so if you really want something to pop, or are creating a site for the elderly, consider this combination. Yellow can represent freshness, sunny, joy, happiness, warmth, but too much can be blinding, so use caution when using yellow. Since it is bright, works well as an accent, complementary color, or to highlight an important point. "Buy Now", "Click Here", or "Free" graphics stand out with yellow.
Orange is a color that gets people psyched! It actually stimulates mental activity and creativity and screams pay attention (construction signs), energy (oranges), and power (Daffy Duck-just kidding.) For all of the above reasons you will often see orange in ads and websites promoting children's products, or art-related items. It is also a social and feel good color (changing Fall leaves, pumpkin pie, Halloween.) You often see orange coupled with blue which represents power and dependability.
Red is a tense color that elicits strong emotions such as passion, anger, spicy, heat, and danger. These strong emotions can trigger hunger which is why you normally see red used in food product advertising. Red is also the color of rage and anger so be careful how often you use it. Like yellow, it is a good choice for "Buy Now" graphics.
Pink is the color of fondness, appreciation, sympathy, and love.
While red is more serious pink is playful, delicate and feminine. Used along with black, gray or silver pink becomes a sophisticated color. If you use pink with light yellow and blue, you have a delicate combination often used to advertise baby products.
Black is considered elegant, formal (black-tie affair), modern, but also retro, upper class, mysterious and serious. White is mostly used in graphics as a neutral background, but it also represents, cleanliness, tranquility and innocence. White letters on dark backgrounds stand out better than dark letters on a white background.
In fact, a design secret for billboard advertising is to use white letters on dark backgrounds because the signs are more effective. They are noticed and easily readable. Next time there is an election, pay attention to the candidate's names and you'll notice they are following this rule.
Gray represents reliability, neutral, and stability, but it can also be boring unless paired with other colors. It is great for office-related websites that promote high productivity. Play around with this color in your graphics.
Light shades may be substituted for white, or perhaps a dark slate gray is a better option for your image than black. Gray paired with one other color such as pink or lavender can have an upscale feel.
Tip 8 : Pricing
People do not only buy on pricing alone but it can help give a preceived value in the eyes of your customers. This is another area you want to test and not guess.
- Check your industry so you know what competive services or products are selling for.
- If you want to sell for the $30.00 range, mark your price at $29.95. $29.95 will seem like a better deal the $30.00 in the minds of your users, but always test.
- It's been said that using a price like $29 or $99 instead of $29.95 or $99.95 can increase the perceived value of the product.
- It's also been said that ending a price in 9 can increase conversions. So try $19.99 instead of $9.99, test to see if one converts better then the other.
- Lower prices do not equal more sales, don't sell yourself short.
Tip 9 : Browser Compatibility
Using Google Analytics you can view what browsers are being used to view your web site and using the browser compatibilty tool here you can test to see how your site looks in different versions of browsers. This is a quick test to make sure you are not losing sales because of a little design flaw making your web site not usable on older browsers.
The main browsers to test with are...
- Internet Explorer 9 (IE9)
- Safari on the Mac
- Google Chrome
Tip 10 : Testing, Testing, And More Testing
Always test your ideas and never just make changes because you think it will do better. Make a change and view the results, if you get better results keep the change and move on to other areas to test. You could be leaving money on the table for some other company to get.
- Test, test, and keep testing. You never know what is going to work until you test it. Everything above will help you go in the right direction but you are going to have to tweak this information to fit your exact business model and sales process.
- Using the Google web page optimizer you can setup do free A/B split tests, which will help you see actual data of changes you make and allow you to make changes that actually convert better.
Useful Web sites to learn more marketing secrets
- Which Test Won - Go test your knowledge on actual before and after examples.
- User Testing - Have actual users record video of them using your site for real-time feedback.
- Marketing Experiments - lots of in depth test studies on web site conversion methods.
All this information is only the tip of the iceberg. We didn't cover landing pages, content management systems, search engine friendly URLs, SSL certs, shopping carts, graphics, or payment methods to accept, plus many others. If you have any questions please contact us