Tuesday, November 1, 2011

6 Common Mistakes NZ Businesses Make When Spending Money Online!

Whether you’re driving traffic via display banners, paid search, social media sites, organic search engines or mobile platforms, it’s highly likely you’re leaving thousands of dollars on the table.

Many companies both small and large throw up a swanky looking website, invest thousands of dollars in paid traffic and think they have a robust online marketing strategy - but they miss an opportunity to maximise conversion through poorly optimised landing pages.

Driving targeted, cost-efficient traffic to your website is only half the battle. Increasing the on-page conversion rate of your landing pages can explode sales numbers halve acquisition costs and propel you years ahead of your competition. This post includes invaluable information to help you evaluate the effectiveness of your landing page to ensure every cent of your online budget is being spent effectively.

Six Tips to Turn More Visitors into Customers
• The Structure of an Optimized Landing Page
• Why Headlines Are So Important + The Magic Recipe
• Long Copy or Short Copy – Follow Amazon.com’s Lead
• Images – 7 Styles of Photo That Convert the Best
• Extracting information – How To Avoid Scaring Them Away
• Plug the Leaks – Don’t Let Them Escape

Conversions vary for every website but there are several techniques that can drastically increase the conversion rate of landing pages.

1. The Structure of an Optimised Landing Page [1]
The structure of a highly optimised landing page varies greatly and depends on many variables such as the target demographic, the conversion type (lead application, purchase, download etc.) or traffic source you use, just to name a few. However, a well optimised landing page should include some of the following elements.

  • A simple design to make it easy for the prospect to follow the path you wish them to take. The page should be uncluttered and clean (important)
  • A bold, prominent headline that includes the biggest benefit (important)
  • An image (not always)
  • Bullet points that include key benefits (3-5 is a suitable number)
  • Social proof (e.g. testimonials, Facebook likes, reviews, positive comments from customers etc.)
  • Authoritative logos or endorsements (e.g. endorsements by a well-known association, membership or news logos)
  • A strong, clear call to action which appears multiple times on the page include one above the fold (is visible to the user without having to scroll down).
  • Animation such as flashing buttons, graphics or borders.

Urgency. Create urgency with a limited time offer which expires on a certain date or time.

2. Why Headlines Are So Important + The Magic Recipe [2]
People scan pages especially when reading online. A good headline will capture the reader’s attention and draw them in to read further. If your headline is too long or complicated, you’ll lose their attention.
Check to ensure your headlines communicate the biggest benefit and are written in “plain” English – clever headlines may be creative but they don’t reassure the prospect that they are in the right place. Try to avoid using product features in the headline; people don’t care whether your company has 500 staff, or whether revenue grew by 10 per cent last year. They want to know “what’s in it for them!” A good headline should be relevant to the prospect, clearly communicate the end benefit, the problem you will solve and build interest.

3. Long Copy or Short Copy – Follow Amazon.com’s Lead [3]
We’ve all seen the landing pages that scroll for ever but, do they convert? They do, but it depends on the type of conversion you’re optimising toward. If you’re selling a product or service – where the prospect requires a higher level or persuasion – try testing well written long copy on your landing page; it will often result in higher conversion rates.

Often, websites undersell on their landing page by not including enough information about a product – conversely, others bore their prospects with too much information! The optimum length will vary depending on the value of the product, the length of the consideration cycle, and your target audience. Therefore, the best option is to ‘split test’ different landing pages with short, long and medium length copy.

A good example of a company utilising optimised landing pages is Amazon.com. Amazon.com is a prolific split tester, and due to the sheer volume of traffic the site receives, a small increase in conversion rate for a top-selling product can yield tens of thousands of dollars in incremental revenue.

The length of an Amazon product page varies and tends to include social proof such as Facebook ‘Like’ buttons, customer ratings, product recommendations, forum discussions, multiple calls-to-action and images of the product in use – all of which increase conversion rates. See examples below:

Amazon long product page for a high-value product, such as a camera
Amazon short product page for a low-value product, such as a pack of batteries

A general rule of thumb is that when a prospect is investing a reasonable sum of money in a big ticket item, they need more convincing, and therefore longer landing pages tend to be successful. Whereas, the risk of buying the wrong packet of $10 batteries is less of a concern and therefore, less selling is required and a shorter landing page is adequate.

Ultimately, we recommend testing to ascertain the optimum length for a landing page.

4. Images – 7 Styles of Photo That Convert the Best [4]
Using appropriate imagery on landing pages can improve conversion rates significantly. Conversely, removing imagery from a landing page can raise interest and increase conversions too; so the secret, again, is to test. Action shots (i.e. showing the product in use) often perform better than static product shots; whilst images of children, animals, celebrities, women with babies and food are also generally considered to grab attention and be more persuasive.

Using images that are relevant to your target market or the product/information they are searching for will increase relevance and on-page conversions rates. For example including an image of a European car on a landing page promoting a product or service targeted at European car owners. If you’re targeting an Asian demographic, you could test images of Asian people versus other nationalities (e.g. Pacific Island, Caucasians) to see if this resonates with the audience, and in turn, results in more conversions.

Building relevance by communicating consumer benefits, using trigger words in headlines and using relevant images on landing pages will reassure your prospects that you offer what they need and that they are in the right place.

5. Extracting Information – How To Avoid Scaring Them Away [5]
In general, the less work a visitor has to do, and the less information they have to surrender, the more likely they are to convert.

If you require a visitor to supply their full name, address, home and mobile phone numbers and credit card details in order to download a free PDF report, chances are they’ll hit the back button faster than Google will charge you for the click! Ensure that all requested information is necessary and reasonable. If capturing an email address and first name is all you need to continue a sales conversation if the prospect abandons the sales funnel, then it’s best to just ask for this. By asking for less information, you will increase the number of visitors who complete your online form, and you’ve still got another opportunity to pitch them again via their email address

Obviously, there are times when capturing more information will improve the quality of your leads. In this instance, I suggest capturing this information across multiple forms starting with the prospects name and email address and ending with the more sensitive information such as their age, income or financial details (if required). It’s more likely a prospect will complete the last page because they have invested their time completing the first few pages.

6. Plug the Leaks – Don’t Let Them Escape
Including unnecessary links on a landing page gives your prospect an easy way to escape the sales funnel. This is common as web developers often use the main website template for landing pages which includes the main navigation and other unnecessary links. Ask your web developer to exclude them and any other unnecessary links, to avoid distracting your prospect. Ensure there is a clear “path to purchase” on every page.

The #1 Tip to Increasing Conversion Rates
The online environment is dynamic, so what works for one website won’t necessarily work for another. I have only included a handful of known techniques used to increase on-page conversion rates but the most import part is to understand your sales process. Understand how your customers research information. Know what information they require during the different stages of purchase. What are their needs, concerns and desires? What are their emotional triggers? Why did your current customers buy? The following information is vital to the process and should be the first thing you do.

The process of researching, planning, tracking and implementing an optimisation project takes time and resource to complete effectively. If you don’t have the time or confidence to complete this work, and you want reassurance that you’re using your online marketing budget effectively, contact the digital team at PHDiQ for a no obligation chat.
Get onto it today! Contact PHDiQ

1. Book: “Don’t Make Me Think” By Steve Krug.
2. http://www.marketingexperiments.com/improving-website-conversion/site-headlines.html
3. http://www.conversion-rate-experts.com/scrolling-tips/
4. Book: “Ca$hvertising” By Drew Eric Whitman
5. http://www.searchenginejournal.com/9-effective-tips-for-a-better-landing-page/8413/ (point two)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for writing such an informative post ! I think landing page must have a product or service. If you have multiple products, multi-page landing for each product has to be created.