Is Your Website Working Against Your Marketing? 5 Tips to Fix It
- Wes McDowell
- July 31, 2017
If you’re the marketing manager responsible for your company’s website, I’ll go out on a limb and say you have some issues with it. You’re doing everything right, but for one reason or another, your website is the last remaining bastion from “the old days” of your company.
So what do you do when your website — which should be the hub of your entire online strategy — betrays everything good you’re doing around it? Today, let’s take a look at five different ways your website might be working against your marketing efforts, and more importantly, what can be done about it.
Culprit #1: Poor Messaging:
I’ll tell you a dirty little secret that most web designers don’t want you to know: Bad messaging will kill a website much faster than a bad design ever could. With my design background, it pains me to say this, but it’s true, and countless A/B tests have confirmed it.
The words you use matter.
Consistency of message
If your marketing efforts send traffic to your website, how closely does that driving message correlate with what visitors will see once they get there?
If people click on a headline promising a special offer, or important information, and this isn’t presented — front and center — there is a disconnect. Therefore it is important that every time a potential customer clicks through to your site from a specific message, that same message is confirmed and expanded on once they get to your site.
This counts for social media ads, PPC ads, as well as organic search engine listings within Google.
Keep it customer-focused
Is your website all about your company, and what you do? Even what makes you so unique or special? Unfortunately, this misses the mark, and here’s why: Your potential customers don’t really care about what you do. They only want to know how you can help them. So by turning the conversation around to specific benefits you deliver to your customers, you’ll connect much better.
The right message at the right time
A well written page should take your customer on a bit of a journey, giving them the exact right information exactly when they need it in order to make a decision. One of my favorite copywriting frameworks, the PAST method does exactly that, and it works in almost every case.
- Problem: Begin by addressing the one big problem your potential customer is experiencing.
- Agitate: Make them really feel that problem, by examining it a bit closer. What are the symptoms of the problem? How does it impact their life?
- Solution: Now is the right time to step in and show why your company is the solution to their problem. Keep it focused on benefits rather than features, and on how your prospect’s life will improve.
- Testimonials: We will talk more about this later, but it is generally a good idea to follow up the solution with real stories from real people, and how they have benefited from your company.
Culprit #2: You’re not optimized for conversions
One of the biggest disconnects between a company’s marketing efforts and its website is paying to send traffic to a website that isn’t optimized to turn that traffic into customers.
When I say “paying for traffic,” that could mean an ongoing SEO campaign, social ads or PPC ads.
So let’s say your company is spending money on this type of traffic, and you successfully get them to your site. But now what? If it isn’t immediately clear what you can offer them, and how they can get that ball rolling, it’s just a big waste of money.
When I look at a potential client’s site for the first time, I go through a checklist, and ask myself:
- Is it clear what they do?
- Do they have a clear CTA? (call-to-action)
Without being able to say yes to both of those questions, you have some work to do. The first question goes back to messaging. You need to break down what your company can offer your customers in plain, simple terms.
For the second, think of the one action you want people to take on your site. (And please don’t say “to get more information!”)
You probably really want them to get in touch with you. So make it very easy for that communication to happen, and place the corresponding button in a very obvious place, and make it stand out.
Another consideration here is making conversions a frictionless process.
If the goal is to get prospects to schedule a consultation, don’t make them fill in any more form fields than absolutely necessary. (Unless you’re deliberately trying to pre-qualify them, which can be quite valuable in some cases.)
If you’re trying to sell a product, make the checkout process as smooth as possible. It all comes down to offering a good user experience.
Culprit #3: No trust signals
When is the last time you bought something online without reading a few reviews first? Same with trying out a new restaurant. My point is that social proof is a big deal, and if you aren’t providing any, it will be much more difficult to persuade your audience.
Trust signals can come in many forms, including:
- Social shares/likes
Depending on the nature of your business, you can use any combination of these to show your prospects that you have helped people just like them in the past, and those people loved doing business with you.
One of my favorite ways of doing this involves video. A video testimonial/review connects exponentially more than a standard written review. Why? Because they’re hard to fake. Real customers, speaking candidly will always come across as genuine, just as a fake one will always come across that way. Think about every commercial you’ve seen where an actor plays the part of a real, satisfied customer. It’s pretty easy to spot.
And the good news is, you don’t really even need any professional equipment or training to get these videos. Sure, you could hire a crew, and make it look 100% polished, but the truth is, even amateaur-looking testimonial videos are convincing. In fact, sometimes they’re preferable, as the rawness often comes across as even more genuine.
Culprit #4: You’re not mobile optimized
You’re probably aware that mobile traffic now accounts for over 60% of all browsing activity. And if you’re in the B2C space, that number can be higher than 80%. So one of the worst things you can do is drive traffic (especially from social media) to a website that isn’t well optimized for mobile devices.
And by well-optimized, I’m not just talking about sizing down to fit the screen. There are many things to consider when designing a mobile site that will perform for your business. Depending on your target audience and your industry, you might even want to go with a “mobile-first” design approach.
Here are a few factors that can make or break a mobile website:
- Page load speed. Are you using the same images on mobile as desktop? If so, they might take too long to load, resulting in visitors quickly bouncing from your site.
- Mobile-specific conversion flow. We went over the idea of a frictionless conversion process earlier in this article, and mobile requires this even moreso. Just remember, if you don’t make it easy to convert, you’ll lose out.
- General user experience. People browse differently on mobile devices, and this needs to be accounted for. Make use of horizontal swiping, reduced vertical scrolling, and intuitive menus for example.
Culprit #5: No plan to recapture lost traffic
Did you know that only 10-20% of website visitors are actually ready to buy today? That’s why playing “the long game” is so essential.
Here are some ways you can continue marketing to your prospects throughout the buyer’s journey:
- Install a Facebook tracking pixel on your site. This allows you to show highly targeted Facebook ads (or sponsored content) to those who have already been to your site, increasing the liklihood that they will remember your brand when they are more serious about converting.
- Build your email list. Create a secondary CTA on your site designed to capture basic lead information, such as names and email addresses in exchange for access to content, or a special offer. You can then target them through an email campaign, and even create a “lookalike” audience on Facebook to market to.
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