WEBSITE DESIGN & ONLINE MARKETING

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Website Marketing 101

Written by Emily Hall on October 6th, 2015.      1 comments

webmarketing 101

"So what does marketing actually do?" As a marketer, this is a question I have been asked on more than one occasion. So for those of you who are too timid to ask; marketing is communication. Marketing connects your product or service to a potential customer. You are a problem solver, and you need to communicate that you are the one with the solution. Often in marketing you need to explain the benefits of your product. 

But here's the thing; everything that you do is marketing. From your brand, the way you answer the phone, to the images and language you use on your website. How you communicate is important, and can often be your first, and only, impression

In the past, consumers sought information through brochures and advertising. While this is still available and in some industries works quite well, there are problems using these marketing avenues. In terms of communication, this is shouting at your potential customer. There is little to no interaction between your company and the person viewing your ad. 

Using a knowledgeable salesperson is great to help you seal-the-deal, but getting the person in front of the salesperson can be challenging. 

The internet has changed the way we look for information. Consumers are now able to go to one place to find out about a business. That place? Google! As a search engine, Google has a global desktop search engine market share of 62.74%. It's possible to compare businesses and products in just a few clicks. To appear in a favourable position on Google, your business needs to have a good online marketing/promotion plan in place using AdWords and other paid search advertising. You also need to have a long-term SEO plan in place, and a good persuasive website. 

94% of internet users in New Zealand look for information about products online, World Internet Project NZ 2013. People aren't just looking to buy right then and there. They are looking for a comparison. They are looking and comparing products and services. Your website's job is to convince them to make a decision. 

Because, shopping is decision making. Your job, or your website's job, is to change someone from undecided to decided. Essentially you want to make them say yes, add to cart, fill in a form, call you for a quote. You don't want to spend time and money promoting your business using a service like Google AdWords to then have your website fail to convince your website visitor to take action. You should invest in a copywriter for your homepage and consider a dedicated landing page for your AdWords ad. 

If you are unsure where to start, we can help you. Zeald has teams of people who can assist with all the services mentioned in this article. Contact us for a free consultation. 

 

When a good web design is not good enough

Written by Maria Lenzy on October 6th, 2015.      1 comments

The look and feel of your web design are integral to your website's street credibility.  In fact, according to Stanford Web Credibility Research, 75% of users judge the trustworthiness of the company based on the website design, while a whopping 94% of first impressions are design related. Based on these statistics, there should be no question about how important good web design is!

However, people won't just judge your website by aesthetics alone. No matter how superb your design is, it will never be enough to achieve your desired results when you are missing the valuable features of what every web design should have.

Here are some of the factors you need to consider when creating your website’s design:

Your web design is appealing, but you aren't relevant to your audience.


The details are not the details. They make the design. - Charles Eames

It can be challenging to move beyond what just looks good. The most important details are the ones that lead your website visitor to your desired outcome. Your end-goal should be the whole focus of the design. Even if your website has the best graphics, images, colours and typography, it won't matter unless you get a result.

Your web design looks good, but you are too pushy.


The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources - Albert Einstein

When you decided to build your website, you had the goal in mind to expand your business. Whether you admit it or not, your goal is to encourage people buy your products or services. But, there is a fine line between having a good persuasive website and driving away potential customers.

The secret to being persuasive without being pushy is to think about what your customer needs and how your product or service can solve their problem.

Your web design is fresh, but you lack functionality!


Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works. - Steve Jobs

Web functionality is one of the crucial aspects of a good and efficient web design. But why is it so important? The answer is simple.

We determine web functionality by the way your audience interacts with your site. In other words, it would be difficult for you to build a strong relationship with your potential customers when they find it awkward to use your website. It would be easier just to leave your site when it does not work. That may sound harsh, but it’s the reality. Think about the missed sales opportunities if your add to cart button doesn't work!

Your web design is awesome, but you need valuable content!


Content is king - Bill Gates

According to Emerald Insight, 75% of web queries are expressing informational intent. So most of your visitors are visiting your website to find content that would help them solve a problem.

You can offer your customers multiple resources to answer their questions, and hopefully solve their problem through your product or service. Content can be in the following format: blog articles, videos, infographics, images, pdf reports, and other media that balances information and entertainment.

Aside from SEO purposes, providing valuable content will brand you as an expert in your industry and will mark a real and lasting relationship between you and your audience.

Your web design feels trendy, but you are not mobile-friendly!


Intuitive design is how we give the user new superpowers. - Jared Spool

Your web design should be flexible to adapt changes and to cope with the needs and lifestyle of your audience.

According to Nature World News, Smartphone use means “more brain power at your fingertips”. New technology empowers users by allowing them to stay connected to the internet and have access to online tools they need to remain active online even when they are not in front of a computer. This is made possible through the continuous development and growing usage of smartphones and tablets.

This trend challenges all website owners to extend their reach to mobile users and improve their web designs to be mobile friendly. Both Zeald, and Google, recommend using responsive design for making your website mobile friendly.

These are just some of the factors you need to consider in creating a good web design. If you want to provide a great user experience for your audience, you need to look at your website holistically.  

Hopefully, you find this article helpful in building a better and result-driven web design for your business! If you have any trouble with crafting the best design for your website, Zeald is here to help you.
 
help

Topics: Design, Persuasion
 

Google Partners Digital Bites

Written by Emily Hall on September 30th, 2015.      0 comments

google digital bites
As Google Partners, Zeald were  delighted to host 'Googlers' Laura Retsos & John Ball from Google Australia at an exclusive event in September 2015. The presentations were informative about how you can use Google tools to promote your website and then persuade your visitors to become customers once they hit your landing page/ website. 

John Ball,  Google AU/NZ Country Director - SMB, spoke about The NZ Digital Landscape. He covered some interesting statistics including how much mobile has changed the way we interact with businesses online. Google call these interactions micro-moments. 



Google Agency Development Manager AU/NZ, Laura Retsos, went on to talk about Your Business on Google. Laura covered the basics of Google AdWords and how Google online marketing tools can be effective for small businesses. 

Finally, Brent Kelly, Zeald Sales and Marketing Director, talked about Smart Results Online with Google. The biggest takeaway here is that you can spend time and money using all the tools Google can offer you, but still not get any results if your website doesn't convince your visitors to become customers. 

We will have video clips of the event available shortly, so stay tuned.  If you have any questions about how Zeald can help you with your online marketing or website, get in touch >>

Zeald Google Partners
L-R John Ball (Google AU), Brent Kelly (Zeald), Laura Retsos (Google AU) & Dave Cullen (Zeald)
 

View more images of the event

 

The 1 reason website designs fail (& how to fix it)

Written by Hamish Braddick on May 2nd, 2011.      0 comments

(This presentation requires Flash, if you don't have it, you can download Flash here. View other presentations from Zeald)
Firstly, it's important to understand that the success of any website is measured by the results that it achieves.
 

What do we mean by website results?

When visitors of our website complete the actions we want them to complete - i.e., more sales, more enquiries, more bookings, more business and more customers.

So how do we get more visitors to take action on our website?

There are 5 factors to work on...
  1. Find visitors who are motivated - this will happen if the promotion is relevant, i.e., it's attracting the right kind of people to our website

  2. Convey the value proposition - the website needs to communicate this aspect quickly and clearly

  3. Reduce friction - make it easy for the visitor to navigate around the website and complete the website goals smoothly (for example, long or unnecessary forms can lose visitors).

  4. Relieve anxiety - get  the visitors to trust you so they are willing to do business with you

  5. Create incentive - offer something to prompt action (putting a time frame on it can also create urgency)

But....... the one thing that most websites ignore and the one thing that can make the most difference (from our experience) is a value proposition conveyed clearly and concisely!

What do we mean by value proposition?

When anyone visits a website, they have 2 questions in their mind....
  1. What? What is this about? What can I do, buy or get here?

  2. Why? Why should I be interested? Why should I continue?

Marketing Experiments study shows that if your website can't answer these 2 questions in about 3 seconds, visitors are less likely to take action.

Therefore, in the first 3 seconds, the top part of the page needs to tell the visitor why they should stay here to look for the solution..... rather than look somewhere else.

The order is important

Not only does the page need to answer these 2 questions, but it's important that the questions are answered in the correct order.

Our tendency is to rush into 'why' before we have answered 'what'. For example, it's no use describing the unique flavour if I don't even know that you sell ice cream.

Otherwise you create confusion..... & confusion creates mental resistance.

How does design fit in?

The visitor must be interested, understand and believe the message and design is the art of presenting that message.

Great website design will communicate the message...
  • Clearly
  • Concisely
  • Quickly

How can design do this?

Using an eye path

Design controls what the visitor sees 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th. There are 6 ways to control this...

  1. Size
  2. Colour
  3. Shape
  4. Motion
  5. Depth
  6. Position

We use these methods to emphasise one thing over another - we create a visual hierarchy to control what the visitor sees 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th.

Let's see that in practice....

  1. Present the message in a linear format so that the visitors' thoughts come in the right order. Their eyes should travel from top left down to the center through the headline and vertically down the page.

  2. Incorporate the value proposition in the opening headline. If the visitor reads anything on the page, you can guarantee that it will be the opening headline.

  3. Make the message short and sharp. Get straight to the point - provide just enough reason for the visitor to continue with the next step.

  4. Break content into headings and sub-headings - Use bullets or icons such as a 'tick' to break up text and draw the eye

  5. Use large text for important words

  6. Remove clutter

  7. Reduce distractions - Remove, separate, tone down 'related content' so it does not distract from the primary message

  8. Convey the message with images - take care not to confuse or distract with irrelevant images

  9. Tell the story with case studies & testimonials - convey your value proposition through a story and build trust and credibility

  10. Convey your message with your 'call to action' - let the visitor know exactly what you want them to do next

  11. Use white space - to reduce clutter and make the message easy to read. Think of it like a 'pause for effect'

  12. Use depth - depth can be used to separate and emphasise content. Textures and drop shadows create the illusion of depth

And finally... our golden rules

  1.  'Quirky no worky' :-)

  2. And always remember to measure, review and improve for continual progress and improvement on your website results.

It is easy to design a good looking website. A good web designer will create a website design that is unique, reflects the brand and builds instant trust with the visitor.

It is hard to design a website that generates results. It takes an expert designer to create a website that presents the right information, in the right way so it achieves your business goals.

Contact us for your website needs

 

How to stop cart abandonement online

Written by Hamish Braddick on February 23rd, 2011.      0 comments

Stop Online Shopping Cart Abandoment Studies show that nearly 75% of all online shopping carts are abandoned. In order to understand the reasons why, a Customer Experience Management firm conducted a study - have a read of the results.

How can you stop this from happening? A few tips from us:

1. High shipping prices

Shipping is a tricky area - free shipping is obviously a great incentive for the shopper to buy from you. But if you do that, you might have to absorb the costs, which can become expensive depending on the size of the product and how far you have to deliver the product.

There a number of strategies to stop this from happening:

  • Offer free shipping for orders over a certain amount. This is a 'win-win' for both you and your visitor.
  • If you have a physical retail store, offer the option of picking up from store to avoid the extra cost.
  • Offer a slower shipping option (which is hopefully free or at the very least cheaper) and also a faster shipping option.

2. Comparative shopping

This is where a visitor is considering a few websites that sell the exact same product. Even though you might be selling the same product or service as another website, there are things you can do to stand out:

  • Loyalty programs can also be very successful - you can use email marketing and social media to promote your programs and establish loyalty.

3. Changed mind

To persuade your website visitors to go through the sale before and stop them from changing their minds, you can use a few techniques:

  • Use detailed testimonials from customers that are happy with your products and services - include all their details and even a picture if possible so your website visitor is persuaded of the benefits of your products.
  • Create urgency by offering specials for a limited time. You could include free shipping for a limited period or you could offer discount on products - whatever works with for you at the time.
  • Indicate how much stock you have left of the item - especially for ones that are low. Kiwi t-shirt company icon, Mr. Vintage customise their site with a scale to indicate stock amount, which almost always creates urgency.

4. Total cost of items is too high

There are things you can do to help your visitors if the cost of items is too high:

  • Offer discounts on multiple product purchases.
  • If you sell bigger price items like furniture offer loan options if possible or monthly payments if they are on-account customers.

5. Checkout process is too long

Optimising your checkout process is a very important part of making sure that you convert visitors into customers. A few tips from us:

  • Make it easy for your visitor to access the shopping cart at all times. They should be able to stop browsing on any page and click through to the cart to complete purchase.
  • Once they have started the checkout process make sure that you minimum number of steps to finish the purchase.
  • Don't make it compulsory to create an account, offer the option of buying the products without signing up. Chances are that if they are happy with the products they will come back and sign up if you offer benefits like remembering details so shopping process is shortened.

6. Checkout process requires too much personal information

This is an easy mistake to make - many websites use the sale process to get as much information as possible where as it should be the opposite.

Make it as easy as possible for the visitor to purchase from you - only ask the absolutely vital information. You can always get the rest after the purchase or you can email them.

7. Site requires registration before purchase

We touched on this point above - don't make it compulsory to create an account. This can often deter - instead split the page into two and offer both options. Sign in/register and go through checkout without signing in.

8. Site is unstable or unreliable

It's extremely important to regularly check your site and all the pages to make sure that everything is functioning as expected. You don't want your visitor to feel like they are dealing with an unstable site. Part of having a reliable site is also going with a reliable web developer who makes sure that the site doesn't go down frequently, making your visitors nervous about placing orders with your site.

The other aspect is building trust in your site - if you want someone to put in their payment details on your site, they need to be sure that you can be trusted with their credit card details. We highly recommend using a payment gateway such as DPS or PayPal. These days most e-commerce sites display some form of secure payment gateway which put the visitor at ease especially when ordering from a new site.

9. Checkout process is confusing

If you're unsure whether your checkout process is smooth and easy to navigate through, try out some usability testing:

  • Approach a few people - family or friends and ask them to participate in a quick test.
  • Get them to go through the process of ordering something from a few of the most successful online stores like Amazon (they don't have to completely finish the process - just get as far as payment).
  • Then get them to try doing the same on your site. Watch them work through it and get them to give you objective feedback.

This can be very valuable in seeing if your user finds it easy to navigate through or if they are feeling a bit stuck in certain areas.

 

Getting your business ready for Christmas

Written by Hamish Braddick on October 28th, 2010.      0 comments

Christmas is pretty much around the corner now so it's a great idea for you to start preparing your business and website so you can make the most of the busy sales period.

We have a few tips to help you stay ahead of competition:

1. Research the competition

It pays to spend some time finding out about your competition. What are they doing? What products are they pushing? What extras are they offering? This will give you an idea about what everyone else is doing and maybe give you a chance to think of something that others haven't already thought of doing. Even looking at similar companies overseas to see what they have come up with can be really insightful – you might be able to localise something someone has done successfully.

2. Make sure you spend a bit of time on your website as a customer

Go through the motions and check that everything works - and even better if you can get a friend to do it. Set them objectives and watch them use your website and get their feedback. There is nothing worse than having someone visit your website and go through the process of making a purchase decision and then getting an error. Check all your processes and pages so you can rest easy knowing that there won't be any last minute hiccups.

3. Use email newsletters

Email newsletters are a great way to inform your customers about special Christmas offers and new product releases. Even if you don't have an ecommerce site, you can run specials on your services and tell people about it via newsletters. Therefore, if you don't already have a newsletter, it's well worth investing in one before the holiday period so you can take full advantage of all the benefits it can offer. Make sure that you also give every website visitor the chance to sign up to the newsletter even if they don't purchase your products or services – have a clear area on your homepage where they can sign up for updates from you.

If you'd like to enquire about Zeald's Email Marketing package, drop us a line and we'll give you all the info you need to know.

4. Introduce special offers

Once you have a newsletter in place, you can use it to create all sorts of great Christmas related offers. Maybe a countdown to Christmas with an offer each day – like a 12 days till Christmas campaign or if your products or services have mass appeal, you could even try approaching one day sale websites such as Grab One or 1-day sale to ramp up sales.

Also create urgency by letting them know the last day for ordering their presents to have it delivered it in time for Christmas. This will remind them to get in before the rush and it will make it easy for you to handle the delivery schedules.

5. Use social media

Remember to use social media and blogs to promote your offers. Social media is a great free tool you can use to grow your community so you can effectively promote your products and services.

6. Give your store or premises a festive make over

It doesn't have to be drastic, even a few subtle additions can give it a bit of the holiday cheer. Same goes for your website, have a few festive images and maybe update your logo to create a bit of a holiday theme.

7. Add vouchers

If you don't already have vouchers available, it's a great time to introduce them to your store and your website. Lots of people struggle to think of the perfect present so vouchers are a popular option for Christmas.

8. Free shipping

If you have an ecommerce or ecommerce+ site, free shipping around holiday time will give your visitors an incentive to order from you. If you don't want to offer this on small purchases you can set a certain value, maybe free shipping on orders more than $50 or $100. This might even motivate your users to spend more to qualify for the perk.

9. Gift wrapping

Gift wrapping and Christmas card could add a nice touch to your ecommerce business as well. You can do it for free or maybe include a small Christmas card along with the gift and charge a small amount. But think about the bigger picture and the fact that you could be giving yourself the edge with a small perk like this.

10. Think about the late shoppers

There will always be people that will leave Christmas shopping right till the end so offer some form of last minute pick up or an urgent delivery system.

11. Offer gift ideas on your website

Create gift idea sections such as 'by gender', 'by type' and 'by price' making it easy for your website visitors to find what they are looking for. You could even have categories like 'for chocolate lovers' or 'for someone that has everything'. That way you will increase the chance of your website visitor finding the right product on your website.

12. Extend your return period

Holiday period can be very busy and and some people do buy gifts well ahead of time so add a nice touch and extend your return or exchange period. This will help make your visitor feel more at ease when purchasing online or even in your store.

 

Usability testing

Written by Hamish Braddick on January 12th, 2010.      0 comments

Usability testing is a technique used to evaluate a website by testing it on users; by observing their behaviour as they attempt to use the website. The quality of the user experience is the most important factor in buying decisions made on the Web. Not price. Not reputation. Not security. Until you have tested your site for usability, you are losing business!

Until recently usability testing has been unaffordable to small business. Successful e-commerce sites like Amazon, eBay, and Microsoft spend millions on continuous usability testing; but you can get great results for just a small investment.

How does usability testing improve results?

  1. Understand - When real customers are using or testing your website, they pick up things that might not be obvious. By observing users trying to complete goals, you are able to pick up things which you might not have otherwise considered.
    You are able to build an understanding for how your customers interact with your website, your brand, your content; Learn what they really think.
  2. Prioritise - Usability testing helps determine the blocks that restrict conversion.
    To improve conversion you need to optimise. You might have “ideas” for ways you can improve conversion. Some ideas will have more impact than others, some may impact negatively, some require different amounts of effort and resources. So the obvious question is, “Where do I begin?”
Topics: Persuasion
 

Test, Measure & Tune

Written by David Kelly on November 13th, 2009.      0 comments

This is the final and most important section in the whole process of establishing a successful website.  The Test, Measure & Tune phase is an ongoing process that should never end. 

Every successful website that I have witnessed is the result of consistent ongoing improvement.  You should look to make it part of your website culture.

If you want to develop a highly persuasive website then you must commit yourself to a system of consistent ongoing improvement and in order to do this successfully in your company,  then you will need to be following a ‘Test, Measure and Tune’ (TMT) process.

A website is comparable to just about any business.  If you set up a new company it is impossible (even for the most experienced professional) to establish any organisation that runs perfectly from day one.  Good businesses become great only through consistent ongoing improvements.  A website is no different.  It is impossible to get a website perfect from day one (no matter how good you are).  A fantastic website only becomes so through careful TMT!

Importance of testing

This is the final and most important phase in the whole process.  The Test, Measure & Tune phase is an ongoing process that should never end.  

Every successful website that I have witnessed is the result of consistent ongoing improvement.  You should look to make it part of your website culture.

If you want to develop a highly persuasive website then you must commit yourself to a system of consistent ongoing improvement and in order to do this successfully in your company,  then you will need to be following a ‘Test, Measure and Tune’ (TMT) process.

A website is comparable to just about any business.  If you set up a new company it is impossible (even for the most experienced professional) to establish any organisation that runs perfectly from day one.  Good businesses become great only through consistent ongoing improvements.  A website is no different.  It is impossible to get a website perfect from day one (no matter how good you are).  A fantastic website only becomes so through careful TMT

Choosing a success metric

In order to TMT your website it is imperative to have a measurable ‘success metric’ or ‘signal’;  an objective measure that you can use to know whether you’ve made something better or worse.   

The success metric that you will use depends on what area of your website you are specifically wanting to TMT.   A list of common success metrics are outlined below.
 
  • Visits
    The Visits is the number of visits that have occurred to your website (or an individual page) over a certain period of time.  Visits are often further broken down into visits from New Visitors and Returning Visitors.   Visits are one of the most common and popular success metrics used by web marketers – especially when measuring the effectiveness of a promotional campaign.   The more visits generated by the campaign the more effective it is considered to have been.    However, visits often need to be combined with the next success metric – Conversion Rate, to truly determine the overall effectiveness of the promotional campaign.  Some campaigns can generate large numbers of  visitors but very few actual results as the campaign is targeting the wrong target of people or put another way – the visits are of low quality. 
     
  • Conversion Rate (CR)
    The conversion rate is the most popular and common of all success metrics.  It is calculated by dividing the number of conversions by the number of unique visits and multiplying the result by 100.  This s a great way of measuring the persuasiveness (or effectiveness) of a single web page (usually on the conversion pathway), or even an entire website.  

    It is very important when calculating this that you understand what constitutes a ‘conversion’ – which depends on what you are currently trying measure.  If it is the conversion of the entire website then your conversion will be your macro-conversion objective.     For some websites that might be an order,  a visitor submitting an enquiry form, registering for a free tool or signing up to the company e-zine.  For others it could be the number of visitors clicking on the ‘Contact Us’ page to locate the contact details for a company.

    However, if you are doing in-depth TMT you most likely will be trying to measure the conversion at a page level (or micro-action level) – i.e. you will want to measure what percentages of your visitors respond to individual calls to action.  Your micro-action might be ‘Add Product to Cart’, ‘Click here to find out more’ and any number of other things.
     
  • Click Through Rate (CTR)
    The CTR success metric is usually associated with online advertising.  It is used to measure both the effectives of your online promotions (pay-per-click ads, banner advertisements, text ads, directory listings, email promotions and so on) and the effectiveness of any promotions placed on your site by other advertisers.  The CTR is calculated by dividing the total clicks on an item by the total visits to the page(s) that the promotion features on and multiplying the result by 100.
     
  • Page Views Per Visit
    This is often to used to test the effectiveness of your website content.   It outlines how many pages an average visitor views before leaving your website.  It is often a good measure of the effectiveness of your pre-sales content and the overall value of your website to your visitors.  The Page Views Per Visit success metric is calculated by dividing the total number of page views by the total number of visits.
     
  • Revenue Per Visitor (RPV)
    The RPV is used by e-commerce websites to measure how effective the website is at getting orders from its visitors.  The higher the RPV the more effective the site is at generating revenue.  The RPV is calculated by dividing the total revenue by the total number of visitors.
The conversion rate is often the easiest and best success metric to use within your TMT cycles.  But, depending on what you are trying to achieve, other success metrics are sometimes more appropriate.  It is important that you choose the right success metric for the job.

Understanding noise & latency

When planning your TMT cycles it is important to understand the concepts of ‘noise’ and ‘latency’ and the impact that they can have on your TMT cycles.   If you do not understand noise and latency you can end up coming to the wrong conclusions and making the wrong decisions because you have misinterpreted your results.

What is Noise?

Noise means any outside factors that can have an impact or skew the results of your test.  If you are not careful noise can cause the results of your test to be incorrect, which in turn will result in you making incorrect decisions. 
  • Examples of noise which might impact the results of your test are below.
  • Natural disasters (Volcano erupting, big storm etc)
  • Commercial noise (Interest rate rise, stock market crash etc)
  • Promotional noise (major changes in the promotion of your website)
  • Publicity / Media noise (articles in magazines or newspapers about your industry or organisation)
  • Competitive noise (competitor does something drastic or unusual in their webmarketing)
  • Seasonal noise (Christmas, Easter, Mothers Day etc)
  • Day of Week Noise (different results on different days)
You need to be asking yourself – what outside ‘noise’ could be impacting the results of this test.  Do I need to run the test for longer period of time?  Should I keep the length of test short?  Should I exclude results from a certain period of time from the overall test?

What is Latency?

On many occasions visitors will not immediately respond to your offers.  Sometimes they will take days, weeks or even months to respond to your offers.  This is called latency.  Even the most compelling, low-risk offers have a degree of latency.   High ticket offers and complex offers will often have very high latency.

If you are not aware of the latency associated with your test you can end up with the wrong result and in turn make a wrong decision.  Once you have stopped your test you will need to continue measuring your results for a period of time. 

Understanding the control

With any TMT cycle you need to have a ‘control’, ie what is  current best version,  and it is that you want to measure against.  Your control sets the standard.

Before you set up a test you want to know exactly what results your control produces.   You also should know the ‘latency’ associated with your control.

Planning your recipes

Once you know your success metric (‘signal’) and your control, you are ready to set up your recipes.  These are the variations to the control that you want to test.  You need to carefully plan your recipes before you start your TMT cycle.

There are an almost unlimited number of things that you can TMT but I would recommend that initially you focus on these elements in your recipes:
  1. Headlines
  2. Opening Hooks
  3. Pictures / Hero Shots
  4. Trust Building Elements
  5. Pre-Sales Copy
  6. Teasers and Short Copy
  7. Bulleted Lists of Benefits or Features
  8. Calls To Action
  9. Pricing / Your Offers
  10. Order Forms / Check-Outs
  11. Length of Forms
  12. Button & Link Messaging
  13. Cross Sells & Up Sells
  14. The P.S
In addition to testing the different elements outlined above it is often a good idea to test ‘element attributes’.  What I mean by this is: the element might be the headline.  But some element attributes might be font size, font colour and so on.  Examples of common element attributes are as follows.
  • Size
  • Alignment
  • Style
  • Colour
  • Background Colour
  • Position
  • Bold / Italics / Underline
The options are almost endless.  Use your intuition here and create recipes that you think are likely to lead to a positive result.  Focus on the elements that that appear on the screen without needing to scroll first.

How to test

There are a number of different ways that you can conduct a TMT cycle.  Before we look at this though - a very common and valid question is: how long do I need to run my test before I can trust the results?  Or how many visitors do I need to have to each different recipe before I can trust the result of the test?
This is very difficult question to answer as it depends on the noise and the difference in the results between the control and the recipe.   Good testing software will tell you the ‘Confidence Level’ that your test has achieved (i.e. 60%, 90%, 95%, 99% etc).  However if you don’t have sophisticated testing software, as a general rule of thumb, I like to run my tests on a minimum of 500-1000 high quality visitors (quality prospects – not random clickers etc) before trusting the results.

Let’s take a look at the different ways to conduct a TMT cycle.
  1. Basic Testing
    Run the control – run the recipe.  This sort of testing is very susceptible to the effects of noise.  Be very careful and think through any outside noise that may impact the results of the test.  And make sure you run large sample sizes to keep the confidence level of your tests nice and high.
     
  2. Split Testing
    Split testing allows you to run the control and the recipe(s) at the same time with the traffic split between the two.  This helps you minimise the impact of any noise.   Split testing requires specialised software, but as long as you have it the software is simple to use.  If you are new to testing, split testing is a good place to start because it is easier to get solid scientific data, gain some testing experience and avoid many of the common pitfalls. 
     
  3. Multivariate Testing
    Multivariate testing allows you to test many different variables at the same time using sophisticated statistical analysis.  Multivariate testing allows you to optimise a page as quick as possible but it requires powerful software, careful planning and it is complex to set up a successful TMT cycle.
Topics: Measure, Persuasion
 

Creating great sales copy

Written by David Kelly on November 13th, 2009.      0 comments

AIDA - the age-old copywriting success formula stands for:
  • Attention
    You must get your visitor’s attention.  This is extremely important on the Web, as it is so easy to go elsewhere.  One click and ‘poof’, they’re gone.  You generally catch your visitors attention with a strong punchy headline and a 'opening hook' – a sentence that is designed to 'hook' the reader into reading the copy.
     
  • Interest
    You must immediately arouse your visitor’s interest and curiosity.  You can do this by telling a story or identifying a problem that your visitor is having (remember to focus on exactly who your target customer is here).  Understand the goals of your target customer and identify with them.  Pre-selling is often incorporated at this stage as the information that arouses interest can also be used to reinforce trust and credibility.
     
  • Desire
    Create ‘desire’ in your visitor.  This is usually achieved through clear promises that cater to the customer’s goals.  Focus here on your strongest benefits and outline them clearly and concisely so that they cannot be missed.  Maximise your visitor’s desire through good, strong ‘bonuses’ and bold guarantees.
  • Action
    Finally, finish with a clear ‘call-to-action’.  Make it absolutely clear what actions they must do on your website to achieve the desired outcome.

The Headline (“Attention”)

Headlines are the crucial first element of your copy.  Their purpose is to grab the attention of your target customer.  Remember– everyone will see your headline– and that headline could be the difference between a visitor wanting to find out more and exploring what you have to offer, or just ignoring your page and moving on. 

Some ways to approach writing a headline:
  • Promise a major benefit
    Reduce Your Waist Line By two Inches In 31 days!
  • Offer a solution to a problem
    Learn How To Reduce Your Credit Card Debt Instantly By 30%!
  • Flag your target customer
    Attention Homeowners! – Reduce Your Rates Bill By Over 50%!
  • Ask a question
    Have You Ever Been Ripped-off By a Used-Car Salesman?
  • Quote a testimonial
    “Thank You So Much! – My Website Sales Have Increased By 217%!”
  • Sound a warning
    Your Air-Conditioning Unit May Be Killing You!
Use ‘power words’ within your headlines.  ‘Power words’ are particular words that convey strong emotions with your readers. Typically they are words that represent something people are looking for.  When placed in a sentence they draw your attention.  The strongest ‘power word’ is - Free.  Some phrases that incorporate the ‘Free’ power word are:
  • Sign-up today to collect your free report!
  • Register for our free trial
  • Free gift (worth $19.95) for all new subscribers
  • You get our e-book ‘Website Fundamentals’ free!
  • Register today for a free demonstration
  • Sign-up today for our risk-free offer.
Another effective set of ‘power words’ is the “How to” phrase.  For example:
  • how to avoid…
  • how to reduce…
  • how to save…
  • how to create…
  • how to impress…
  • how to become…
  • how to generate…
“Learn” or “Discover” are also great power words:
  • discover 10 wealth secrets that  every millionaire knows!
  • learn the top 32 rugby coaching techniques used worldwide!
  • you will learn the secrets used by New Zealand’s top investors, who generate millions of dollars  every year!
  • learn my 10-point checklist for every property purchase!

There are many ‘power words’ that can be used effectively to give your headlines a boost. 

Here are some more ‘power words’ that work well: you, save, know, understand, results, proven, now, today, immediately, money, powerful, trust, create, and secrets.

Format your headlines to attract attention.  Use a large font size, with a bold style.  Try capitalising the first letter of every word, or put quotation marks around the headline.

The best way to come up with a good headline is to brainstorm.  Lock yourself in a quiet room and sit down and write out as many headlines as you possibly can.  Try to get out 20 or 30.  Once you have a good number of options go back through them all and pick out the top three.  Review and rewrite each of the top headlines – make them as sharp as possible. 

Then test each of the three different headlines for results and keep fine-tuning for maximum success.   A good headline will often require lots and lots of reworking.

The Opening Hook (“Attention”)

Now that you have caught the attention of your reader through the use of a strong headline, you need to ‘hook’ your reader and pull them into the main part of your copy.

An opening hook should continue from where your headline finished.  Present a problem, or outline the benefit to your reader in more detail and in a way that they can personally ‘identify’ with.  By doing this you are more likely to “strike a chord” with your reader.  Why?  Because you are demonstrating that you clearly understand their goals, needs and problems.

Sometimes it can be appropriate to emphasise the key points or benefit expressed in the main headline.  Give your reader a bit more detail.  Try to include the benefits of reading this website thoroughly.  If they want to explore and experience what you have to offer, it will be because you’ve given them a compelling desire to read more!

Headings (“Interest”)

Headings are used to summarise blocks of text  and paragraphs and you should think of them as being like mini-headlines.  Use them to summarise the main points for the accompanying paragraphs of text.

Less is definitely more.  These headings are there for one purpose only:  to provide your visitor the means to ‘scan’ your information, looking down your page to see if there is something that interests them.  For example, instead of a heading that says  ‘A Safe Boat is a Good Boat’ cut it back to ‘Boat Safety’  and let your text do some of the work. You get the general idea.

When drafting your copy regularly review your chosen headings and subheadings.  What they say must enhance the ‘scan-ability’ of your copy. These vital navigational tools are what many visitors will rely on in their reading - but be careful if you rework the paragraph text below them that they don’t become “out of context”.

Presenting content intended for a website is very different from communicating with your customers on an A4 piece of paper. Some visitors really just want to be able to visually skim your site. They do this by following your headings and sub-heading and highlighted text as visual markers, using them as their ‘sign-posts’.

If you have insufficient markers, your audience may become frustrated, bored, or worse, irritated.  Your target customers are online in the first place because one of their ‘characteristics’ as a customer group is that they demand instant information, presented logically, and in a manner that won’t hinder their objectives.

Once you have completed your sales copy make a list of the headings, by themselves, and put your headline at the top.  Review this list to ensure that your headings give readers a clear overview of your message.

The Introduction (“Interest”)

The purpose of the introduction is to introduce yourself to the reader and establish your credibility; you might use a well-placed testimonial, or select some ‘one-liners’ or ‘partial’ quotes from your testimonials. 

Telling a story is a great way to work an introduction.  People love stories! 

A well-presented story allows your target market to identify with you.  It will give people further confidence that you understand their goals, problems and needs.  As mentioned earlier pre-sales copy is often incorporated here as it is designed to provide valuable information to the visitor.

Think about how you came to be in the position you are now.  What made you offer the products or services that you are offering?  Share some of your passion!  People also love passion!

To tell a good story with passion you will need to allow some of your personality, or your brand’s personality, to shine through. By doing this you help build your customer’s trust in you by seeing you and your organisation as real people.  People do business with people they like.  By ensuring you are perceived in a likeable and ‘real’ way, you become more attractive to your target market.

The Body (“Interest”)

Do you remember the six questions your visitors will ask? 
  1. Do I trust you?
  2. Do I believe you?
  3. Do you understand my needs?
  4. What’s in it for me (WIIFM)?
  5. What do you want from me?
  6. Is it worth it?
You should have addressed the first two questions right up front on the homepage of your website and in other supporting content pages (“About Us” pages etc).   Many times you will want to further reinforce your trust and credibility in your sales copy through further pre-sales information.   You can never have too much trust and credibility!

The third question should be addressed in part by your headline and the opening hook.

In the ‘body’ section of your sales copy you want to address the fourth question – “what’s in it for me’ (or “WIIFM”)?  

The best way to answer the fourth question is by showing benefits.  Remember, people do not buy a product/service because of the features.  They buy an end-result.  They buy what a product/service will do for them. 

Remember: “customers don’t want ¼” drill bits… they want ¼” holes”.  (Think about that for a second!)

This is the section where you should use your USP (in all its glory!), if you haven’t already. 

Think back to the list of goals for our target customer, with each of the benefits associated with those goals.  This is where you will focus on these benefits. 

Use bulleted lists whenever you can.  Keep things as clear as possible.  Don’t be afraid to really elaborate and give your reader substantial detail.  Your reader is interested in your product/service (which is why they are reading), so give them what they need, and keep it as benefit-focused as possible.

The Offer (“Desire”)

Now comes the time to present the offer.  Before you do this please ensure that you have covered everything possible to make it extremely compelling.  Have you created as much ‘value’ as possible through the presentation of your benefits?

Remind the reader of the goal, problem or need that is being solved/satisfied by your product or service.  Summarise the major benefits associated with your offering, and then … present your offer.

There are a number of techniques that can be used to make the offer as attractive as possible:
  • Demonstrate the value of your offer with the financial benefits or cost-savings that will be obtained through the use of your offering.
  • Show a price or offer that is discounted or different from the normal price or offer.
  • Compare your offer with that of similar products or services.

Bonuses (Desire)

If possible, immediately after presenting the offer, present a bonus (or even better, a number of bonuses) that you will ‘add-in for free’.  This is not something that you absolutely must do but it will strengthen your offer substantially. 

When looking for bonuses, try and find something that has high perceived value to your visitor but which costs you little (i.e. products or services that have an extremely good margin). 

Great examples of low cost bonuses are electronic informational products (e-books, ‘wallpapers’, software, etc).  They cost a set amount to create, but then you can distribute them again and again for very little capital outlay.

If you can’t think of anything that you can offer as a bonus perhaps you are able to offer a discount that is available for a “strictly limited time only”.  This also creates urgency, prompting them to buy sooner rather than later.

The Guarantee (“Desire”)

Remove as much of the risk for your ‘target customers’ as possible and make sure your sales copy reflects that loudly.

Offer the most compelling guarantee that you possibly can.  As long as you have a great product or service often the general ‘rule’ is, “the stronger the guarantee, the less claims on that guarantee”.

A good guarantee will have a huge impact on the amount of sales or enquiries that you generate online. 

This is one of the most important elements of your sales copy and one of the most important fundamentals for your website.  People can still be sceptical at times about buying online, and although this attitude is slowly changing, it is important to reassure your buyers as much as possible, and remove any perceived risk.

Make a ‘song and dance’ about your guarantee, as it is a key tool in gaining the trust of your buyers.  Remember, the first order is always the hardest!

Take a risk with your guarantee– make it compelling.  Remember, people are generally honest!  It is likely that the extra sales and the profits your compelling guarantee generates will hugely outweigh any increases in claims you may have on your guarantee (such as an increase in ‘returns’ from customers). Besides, if it doesn’t work - you can always change it.

If you are unable to offer an iron-clad guarantee, because margins are too tight or the product or service is non-returnable for instance, then at least show a stack of top-notch testimonials from happy customers.

The Call To Action (“Action”)

Now is the time to complete the persuasion process. When you believe a prospect has been convinced that they should respond to your offer, move quickly to complete the transaction. 
  • Summarise what has been outlined in the sales copy.
  • Summarise the target customer's goal, need or problem and the proposed solution.
  • Summarise the major benefits.
  • And then spell-out to your visitors exactly what they need to do in order to respond to your offer.  Give them a firm ‘call-to-action’.
Make this as clear as possible.  There should be no room for confusion as to what the reader needs to do in order to place their order or lodge their enquiry.

I like to say – make your call to action primate proof.  Your call to action should be so clear that you could sit a chimpanzee down in front of a computer and they would work out what to do!

Many ‘sales’ have been lost simply because the seller did not ask for the customer’s business. Strange, but true; they did not complete the persuasion process!

So provide as many different methods for facilitating their order or enquiry as possible:
  • Some people, no matter how good your website security is, will not put their credit card details over the Internet.  Remove this boundary to completing a sale by offering alternative means of payment (cheque, direct credit, money order, and so on).
  • Some people would prefer not to buy online at all: provide contact details so these customers can place their order over the phone instead.

The P.S (“Action”)

The P.S is one of the most important parts of a long copy page.  Many experts claim that apart from the headline, it is read more often than any other part of your sales copy!

The “P.S” is simply a block of text after you have finished your sales copy, and provided all of your calls to action, headed with “P.S.”.  It's like something you might use in a personal letter or email.

Use a ‘P.S’ to:
  • Re-state your offer one last time (and remind the reader of the major benefit of your offering).
  • Encourage the reader to ‘order’ or ‘enquire’ immediately.
  • Sometimes you might even wish to add another key benefit here, as a ‘surprise’ for your reader. 
These small and meaningful portions of text are often heavyweights in that last-minute decision-making process.

Sales Copy Outline

sales_copy_outline.gif
 

Presales copy

Written by David Kelly on November 12th, 2008.      0 comments

Most highly persuasive websites contain a delicate mixture of pre-sales content and sales copy.  Lets take a minute to clearly explore and  understand the difference between these.
  • Pre-sales content is essentially about building trust and credibility and establishing rapport with your website visitors.   
  • Sales copy is about persuading visitors to take action. 
Every website has content, but many have little or no pre-sales content.  And very few websites have any genuine sales copy.

A good website needs to have fantastic sales copy supported by great pre-sales content. 

Pre-selling your way to success!

An excellent way to establish trust and credibility is through pre-selling.  This is where you give away relevant, quality information to your visitors.  To successfully pre-sell – the information you give you visitors must be valuable to them.  It must help them achieve what they are looking to achieve.

Sometimes a website will contain pages and pages of pre-sales information.  This is a good idea – especially if you are dealing with a lot of visitors to your website that do not know your company.

In fact - the amount of pre-sales content that you will need on a website depends on how much your visitors already know you and trust you.  A ‘cold’ visitor will need a lot more pre-sales while a ‘warm’ visitor will need a lot less.   Some websites will have huge sections of the website dedicated to pre-sales information while others may simply have a paragraph or two on a single page.   As a general rule of thumb – the more pre-selling you do the more you will establish your trust and credibility. It’s almost impossible to overdo pre-sales. 

You must be extremely generous with what you give away at this stage.  The information you present needs to be of perceived value and should presented with your own unique style and flair. 

For example:  If you have articles about your industry that help to explain and clarify the easiest way to maximise the results of purchasing your type of product or service, this can be highly valuable to people looking to better understand what they may be about to invest in.  Let’s say that an accountant who specialises in working with investment property owners wants to ensure that all visitors to her website understand immediately that the depth of his or her knowledge is vast and of huge value to clients.  A well written article detailing some of the unique ways that smart accountants who know the new tax rules can be of extra benefit to this particular market segment, is a great giveaway from their website simply because it states clearly that they know their business, and here’s how we the accountants can start to prove it.  This same article can also be turned into a downloadable checklist that is useful immediately to the client, because it makes him or her think about the real issues they need to address, and conveys additional confidence in this particular accountant’s ability to understand them.

While it may appear that this is a ‘freebee’ and why would any professional service advisor give away their knowledge for nothing?  Consider this: the tiny piece of information offered up this way is only a very insignificant part of the whole value such a service provider can provide.  It’s a bit like offering up a taste test of ice-cream at the local ice-cream parlour.   You know that the tasting is really there to help you decide which flavour to buy. 

This is another vital point – the purpose which sends most people looking for your site is to gain information.  A good example of your vast knowledge about what you do and how you can best service the needs of your visitors gives you a much better chance of them taking action towards becoming a customer.
Topics: Persuasion
 

Establishing your trust & credibility

Written by David Kelly on November 12th, 2008.      0 comments

Lets start off now by looking at the first two steps in the visitor persuasion process.  “Do I trust you?”  And … “Do I believe you?”.


In order to successfully persuade your visitors to take action you must first establish your trust and credibility with your visitors.  If your website visitors don’t trust you and believe what you are telling them, they will never buy from you – no matter how amazing your products or services are.

Picture this.  As you are walking along the street a guy walks up to you.  The guy is covered in dirt and grime and is wearing tattered and heavily worn clothing.  He smells of alcohol and has the appearance of a homeless person who is living on the street. The guy introduces himself as Kyle and points to a brand new Bentley Continental parked on the side of the road.  He holds up the car keys and says, “Sir, this magnificent motor vehicle can be yours right here right now for only $1000!  But only if you pay me $1000 cash right here right now.” 

Would you pull out your wallet (or go to the bank) and pay this guy $1000 cash? 

Why not? 

The  Bentley is worth far more than $1000.  This has got to be the deal of a lifetime!

You won’t buy simply because you don’t trust the guy!  You don’t believe that he is telling the truth; in fact he might not even be the owner of the car.

If you don’t establish trust and credibility with your website visitors, you will never persuade them to take action - no matter how good a deal you are offering.

There are many different ways of establishing trust and credibility with your website visitors.  Some are influenced by the way that your website is designed and built and some involve the content that you put on your website. 

Let’s take a look at some of these factors now:

  • Professional Design
    Your website must not look cheap!  First impressions are a vital part of establishing initial trust and credibility with your visitors.  Think about the story of Kyle and the brand new Bentley.  Kyle’s appearance would have greatly affected your perception of him and contributed to your lack of trust in him.
    One of the first impressions a visitor has of your website is the design – the look and the feel.  If your website screams ‘budget’ then it will seriously harm your potential results.
    Make sure your website has a sharp, professional look.  It should “look” like it has been designed and created by a person with professional website design skills.
  • Website Usability
    Visitors need to be able to navigate quickly to where they want to go.  If you confuse your visitors and they get stuck and cannot figure out how to get to your ‘Order’ page, ‘Enquiry’ page or your ‘Checkout’ page then you will lose them.

    The online world is a lot different from the physical world.  It is significantly more competitive and does not have any geographical barriers.  If a customer is not happy with your service in the physical world your competitors are probably 20 minutes drive (or more) away.  In the online world your competitors are only two clicks of the mouse away!

    This is a critical point – visitors must be able to navigate quickly to where ever they want to go.  Your website needs to be very user-friendly and easy to use.

    Many research studies have been completed investigating the best way to layout a website for ease of use. The theory of website layout is heavily influenced by the eye-tracking studies we looked at earlier. As a result of these research studies, standards have been developed that outline exactly where on a website you should place certain information and where you should locate navigational menus and buttons and so on (see www.uie.com and www.nngroup.com).

    Think about this – when you go to a website, you know that the company’s logo will most likely be located in the top-left corner and that you will be able to navigate the website using either the menu at the top or down the left-hand side.

    So why not make it easy for your website visitors by following the same standards that are already being used by millions of other websites.  If you don’t - you will confuse your visitors and your visitors will question whether you are even a credible business given that your website is so poor.

    I like to use this analogy: think about what it would be like if every time you jumped in a different car the controls were in a different place.  How frustrating!  A Bentley can still be better than a Honda without putting the steering wheel in the back seat and the gear stick in the glove-box.  Don’t make your website a nightmare for your visitors – follow the standards.
  • Website Loading Time
    Studies have consistently shown and it is now widely accepted that if your website takes longer than 8-10 seconds to load on a 56k modem then you run a serious risk of losing your visitor to a competitor's website and your trust and credibility is damaged.

    A good professional website designer should be able to create your website so that it loads quickly.  Do not compromise on this point! If they can not do this for you, then find another designer.

    If you website takes a long time to load it affects the trust and credibility your visitor has with you.  It is simple as that.  You can check the loading times of your website by going to http://www.zeald.com/Resources/Free+Tools/Website+Speed+Checker.html

    Graphics and photos will have the biggest impact on the loading time of your website.  Multimedia elements such as animations, audio and video can have a serious negative affect on your loading times.  Text usually makes little or no difference at all to loading times.

    Optimise your images so that they load as quickly as possible.  Most graphic’s programs allow you to do this.  If your graphics program doesn’t have the required features you can use the free tool available through the Zeald website – http://www.zeald.com/Resources/Free+Tools/Image+Optimiser.html
  • Trust Building Elements
    So far we have looked at ways that your website can be setup to help you establish trust and credibility.  What we have seen so far are ways of establishing your trust and credibility passively: through the professionalism of your website design and the general way that it is setup.

    It is important that you proactively establish your trust and credibility– right from the minute your visitors hit your “landing page” (the page where your visitor arrives.  It is worthwhile noting that your first landing page is not necessarily always your homepage. If you have links from other sites or emails, your visitors first entry to your site may be a ‘special information’ page.

    Specific thinks will help you establish trust and credibility, including:
    • Guarantees
    • Testimonials
    • References
    • Partners & Affiliates (borrowed credibility)
    • Certifications
    • Awards
    • Case Studies
    • Your Company Profile/History
    • Contact Details
    • A Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Trade
    • Your Client List
Obviously not every company will be able to put all of these on their website, but from this list, ensure you take the time to strategically place some the elements outlined above on your landing pages and throughout the other pages within your website.
Topics: Persuasion
 

Why every website needs a strong UVP

Written by Hamish Braddick on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

What is UVP?

At some stage or another you might have heard of the phrase 'elevator pitch'. It's basically a short 30 second pitch about your business idea or proposition. This typically includes who your target market is, what benefit you offer your customers, a description of your products or services and most importantly what makes you unique – what's different about you compared to everyone else in the market.

Unique Value Proposition (or UVP) is exactly that. It is a clear statement that communicates to your website visitors exactly what you are offering and why you are the only business making this offer. It's not the same as having a 'tag-line' which is usually something short and memorable.

A UVP doesn't have to be memorable but it needs to be a strong, clear and concise statement about your business so that every time someone lands on your website it should be immediately obvious to them why they should be doing business with you and not with someone else. For example, Amazon's UVP is 'Low price, wide selection with added convenience anytime, anywhere.' In one sentence they have summarised what sets them apart from everyone else.

Identifying your UVP should be one of the most important aspects of your marketing strategy but surprisingly, many businesses struggle with this and often ignore this key area of their business and website.

UVP success story

The team at Future Now, like most other marketers, are passionate about establishing a strong UVP for every website. To prove the importance and effectiveness of a UVP, they used one of their clients Accepted.com as a case study. They ran a test where they drafted three different versions of UVP and tested them against the original website.

They trialed UVPs that communicated how long Accepted.com has been helping customers, how much success they have had and the kind of customer problems they can solve.

The result was a whopping 30% increase in conversion, resulting in tens of thousands of dollars in extra sales!

As you can see, by just identifying your point of difference and communicating that with your customers, you can actually impact your conversion rate.

So how can you go about establishing a UVP?

UVPs are the best way to spark the interest of someone that has landed on your website within that 3 second time frame we often talk about. A big part of establishing a clear UVP is putting yourself in the customer's shoes – what does he/she have to gain by specifically doing business with you?

Here's a few tips to get you started:

  • Get input from your employees. Get a group of people in your company together – and ideally someone from every department so you get input from every area in your company. Even better if you can involve each and every one in your company through an email. You want them to answer the simple question 'what do you think we do best?' This will give you a range of answers from every part of your company.

  • Ask your most faithful customers. Find out from a few of your most faithful customers why they chose you. Clearly they think you offer something that no one else does, so find out what it is and get as much detail as possible – remember, if it's a great quote you can even use this as a testimonial on your website!

  • Think about why you decided to go online with your business. What made you think you needed to be online – maybe you saw an opening for a product or service that no one else is offering or maybe you can do it better, quicker or cheaper?

  • Create first draft of UVP list. Once you have the list from all the three exercises above, look for points that have a common thread and separate them out as your UVP list.

  • This list should be the foundation of your UVP. Now you just need someone that is a good writer within your company or someone you can hire for a few hours to write around five versions of the UVP.

  • Test each of the versions compared to your website as it stands. You need to place this UVP on your homepage and any other important landing pages (if you have any PPC advertising set up, all your landing pages from these campaigns should have your UVP). Test each one of the UVPs against your website and check for conversion rate - remember not to change anything else on your website during this period because you want this test to give you the best possible indication of what the right UVP can do for your results.

  • Pick the one that gives you the best conversion rate.

Once you have set up your UVP, remember that this will distinguish you from the rest of the market place and help you become a leader but to stay on top it's always good re-visit your UVP, tweak and adjust it as your business develops over time.

Topics: Persuasion
 

10 ways to create a persuasive and successful website

Written by David Kelly on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

Before your website visitor is persuaded to make an enquiry or buy your products or services online they need to trust you and believe that what you're saying is true. It's easy to achieve this credibility in a store where the visitor can meet your sales staff and shake his/her hand but when you are dealing with a website, you have to look at other ways to achieve the same level of trust and credibility.

Here are 10 most effective ways to build the trust and credibility of your website:

  1. Fast-loading website: Studies show that all web pages should load in 10 seconds or less on a 56k modem, otherwise you will start losing your customers. 

  2. User-friendly layout & clear navigation: Don’t try to be unique and quirky with the structure and layout of your website – you'll confuse your visitors. Everything needs to be as simple and obvious as possible. If you want to avoid being like every other website, get your personality across by using your branding, photography and copy. 

  3. Professional website design: First impressions are extremely important - if your website looks cheap, you will destroy trust immediately. Always use an experienced website designer - don’t try and do it yourself or get your cousin’s son or even your business card designer to do it! 

  4. Testimonials are great for establishing trust and credibility. The more the merrier! Keep them in their original form– don’t fix grammatical errors. Provide contact details for the people giving the testimonial. Whatever you do– NEVER fake a testimonial– it's obvious and you will destroy your credibility! 

  5. Case studies are in-depth studies of the successful 'experience' a customer has had with your business. They are powerful trust and credibility builders - particularly for complex products and services.

  6. Awards & certifications: Has your business won an award or achieved some sort of certification? Make sure it's displayed on your website because they can be fantastic for building your credibility. 

  7. Partners: Associating yourself with a well-respected partner or affiliate is a great way of building 'borrowed credibility'. You are effectively tapping into their credibility and people will think that if you are partnered with them, then you must be credible as well.

  8. Guarantees are one of the strongest trust and credibility building elements that you can have on your website. A strong guarantee shows that you have a 100% belief in your products or services. Make your guarantee big, bold and even a little brash! Many organisations have reported that the stronger they made their guarantee the fewer claims they received against it. And the increased sales or enquiries resulting from a stronger guarantee far outweighed the one or two extra claims that they received.

  9. Privacy policy: With the huge increase in SPAM and many other invasions of the individual’s privacy, a clear, ‘no ifs or buts’ privacy policy is mandatory for any website.

  10. A detailed 'About Us' page: This is a biggie. Websites can be very impersonal so the more you can show that there is a real business with real people behind the website the better. Use photos of your business and staff, and include where possible include a bio.

Building trust and credibility is an essential part of any sales process. Implement the above suggestions and you will be well on your way to improving the ‘persuasiveness’ of your website – and it’s ability to increase the level of enquiries or sales that you achieve.

 

US E-Commerce Website Conversion rates - April 9 2007

Written by David Kelly on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

Online merchants convert an average of 2%-3% of their site visitors into buyers, according to the e-tailing group's "Sixth Annual Merchant Survey."

That's about the same as last year. And the year before that.

US Website Conversion Rates

Shop.org conducts a similar annual survey with Forrester Research called "The State of Retailing Online." Conversion rates in that study also average about 2%-3%.
 

How to Improve the Average Sale Amount on your Web Site

Written by David Kelly on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

The average sale is the amount of money a visitor spends each time they come to your website. Average sale is a metric that will only be applicable if you are running an ecommerce website.

If you are running an Profile or Catalogue website then your average sale will be affected by what you or your sales people do once they receive an enquiry from your website.

To increase your average sale you need to encourage your customers to spend more money each time they visit. This is called merchandising. There are a huge number of merchandising techniques. Let’s look at some of the more common online ones:

  • Cross-sells
    Cross-selling is a powerful technique for increasing the size of your customer’s order. Cross-selling involves “suggesting” related products or services to a visitor when they are viewing or buying a product or service from your website.

    For example, if your visitor is buying a hammer then you might want to display a number of different types of nails.

    The most common way of doing this on a website is by displaying cross-sell items in the right column or below the item when a visitor is viewing an item, their shopping cart or checking out.

  • Up-sells
    Up-selling is when you “suggest” a more ‘advanced’ or ‘expensive product’ to the one that is currently being viewed or considered. For example, if your visitor is buying a chrome tap then you might try and up-sell your visitor by displaying a gold-plated version of the tap as another option.

    This is usually done in a similar way to the cross-sell– you display the up-sell item in the right column or below the current item as the visitor views it, or at their shopping cart or check-out screens.

  • Specials
    Placing a number of items on ‘special’ and featuring them on your home page, or on a separate ‘specials’ page can be an extremely effective way of increasing your average sale. A ‘sharp’ special can be just what is needed to get your visitor to hit that add to cart button. Remember, The first item in the shopping cart is always the hardest.

  • Wish-lists
    A “wish-list” feature allows your visitor to build up a list of items that they would ‘like’ to purchase at a later date. When your visitor returns to your site they are able to look back over their wish list and make a decision to purchase. If a customer has decided to make an order, many times they will add some extra items from their wish list in addition to the items that they are ordering.

    For even better results you could provide a feature where your visitors can email their wish list to a friend or family member (as a gift-guide), which has the added bonus of bringing a new visitor to your website.

  • Quantity pricing
    ‘Quantity’ or ‘volume pricing’ is where you offer a cheaper price or a bigger discount as an incentive for a bigger order. For example, if you buy one pack of nails it will cost $12.45, but if you buy five packs of nails then they’ll only cost $8.50 per pack. You are actively providing an incentive for your visitors to buy in bulk and thus spend more money ‘up front’.

  • Gift vouchers
    Gift vouchers can be a great way to attract extra visitors to your site and encourage your visitors to purchase more. Offer your visitors the opportunity to purchase gift certificates and have them emailed to a friend.

  • Buy one, get one free
    Run a special ‘buy one, get one free’ promotion or a ‘buy two, get one free’ - use whatever will convince your visitors to buy.

    This strategy works especially well with ‘end-of-season’ or ‘clearance items’ that you need to shift.

  • Free shipping on orders over $xyz
    We have seen this strategy work very well with a number of our customers. Free shipping on all orders over $50! This encourages your visitors to top up their orders to ensure that they get the ‘free shipping’.

  • Free gift
    Buy X and receive a free gift. This can be a great technique if you have a product that fulfills a customer need, but is just not converting. Ideally, you want to use a gift that has a high-perceived value but costs you very little. A small ‘free gift’ can sometimes be just enough to overcome the last little bit of buyer reluctance.

  • Best sellers
    If something is a ‘hot seller’ or ‘popular item’ and you are barely promoting it, then chances are, a little bit more promotion could mean a large increase in results. Great merchandisers will often focus on their best selling items, not their worst.

  • New items
    Consider having a section that introduces new items that have ‘just arrived’. This can be great for those early adopters who love to try out anything that’s new and always be on the leading edge.

  • Package deals
    Try combining a number of items into a package deal. Offer a special discount if the customer buys certain items as a ‘package’. Think of fast food meal deals where they package up a burger, fries and a coke. Do you have a number of your products or services that you could package up? What will be attractive to your customers?
 
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