MistakeYour website is the front door of your business, determining whether people enter and engage with you, ultimately becoming customers, or whether they leave immediately. To encourage visitors to become customers, you should avoid these common website mistakes. They are presented roughly in order of importance.

Failing to target

You have a target audience in mind for your products or services. The website should be designed with that audience’s preferences in mind. What devices will your target audience use to view your website? If most of your target market is using a mobile device, failing to provide a streamlined, fast-loading, mobile-friendly design will turn them away. Similarly, if your target market is the aging population, failing to use high-contrast colours and larger fonts may dissuade them from becoming customers.

Illegible text

It’s not only aging visitors who may have difficulty reading your website. Depending on the browser and hardware being used, your carefully selected colour choices for background and font may default to colours that are much more difficult to read. The background text colour may not display, showing your text directly over your background image, making it difficult to see. Words that are graphics may fail to load, or not be read by screen readers. If you use customized colours for links or visited links, make sure that the text will still display even if the browser is set to override your colour choices with the standard ones.

Improper call to action

There are two ways to go wrong with a call to action. The first is simply to not include one. Every page of your website should have a specific call to action that takes the visitor where you want them to go within your website. If the ultimate destination is obscure, consider a popup hint window that tells people how to reach that part of your website. The other way calls to action can go wrong is to make them too strong, too early. For example, a call to action that is too early is a website design that requires people to register for your email newsletter before they can read any of the articles on your website. The visitors have not yet determined whether your information is of any use to them, and will reject your call to action.

Excessive third party approvals

If your website handles sales transactions, you’ll want to include a third party approval badge indicating that the transaction is a safe one. If your goods or services have been featured in major media, or have won industry awards, you’ll want to mention that. However, if you have ten or twenty third party approvals, you’ll appear as if you’re trying too hard to convince the visitor of your legitimacy. Pick no more than three to feature on your website, and put the rest on an awards page that visitors can look at if they are interested.

Thanks!

 

Sean

 

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

 

(Image: Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

tape measureThere is a belief stated as dogma by many in the Internet marketing business that sales letters should never be any longer than one page. Another belief stated as dogma is that sales letters that are longer than 4 pages sell more than shorter sales letters, with 6 page letters selling more than 4 page letters, and 8 page letters selling more than 6 page letters. These are both oversimplifications of statements that are valid in some circumstances. Like most things, the actual situation is more complicated.

What is the purpose?

The purpose of your sales letter will dictate the optimum length. You need to give the prospect exactly enough information and emotional motivation to move to the next step, without confusing them with extra information or leaving questions unanswered. Depending on what the next step is, you may need to provide more or less content. If all you want to do is to convince someone to sign up for your free newsletter or download your ebook, your sales letter should be relatively short. Even half a page might be too long, depending on how qualified your traffic is. On the other hand, if you’re taking a cold prospect through all the benefits of your product so that their next step is clicking “Buy Now” you’ll want a sales letter that is long enough to sufficiently motivate the prospect to make a buying decision and answer any possible objections they may have.

When more is less

The main reason to cut down the length of your sales letter is to get rid of things that detract from the prospect moving to the next step. Why might there be too much in your sales letter? The main thing to cut is extra information that does not answer questions in the prospect’s mind or serve to inspire movement towards a purchase. That only adds to potential confusion. Other things to cut are things that you may find fascinating, such as historical titbits about your business, that hold no interest to your prospects. Trim any of these excesses out of your sales letter.

When less is less

Why might your sales letter be too brief, and need to be longer? If your copy has been trimmed to the point where the prospect no longer finds it involving, it is too short. Similarly, if you only talk about your product and left out how it will benefit the prospect, you need to add more copy. You want to be certain that your sales letter engages your prospect’s emotions, and makes them really want to take the next step, whatever that step may be.

Thanks!

 

Sean

 

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

 

(Image: Morguefile)

coloured markersPeople associate particular emotional values with different colours. Choosing the right or wrong colours for your website and email branding and calls to action will have a strong impact on your conversion rate and ultimate success as an Internet marketer.

Colour associations

Black calls up strong, accurate associations, and is best for industries that value precision and credibility, such as construction, manufacturing, mining, and service professions. It is also excellent for giving a touch of stability to industries such as fashion or marketing, as well as being associated with luxury. Green is commonly associated with nature and ecology, making it well suited for anything organic, health-oriented, or related to the outdoors, however it is also associated with education. Blue is considered trustworthy and technical, which is why it is used by so many banks, businesses, and hi-tech companies. Yellow is considered optimistic and youthful, and is used to catch attention of people who are glancing at a store front or landing page. Red creates a sense of urgency while orange inspires taking action. Pink is considered romantic and feminine, while purple is associated with beauty and anti-aging.

Colour differences between the sexes

Women and men both react well to the colours blue and green, and dislike the colours orange and brown. Women also like purple and dislike grey, while men like black and dislike purple. The difference regarding perception of purple between the sexes may be due to its association with beauty, rather than a reaction to the nature of the colour itself. Do not feel that a colour should be avoided completely if it is disliked. These colours can make excellent accent colours, especially with calls to action, since the slight discomfort they induce helps to encourage people to take action and move off of the page. Similarly, favourable colours can make a page seem too calm and relaxing, and prevent people from moving off of it.

Call to action colours

Red and orange are both good colours for calls to action because they trigger strong reactions. People who see the colour red actually experience an increased heart rate, which makes them more excited about your offer and about taking action on it. Orange, especially the redder shades of orange, have a similar although slightly lesser physical effect. The fact that orange is disliked as a colour also contributes to people wanting to take action in order to remove the offending colour from their sight. It is notable that merely changing the colour of a call to action button from green, which is calm and restful, to red, which is energising, increases conversion rates by more than 20%!

Before I sign off, here are some more articles on branding and conversion rates that you might be interested in:

Thanks!

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

 

(Image: Morguefile)

one red strawberryGetting a lead is only the first step in the sales process. You still need to convert that lead into a sale. The following secret strategies are used by top Internet marketers to maximise their conversions of leads, by focusing on the behaviour of each individual prospect rather than treating prospects as a mass of identical beings.

Pay attention to anonymous visitors

Most people do not pay any attention to their site visitors, other than general website analytics to analyse their behaviour, until they have become a lead. The top Internet marketers know that much can be determined about a visitor’s interests and sales readiness by paying attention to which pages are visited and which actions are taken. This information can be tracked and assigned to an anonymous record. Then, when the visitor finally sees an offer that is too good to resist and gives you their lead information, you can tie that lead with all of the website activity that occurred prior to creation of the lead. This is especially valuable in that it tells you which offers the person saw on your website that weren’t compelling enough to act upon, so that you can incorporate more of what was successful into the offers that were not.

Base reactions upon behaviours

Common Internet marketing practices provide similar website experiences to everyone who enters the website through the same landing page. Top Internet marketers, on the other hand, pay close attention to every action a visitor takes while on the website, and deliver a website experience designed to maximise the conversion of a visitor with those behaviours. For example, the person who takes action after reading the headline of your landing page is exhibiting different behaviour from someone who scrolls to the end of the landing page, carefully reading the entire text, before taking action. The second person may have required more information to become convinced, or may be a more cautious person who wants to know all of the available facts before making a decision. Someone who views information on all of your products has a different buying mentality from someone who jumps directly to the product page for a specific product. By studying their behaviours, you will be able to make your sales offer when it is most likely to be accepted.

Recycle leads

Top Internet marketers know that prospects need to complete certain actions on the website before they make a purchase. Someone who downloaded a free ebook may not be ready for a high-ticket sale just yet. Rather than bombarding all leads with offers for all products indiscriminately, top Internet marketers monitor visitor behaviours to determine where they are in the sales funnel and treat them accordingly. Someone who has downloaded free items may be offered more free items, with an option to buy a product, while someone who has already purchased many products may be offered a chance to buy a new product, with a bonus of something free.

Before I sign off, here are some more articles on lead conversion that you might be interested in:

Thanks!

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

 

(Image: Morguefile)

scheduling calendarIf you have only a single product to release, you can use any method of scheduling you like, from a paper calendar, to a word processing document, to project management software. If you are releasing multiple products, it is a good idea to use a calendar that allows individual schedules to be combined into a master schedule, so that your overall marketing obligations can be seen at a glance.

Start at the end

You need to know what product you will be releasing, as well as when you will release it. You must know exactly how your product matches the market’s needs, and be able to communicate the value of the product to that market. Consider important dates for your industry, such as trade shows, regional holidays, and releases by industry heavyweights, and plan your product launch around them. Depending upon the goal of your launch you will need to ensure that you have both the capability to measure your goal and the infrastructure to serve it.

Build excitement

The pre-launch part of your product launch builds excitement and creates demand for your product. You can use affiliate partners, direct mail, email, teleseminars, videos, webinars, and other means of communication. Each type has a different lead time. An email campaign to existing customers may consist of three emails that go out prior to the launch, one the day of the launch, one after the launch, and one before the offer ends. An affiliate marketer campaign needs to send these emails to the affiliates prior to the distribution dates. Direct mail campaigns require time to print, proof, and if necessary re-print the pieces prior to the mailing dates. Schedule when things must be sent out, as well as when they must be written and reviewed.

Use all available resources

Other buzz-building options include contests, review copies, and beta-tests, all of which need to be added to the schedule. One popular style of contest requires everyone who enters to give a testimonial, which establishes social proof for your product. Allow time to add the testimonials to your sales copy. Leverage the power of your affiliates, the press, existing customers, thought leaders, investors, industry analysts, family, and friends to get the word out.

Create urgency

You can create urgency for your product by having a limited number, by having it available for a limited time, or by releasing it at a deeply discounted price for a limited number of customers or days. Tell people why they must buy your product immediately, and then follow through on that promise. Otherwise, you risk destroying your credibility, and with it all sense of urgency in your customer. The post-launch phase of your product launch begins the moment your product is available for sale, and ends when the window of availability closes. During this time, continue to stress the need to act with urgency.

 

Thanks!

 

Sean

 

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

 

(Image: MorgueFile)

WWII bomberThere’s a story told that during World War II, the RAF wanted to add additional plating to their bombers, in order to protect them from anti-aircraft guns. Since additional weight would decrease the bombers’ range, they could only plate the most crucial areas. They analysed the bullet holes in the returning bombers, mapped out where most of the holes occurred, then presented their findings with a suggested plan to plate those areas. A quick-thinking officer pointed out that the planes didn’t need protection in those areas, since they flew even with numerous bullet holes. The planes that had been hit in other places were the ones that hadn’t returned home. Successful product development and marketing requires asking the right market research questions.

Ask open questions

Closed questions are those that can be answered by selecting from a list of options, such as “Do you prefer option A or B?” Open questions are ones that require explanation, and usually begin with the words what, how, or if. Ask what they want or need in a specific arena, how getting it will make a difference, and hypothetical questions about their general situation. By using a mix of all three types, you will find out details about the way that your customer or prospect currently does things, including the things that work and the things that don’t. A successful product needs to be better than existing products in important areas, while still doing all of the important things that the existing products do well.

Identify both issues and costs

It’s not enough to ask what their biggest challenge is, or what causes them the most frustration. You also need to put a price tag on the solution. How much is that challenge or frustration costing them? The upper limit of your product’s price is the sum of all the money saved by all of the problems it solves. You can follow up with the confirmation question, “If a product solved those challenges, what would that be worth to you?”

Understand motivation

Ask them what their top goals are, and then ask how their life or their business will be different if those goals are met. What would achieving those goals look like? By understanding their picture of success, you will better understand the emotional needs that your customers believe their goals will satisfy. For example, two executives with a goal of 10% sales growth might have vastly different pictures of what that success will look like. The first might be happy that no employees need to be made redundant, while the second is thrilled by a promotion and even bigger challenge. Pitching your product to appeal to a sense of safety and security would attract the first executive, while repelling the second.

Thanks!

 

Sean

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

http://internetmarketingacademy.com

 

(Image: MorgueFile)

In the United States, the Monday after the holiday Thanksgiving represents a huge shopping day.  Prior to the Internet, the single biggest sales day for American businesses was the Friday after the Thursday of the holiday.  Now, online businesses enjoy the benefits of Cyber Monday.  The black Friday sales that businesses offered mainly to American consumers can now be expanded to additional audiences.  Consumers do not make the same distinctions when purchasing online, after all, you do not need to worry about transportation back and forth when purchasing online.  The location of seller only matters with regards to shipping times.  As long as the item can arrive timely for the holidays, it does not matter where the retailer is physically located.  Below are some strategies you can use to improve your year end sales figures by being competitive on Cyber Monday.

Holiday Profits are all about Sales Figures

You are looking to sell more units at lower cost to you than ever, and the consumer wants to buy at the lowest cost available.  Consumers are often price driven when they are shopping online.  The best way to get the maximum number of sales on a unit is to offer the lowest price.  You can not do this with every item in your online store, but strategic popular item discounts can help you leverage additional sales.  The direct sale of a deeply discounted item may not earn you much, if any profits, but the additional accessory sales can be highly profitable.  Do not be afraid to offer deep discounts on a limited number of products, it can help bring people onto your site.

Up Sells are the Key to High Holiday Profits

The fierce competition on prices and consumers makes it imperative that you offer a few items at the absolute lowest price available.  Sure, you may even take a loss on some items, but the increased web traffic is worth the additional cost.  After all, you will only have so many units in stock at the designated low price.  After the site traffic picks up, you will need creative upsells and alternatives to keep consumers coming back to your site.  Electronics are usually the big ticket discount item, but consider potential accessory gifts that can help you turn a tidy profit.  With television sales, wireless noise cancelling headphones make a great gift accessory.  Small electronics often do better when purchased in conjunction with a case, and portable electronics might benefit from a tag to help find the device at all times.  Carefully implement creative upsells, to get the largest return on your holiday sales.

Thanks!

 

Sean

Internet Marketing Academy

Internet Marketing TrainingInternet Marketing CourseInternet Marketing Blog

 

The holidays are a time when many people spend a bit more than they should.  The joy of gift giving during the Christmas season makes people dig a little deeper when shopping.  Physical store locations create beautiful window displays that capitalize on the season.  Online sellers should do to same.  Integrating Christmas imagery in your existing sales website can help you to increase your sales this holiday season.  There are several different ways to add a Christmas feel to your site, and you should employ them all.

  1. Change the overall theme – most websites are designed so that certain elements remain the same from page to page.  This is referred to as the theme of the site.  Change the theme to reflect a holiday spirit, to get shoppers in the right frame of mind.  Christmas imagery like decorations, wrapped presents, holiday lights or a Christmas tree are all possible examples.
  2. Place sale items in the forefront – make sure to highlight your sale items and include information about their potential as gifts.  Draw a strong connection between your sale items and holiday giving.
  3. Colour scheme is crucial – any other time of the year, a subdued colour palate can be used to create a feeling of warmth, but for Christmas, bright colours act as an attraction.  You do not need to stick with traditional red and green, but bright colours that compliment each other are a must.
  4. Create a Christmas logo – while all of your products should be sold under your regular logo, a special holiday design can capture imaginations.  Many large retailers use a different holiday exclusive design each year.  Stay on top of trends and find something that tickles the funny bone or warms the heart of the average consumer.
  5. Offer services specific to the holiday – including services like gift wrapping and drop shipping are a solid choice as part of your holiday campaign.  Include vivid advertisements that demonstrate the ease of shopping on your site.  Let consumers know that your site is truly a one stop shopping location.

These strategies can help to boost final quarter sales by encouraging additional holiday spending.  Giving consumers a visual reminder of the season and using subtle reinforcement like the overall colour scheme and logo design will help put them in the shopping mood.  You can not give them the opportunity to hold a product prior to purchase, but you can give them a festive atmosphere in which to shop.  Thoughtful use of animations is a great addition to any holiday website, and paying attention to the hot gifts of the season will help you to determine the best items to put up for sale.

Thanks!

 

Sean

Internet Marketing Academy

Internet Marketing TrainingInternet Marketing CourseInternet Marketing Blog

 

 

 

 

One of the big truths about the Internet and what is has done for society is that it has reinforced the NOW.  Browsers want everything now, now, now.  The accessibility of information and access to instant shopping and conversation has made the Internet all about speed.  The biggest hurdle many businesses face with online sales is a slow loading web page.  When you design a web page, it must be flawless and fast.  Slow load times means that browsers have already closed the page.  You have ten seconds or less to engage a customer, and if your page takes longer than that to load, say good bye to the sales opportunity.  Businesses definitely don’t want to be the tortoise when it comes to web page load times, the cheetah would be a much better example.  Slow and steady may get the job done in the end, but quick and complete is more in keeping with consumer demand.  If you are unsure how to create a quick loading page below are some tips to help you get started.

  1. Optimise and Watch the Size of Graphics.  There are ways to compress pictures for web display, and you can also chop an image so that it can load in pieces.  Either method can improve your load times.  Sometimes pictures are an essential part of web design, so good web programmers have created methods to give you quality images in record times.  Chopping an image and loading the pieces as part of a table allow you to display the entire image much more quickly, and reducing the size of the image keeps quality high and load time low.
  2. Limit the Number of Graphics Per Page.  Images are very slow to load.  Even optimised and chopped images can create slow downs on page loading.  To keep these delays minimal, it is important to keep the number of graphics displayed per page low.
  3. Avoid Special Effects.  Yes, special effects can sometimes draw customer interest, but the fact is that most customers will be more interested in clean design, fast load times and quality content.  If you have good content, you don’t need flashy effects.

Give your customers the maximum amount of time to browse your site.  Online attention spans are very short, so maximise the time you have by reducing the load times for your pages.

Thanks!

 

Sean

Internet Marketing Academy

Internet Marketing TrainingInternet Marketing CourseInternet Marketing Blog