6 Smart Ways to Generate More Positive Reviews
Who doesn’t love a positive review from a satisfied customer? Every business owner knows the value of positive reviews – and they’ve never been important than they are right now.
Did you know that more than 80% of all consumers say that they trust a product review from a stranger as much as they would a personal recommendation from a friend. Not only that, people trust user reviews more than the official descriptions of products.
If you’re thinking of customer reviews as something that you can’t control, think again. Business owners can do a lot to encourage reviews – and of course, you can increase the chance that most of your reviews will be positive by providing excellent quality and service.
Still, those things aren’t enough. You can’t afford to sit back and hope that customers leave reviews of your business.
Fortunately, you don’t have to take a backseat to your customer’s whims. Here are six smart ways you can get more positive reviews online.
#1: Email Customers After a Purchase
Do you send customers an email after they make a purchase?
I’m not talking about the confirmation email where you send them an order number if they order online. I mean an email where you specifically ask them how they like your product and request that they write a review.
This is a practice that’s become increasingly common – and for a good reason. Some people automatically leave reviews for everything. They’re the well-known Yelpers who have thousands of reviews.
Many people need a reminder. They’re not going to leave a review of their own accord – but they just might if you ask them nicely. This is the review version of the call to action on your website. It’s a specific request to take a specific action.
Try sending your review request email a week to ten days after the purchase. That way, the customer will have had a chance to use your product and may be ready to offer an opinion.
#2: Empower Your Employees to Ask for Reviews
Sometimes, making the right request at the right time is all it takes to get the reviews you want. That’s why it makes sense to have your employees ask for reviews.
Some Uber drivers do this. Just before they arrive at their passenger’s destination, they ask about the review. The simple request puts the idea of leaving a review in the customer’s mind and greatly increases the chances that they’ll comply and leave a review.
Why ask at the point of service? When a customer has just made a purchase or used your service, the experience is fresh. A cashier who provides a friendly checkout and some banter is ideally placed to ask for a review because they have an opportunity to build rapport with the customer.
If you decide to use this method of getting reviews, consider printing cards asking for reviews and putting links to your review pages on your website. You don’t want customers to be confused about what to do – so eliminate the guesswork and you’ll reap the rewards.
#3: Use a Reviews Provider
Are you selling products from well-known brand names? If you are, you might benefit from using a reviews provider like Bazaarvoice or Revoo to build up reviews on your product page.
The benefit of using these providers is that they can get you a bunch of reviews at once. They’re real reviews from real people and they can give your page instant credibility.
The downside is that the reviews aren’t from your customers. They’re from people who have bought the product – and they’re all verified. That’s the good part. The less-great part is that they can’t and won’t be providing reviews of YOUR business, including your ambience, customer service, and other key drivers of business.
These providers are a good option for start-up businesses because they can make your website appear to be well-established and popular. As you go, you can supplement the reviews you get through a service with new reviews from your customers.
#4: Try to Get a Google Local Guide to Review Your Company
Google Local Guide is a program owned by Google that designates certain reviewers as local experts.
The process of getting a local guide can be a complex one, but here are some tips to help you do it:
- Make sure your Google My Business listing is up-to-date and active
- Join Google Local Guides on your own – you can write reviews of local businesses and raise your visibility provided you don’t use the platform to promote or favor your business
- Attend local events with other guides
- Invite other guides to come to your business
This isn’t a quick fix, but the nice thing about Google Local Guides is that when a local guide reviews your business, their designation shows up in the review and that gives it more weight than it would have otherwise. Another benefit is that Google requires guides to use their real names, so there’s less of the anonymous ranting that shows up on Yelp.
#5: Automate the Asking Process
If there’s a way for you to automate the process of asking for reviews, why wouldn’t you do it?
Automation means that there’s no worry that a stressed-out employee will forget to ask. It turns the process into part of your customer service – a hands-off way of encouraging customer feedback and garnering the kinds of reviews you want.
Here are a few suggestions to help you automate your system:
- Set up an autoresponder to send an email requesting a review. Instead of manually sending those emails, link the date of a customer’s purchase to their email and have it go out on schedule. If you link customer purchases to your email marketing provider, you can rest easy knowing that every customer will get a request for a review.
- Print up review request cards and put them in the customer’s bag at checkout. This method eliminates the need for your cashier to ask for a review, and makes it simple to do even at times when you’re busy and have a line at the register.
- Put review links on your product pages. That way, when a customer makes a purchase they can easily read reviews of it – and it may help to remind them to leave a review after their purchase.
Automating your review request system makes good business sense because it eliminates the guesswork.
#6: Set Up a Review System in Your Company
Even if your business is small, you shouldn’t fly by the seat of your pants when you’re requesting reviews. The method you use to ask for reviews should be part of your company’s standard operating procedures.
Your review system should:
- Specify whose job it is to ask for reviews
- Specify the language to be used when requesting a review
- Specify methods to be used (email, conversation, links and printed cards, to name a few)
- Specify the timeframe for requesting reviews
- Lay out procedures for responding to both positive and negative reviews
If you codify your system for requesting and managing reviews, you can be sure that there isn’t any confusion and that customers always get the request you want them to get.
Don’t Sweat the Negative Reviews…
We’ve focused here on garnering positive reviews for your business, but don’t get too stressed about negative reviews. If you handle them properly, they can help your business too!
Respond quickly and graciously and offer solutions. Don’t get defensive. Many businesses use negative feedback to demonstrate that they care about their customers.
If you’re getting so many reviews that you’re having trouble keeping up, you may want to consider using an online review management system to help you – and having too many reviews is the problem you want to have! That’s how businesses grow.
How to Optimize Your Website for Smart Speakers and Voice-Activated Devices
Do you use voice search on your phone or on an in-home device like Google Home or Amazon Echo?
More people do this year than last year – and that’s a trend that’s likely to continue. As of March 2017, 12% of American households have a voice assistant.
Some are named Siri and others are named Alexa…
But they’re all doing the same basic thing. They’re providing voice-activated, localized search results that use casual human speech and questions instead of traditional keywords.
In other words, instead of going to Google and typing:
Best delivery pizza Chicago
People are saying:
Okay Google, what’s the best pizza delivery place?
Virtual assistant use GPS to provide local results, and they read the intent behind the questions we ask them. That means that it’s no longer enough to use the keywords people type on your website.
You need to consider the things they say, too.
What Keywords Should You Be Using?
The good news is that keyword stuffing is dead. You don’t have to spend your time worrying about keyword density, and you certainly don’t need to tie yourself into verbal knots trying to use an awkward long-tail keyword 30 times in a thousand words of content.
Does that mean you can ignore keywords?
Of course not, but it does mean that you need to be smart about how you use them. You need to find long-tail keywords that people use to search businesses like yours and use them on your website in ways that give them prominence for virtual assistants like Alexa, Google Home, and Siri.
Long-tail keywords should include specific information about your business, including local words like your city or neighborhood. They’re the words that will help smart speakers and virtual assistants find you even if the speaker doesn’t use those words.
How Can You Find Long-Tail Keywords?
You might be wondering where you can go to find long-tail keywords – and if you’re not already using them on your site, this is an essential question to answer.
Fortunately, it’s not a complicated process, and it shouldn’t be. There are several free tools you can use, and some of them don’t even require you to go any further than the Google home page.
- Let Google autofill suggest long-tail keywords. When you start typing in Google’s search box, you get a list of suggested searches that pop up automatically. As you type, the suggested search terms change. These lists – which are based on search volume – can help you identify long-tail keywords to use on your website.
- Another Google tip involves scrolling down to the bottom of the search engine results page and checking out the related searches. You’ll see a list of words in bright blue with a headline that starts, “Searches related to” and then lists the keyword that you originally searched. These terms are also known as LSI or Latent Semantic Indexing, and they can add context and meaning to your website.
- Try Ubersuggest, a free tool that suggests long-tail keywords for your business based on an existing keyword. It’s simple to use and can provide you with useful ideas to build your site’s SEO for voice. It even links out to Google and GoogleTrends to make it simple to dig a little deeper on any suggested keyword.
- Speaking of GoogleTrends, you may want to try it, too. This is another free tool that gives you the opportunity to gage a keyword’s popularity before you add it to your site.
- Consider asking your customers how they’d search for you if they were using a smart speaker or virtual assistant. Even an informal poll like this can help you choose the right keywords.
As you compile your list of keywords, try to add some stats and data that will help you determine which keywords you should focus on. You can use that information when you start to revamp your site for voice search.
Incorporate New Keywords into Your Site
Earlier, I said that keyword stuffing is dead – and it is. Remember that.
When you start to add new keywords to your site, resist the urge to go overboard. All the search options we’ve mentioned are looking for relevance, not volume.
In other words, you shouldn’t be trying to pound people over the head with your keywords. It’s important to use them – but in a smart way that leaves your website readable and useful to potential customers.
Sometimes, the keywords that you find might sound awkward. You don’t want to force yourself to use phrases that sound unnatural on your site, nor do you want to tie yourself into linguistic notes trying to make them fit your existing copy.
If the keywords you find work as topics of Frequently Asked Questions, then using them there can be a quick and easy way to incorporate your new keywords into your site. And if a topic merits more in-depth coverage, consider writing a blog post about it or using it in a key spot on your home page or on a product page.
Keep Your Local SEO Updated
Because a big percentage of voice-activated searches have local intent (40% according to BrightLocal) it’s essential to make sure that your entire site is optimized for local search.
That means using local keywords, linking to local authority sites, and claiming your listings in online directories and on review sites like Yelp.
You’ll also want to make sure that your NAP listings are uniform and that your online presence is coherent and designed to help local customers find you.
It’s a Whole New World of Search…
… And you don’t want to be left behind. The likelihood is that the percentage of people who search for your business using smart speakers, virtual assistants, and voice searches will increase in the coming months and years. Some local businesses may be caught unawares – but you won’t be if you follow the advice in this article and start optimizing for voice now.
Then & Now – How the SEO Game Has Changed
It’s official. The SEO game has changed.
That’s the word in a new and ever-evolving world of search. In fact, things are changing so quickly that they’re hard to keep up with. We no longer live in a world where we can easily grab hold of what matters in SEO because it changes constantly.
We grasp one new reality – like the importance of local search – and another one pops up right behind it.
It can feel impossible to keep up – and yet keep up we must.
What SEO Used to Be
When studying the evolution of anything, it’s good to start by examining – at least briefly – what used to be. In the world of SEO, that’s a relatively short timeline, but one that’s jam-packed with updates, changes, and rethinking.
In the earliest days of SEO, search was all about keywords. Webmasters would stuff their pages with keywords confident in the knowledge that this practice would pop their sites up to the top of any search engine’s results page.
Then Google arrived and turned search upside down. Their refined algorithms prioritized quality over keyword stuffing. Suddenly, SEO pros were talking about backlinks and content and things like that…
… And then the algorithms changed again.
Local search became a thing – and then mobile searches surpassed desktop searches and Mobilegeddon happened.
Now, SEO pros have been hit with a slew of new search options.
Five New Search Trends to Remember
SEO isn’t just for Google anymore – or for Bing and Yahoo
In fact, most of the big changes in SEO today are not search engine related, or at least, they’re not related to the search engines we’re used to.
SEO still stands for search engine optimization, but new search options and technology require new kinds of optimization. This is what you need to know.
First up is mobile search. If you’re thinking, “Wait, Mobilegeddon happened already! Why do I need to worry about mobile search?” then pay attention – because things have changed.
When we worry about mobile search now, we’re not talking about using Google on your phone. In fact, mobile searches in that sense have become so commonplace that they’re hardly worth mentioning. In the US, more than 70% of all internet usage happens on phones!
Here’s the thing though – most of the time we spend online on our phones isn’t on traditional search engines like Google. We’re actually spending 92% of our time on mobile apps – and that poses a real SEO challenge.
Originally, the only option available for in-app searches was Spotlight. Now, there are many options – and while some were originally designed to work only for GPS, they’ve expanded beyond that to general geographical searches.
Google Maps plays a role in many mobile searches too, and it makes sense given how much information is included in a single Google Maps listing.
Voice Search and Personal Assistants
Just a few years ago, speech-to-text technology was uncommon. It existed, but it wasn’t something that people turned to when they wanted to search for something online.
Now, the widespread use of digital assistants like Siri (the iPhone assistant) or Alexa (Amazon’s entry in the market) has brought a whole new facet to the world of search – and to SEO. And it’s not just digital assistants – televisions, lights, and other household items are all connected through the internet of things.
What does this mean for search? Well, for starters, Alexa doesn’t even require the use of keywords to give users what they want. A casual, “Where should I eat tonight?” is enough to get a list of local restaurants. These digital assistants are smart enough to see beyond normal human speech and understand what’s being asked without keywords.
These new search options expand search beyond our devices. Activated with the sound of our voices, they can take our personal histories and past actions into account to give us the answers to our search inquiries.
Another big change in SEO is the way people use social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to look for content. When these sites were launched, their search functions were basic – intended only to help users find their friends.
Today, though, more people are using social search engines to find local businesses and services. They know that if they type local search words into Facebook, for example, they’ll get a list of companies whose pages they can peruse.
There’s also been a switch in that it’s now very easy to use social search to find content instead of brands. If you log on to Instagram, you’ll notice that their algorithms give you recommendations based on your activity on the site. If you view a lot of wildlife photos or take frequent trips to San Francisco, you’ll see those preferences reflected in the content that Instagram recommends to you.
Using the right hashtags and descriptions can help algorithms recommend your content to the people who are most likely to patronize your business.
Messenger apps like Facebook Messenger are also playing a role in search. In fact, if you’ve used Messenger recently you’ve probably noticed that if you use certain words – like “song” for example – you’ll get a message that says, “Find songs now.” In other words, there’s a built-in search engine working behind the scenes.
There are messenger apps like Pegg, which provides financial services to small business and start-ups – and some companies are now using messenger bots to handle routine customer service questions.
This is yet another example of casual, non-keyword speech being used to deliver search results in the moment. And it shows that anybody clinging to the old, keyword-centric SEO of the past is missing the boat.
Finally, we have the issue of topic clusters – a natural outcropping of the move away from traditional keywords and toward casual and contextual search results based on natural language.
Topic clusters require companies to link pages of related topics together to provide context and meaning for your content. Instead of being forced to write repetitive blog posts, you create a pillar post around one topic and then create other posts and pages that link to it (and from it) to build your site’s architecture.
If you do it properly, the result is a website that is specifically built to recognize a user’s intent and provide them with the means to jump from one related topic to another. It can boost your search engine visibility and ultimately, help grow your business.
Don’t Let the Changing Face of SEO Intimidate You…
These changes are good because they represent an opportunity to move away from optimizing for broken phrases and awkward keywords and into a future where human speech and intent are recognized by search engines without keywords. With any luck, these trends will usher in a new era of content that’s designed to help users and companies connect.
How To Write Emails Like the a Pro
If you’re a good marketer, you already know that mail marketing remains one of the best ways to market your business. Yet there are still many businesses out there who view it as an outdated, and antiquated way of getting their message out to the masses. Those businesses tend overlook email marketing altogether, which is a big mistake given how effective it really is.
Part of the problem is that the businesses who do email marketing – don’t do it well. Think about the recent emails in your inbox from businesses, and think about how many you were excited to open.
The reality is that most businesses don’t do well when it comes to writing effective emails. Rather than using this medium to connect and engage with the customer, they instead focus on milking them for money. This tends to lead to those email ending up in the Spam folder, or with recipients choosing to unsubscribe.
If you are constantly sending out “mediocre at best” emails, then the reality is that your subscription list is essentially worthless. It will only get worse if you don’t change your email tactics.
Research has shown that emails are potentially 40 times more likely to convert than social media campaigns, but only if the emails are focused and engaging.
Being told that your email marketing stinks may not be an easy pill to swallow, but luckily we’re going to reveal 5 easy steps to becoming a better email marketer.
Let’s take a look:
Step 1: Deliver a Killer Subject Line
Focusing on the email body to be as engaging as possible is great – but it’s all for nothing if you don’t give any thought to the subject line.
It’s the subject line that serves as the first impression to the email recipient, so it’s critical to come up with something that is exciting and compels people into opening your email. The subject line should let them give them an idea on what’s inside and it’s in their best interest to open it.
Here’s some tips we use:
- Short Subject Lines are Best: Ideally, a good subject line is around 6-10 words long. You can deliver a big punch without getting too wordy.
- Address a Current Problem: Email recipients are more likely to click and open subject lines that address an issue they are currently facing. For example, if you are trying to sell marketing services, you might use a subject line such as: “5 Ways to Improve Your Marketing Skills Starting Today.”
Wordstream is a highly effective tool to have in your marketing arsenal, and they offer 9 different subject line options that will help you achieve the results you desire:
- The Simple, Straight to the Point Email Subject Line – Something like, “Your Order is Being Processed Now.”
- The Humorous Email Subject Line – For example, “Deals That Make Us Proud (Unlike Our Nephew, Steve)”
- The Controversial Email Subject Line – For example, “Why Your Teenager Knows More About Social Media Than Your CMO.”
- The Single Word Subject Line – For example, “Hi”
- The Numbered List Subject Line – For example, “3 Reasons You Should Schedule Your Consultation Today”
- The Personalized Subject Line – For example, “David, Great Dining Deals Available Close to Home!”
- The Question or Punctuation-Heavy Subject Line – For example, “Last Chance! Do You Want to Save 50% Today?”
- The Scarcity Subject Line – For example, “Ends Today! Get in now Before all our Deeply Discounted Jeans are Gone.”
- The Mysterious Subject Line – For example, “It’s all ends in 3 short days…”
Step 2: Be Smart with Your Header
If you are using email templates, like on Mail Chimp, or Constant Contact they most likely have a pre-filled header section. But you are free to customize this area, and you should – In order to make use of that prime real estate.
Think of the header area as “bonus space” in between your subject line, and your greeting. It allows you to expand on your original subject line, or a place to explain a little about the content of the email. Creating a 7-10-word subheading that makes the recipient want to read the email in its entirety is the primary goal with this tip.
Step 3: Let Your Personality Shine
The assumption is that business emails need to be dry and impersonal – but that is not the case. Write the email as though you were talking face to face with the recipient, which means adding your unique personality.
Spacing is also important, as being faced with a text-filled page can be daunting to some. Make your point, but do it in a way that is straightforward, and holds the reader’s interest at the same time.
An email template is an excellent starting point for your newsletter, but it is your personal touches that make it unique and interesting. Adding a simple PS at the end of your text not only adds a little extra value and urgency, it also makes the reader feel as though you are confiding in them.
Step 4: Try to Include Images
While spacing is important to make the text seem less daunting, images can also perform the same task, while also adding some flair to your emails. Try to steer clear of the usual, tired stock images, and use the following sites to find unique photos that match your content. Note: be aware of the rules for commercial use before using any image.
Here are some great sites we use that offer up excellent images:
- Flicker/Creative Commons
- Photo Pin
Still images are great, but you can draw even more attention using gifs and videos. These types of images are becoming increasingly popular in email marketing, and there are a few places online where you can create your own gifs:
Bonus Tip: Design Smartphone-Friendly Emails: Smartphones are how many people connect to the internet nowadays, with as many as 67% using mobile devices to access their email. Make sure that you email provider offers responsive design, which will ensure your emails fit the screen on which they are opened.
As a marketer, there’s really no better ROI than a well-executed email marketing campaign and should still be considered an important part of your total marketing strategy. Here is a recap of the tips to use to create engaging emails:
- Deliver a Killer Subject Line
- Be Smart with Your Header.
- Let You Personality Shine.
- Try to Include Images
- Design Smartphone-Friendly Emails.
As you can see, the 5 tips listed above aren’t rocket science, and are pretty easy for anyone to implement. Apply them to your next email campaign and judge for yourself.
It is going take some time (and effort) to dial in. But I guarantee that you will see positive results if you take a little extra time to deliver something of real value to your subscribers.
5 Proven Strategies to Reach Mobile Users
You can’t go anywhere these days without seeing people staring at their smart phones – and if they’re not on a mobile phone, they’re using a tablet. Mobile devices are everywhere.
If you’re still not convinced, chew on this. As of 2017, more people worldwide own mobile devices than computers – and every other statistic related to online activity is reflecting the shift.
What does that mean for local marketers? Simply put, it’s time to stop ignoring mobile and make it a significant part of your marketing mix. You can’t afford not to.
Still unsure how to target mobile users? Here are five proven strategies you can use to expand your mobile reach.
Make Your Website Mobile Friendly
Honestly, if you haven’t already taken care of this first thing then it’s time to quit delaying and make it happen. You can be penalized by Google if you’re not using a mobile responsive theme.
It’s more than just using a mobile theme, though. You’ve got to work to make visiting your site an awesome experience for mobile users. They should be able to access all of the same functions and features as computer users.
Where a lot of sites miss the boat is in the details. Sometimes mobile users can’t access all of their content – or they can’t access certain features.
The good news is if you don’t want to hire a professional designer, you can get most of what you need by buying a premium WordPress theme if you’re using WordPress for your site. All premium themes are mobile friendly, and any additional functionality you want can be added with plug-ins.
Allow Mobile Payments
Did you known that as of 2016, one in five mobile users were using mobile payment methods? If your company isn’t letting customers use mobile wallets to make payments, then you might be missing out on an opportunity to connect with mobile users.
Part of connecting with mobile users is embracing the technology they use. Mobile wallets offer consumers an extra layer of protection by encrypting their credit card information. That makes them – and you – less vulnerable to hackers.
Adding mobile payments and letting your followers know about it is a great way to build your mobile following and attract mobile customers to your business.
Use Location-Based Marketing
As a local business owner, you need to be able to reach out to local customers. It makes sense. If you’re in Poughkeepsie, it’s not going to do you any good to have an ad reach someone who might be interested in your store – but who lives in Seattle.
Geotargeting offers local business owners a way to reach out to mobile users at times when they’re most likely to visit a store. That’s pretty cool – but it’s only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to location-based marketing.
Let’s start with the obvious. Basic geotargeting means that you can use GPS to reach out directly to customers when they’re near your store. One example might be a restaurant pinging their mobile followers with a happy hour coupon at 5:00 on a Thursday.
Or… you might use geofencing to send automatic notifications to users when they’re within a certain distance of your store. It’s a way of microtargeting people when they’re most likely to come in and see you.
But there’s more to geotargeting than that. You can use geotargeting to send notifications and offers to people when they’re in a location where your products might come in handy. What about reaching out to dog owners at a local dog park? Or notifying people of your sale on beach toys when they’re at the beach?
You get the idea. Location-based marketing is the kind of precision marketing tool that can help you get the biggest possible return on your investment because it targets people who are in a position to take advantage of your offer right away.
Use Text Messages for Marketing
If you want to be sure that your target audience is seeing your advertising, text messaging – or SMS messaging as it’s also known – is one of the best ways to do it.
The stats back it up. Research shows that SMS messages have an open rate of 90%. That blows every other form of engagement out of the water. With email marketing, you’re lucky to get half of your recipients to open the messages you send.
Text messages are ideal because they get delivered immediately. And unlike regular advertising, which may hinge on Facebook algorithms and other metrics that are out of your control, each person who receives an SMS message from you will get a notification.
It’s the kind of personal reach that marketers could only dream of – at least, until text messaging came on the scene.
You can use SMS messages to make offers, send coupons, deal with customer service issues, and a whole slew of other things. Text messages have a personal feel to them because they are delivered directly to your audience, and that kind of attention can help build trust and brand loyalty.
And perhaps most important of all – at least when it comes to managing your marketing budget – text messaging is affordable. What do you have to lose?
Optimize Your Emails for Mobile Users
Did you know that, in all likelihood, more than half of the people you email open your messages on a mobile device?
If your marketing emails aren’t optimized for mobile users, then they’re probably getting deleted – or ultimately, ignored – out of frustration. No mobile user wants to have to scroll horizontally or wait ages for images to download so they can see your content.
You can greatly improve your chances of connecting with mobile customers by making sure that your emails look great no matter where your subscribers view them.
Use a tool like Litmus to preview your emails on more than 70 different platforms, including mobile devices and all major email providers. This one small step can ensure that you don’t miss out on mobile marketing opportunities or lose subscribers because your emails aren’t mobile friendly.
The Future of Marketing is Mobile…
You don’t want to be left behind. Mobile marketing offers a wealth of opportunities to local businesses. What can you do to reach mobile customers today?
10 Simple Website Tricks to Attract More Customers
For any business with an online presence, the most important role of a website is likely going to be to attract more customers. If you design your website correctly, then it should provide a huge ROI as those who land on your page are potential opportunities to make a profit and form a relationship. A good website should inform your visitors of what your business is all about then but it should persuade them to take the next step so that they become customers or clients.
This is a sort of science and an art and it’s something that will require a little trial and error to get just right. Even if your website is currently performing well with a high conversion rate, there are almost always tweaks and changes you can make to start converting more of the people who visit into people who want to hire your services or buy your products.
The good news? Often those changes are very simple to understand and implement. Here are ten easy tricks you can start using…
If your website exists primarily in order to gain leads and customers for your business, then you have a very clearly defined goal for your site which gives you an advantage.
A good website design will take this into account and as such, everything on the page should ‘lead’ the visitor to take the action you want, like clicking a buy button, submitting a quote request, etc. If your page is currently cluttered with lots of information and lots of links then users won’t know where they’re supposed to go or what they’re supposed to click – they’ll end up with ‘options paralysis’. Instead, make sure that everything all points in the same direction and leads to the same place so that they can’t help but gravitate towards that contact or order form.
A quick thing to try doing right away, is to take the “less is more” approach and remove some of the unnecessary clutter to streamline the visitor experience, and make sure your call to action is clear.
#2 Minimal Design
In service of this ‘funneling’, it is crucial to use an uncluttered design throughout that makes it easier for the visitor to navigate your site and which makes the design appear more professional.
Consider the following design maxim: ‘don’t decorate, communicate’. In other words, no element on your website should be there just because it ‘looks pretty’. Instead it should always serve some kind of role in helping to communicate your message/aid navigation/encourage sales. If it doesn’t? Get rid of it!
Minimal designs also load quicker, they scale easier in terms of responsive web design and they make it easier to create contrast – which is our next point.
There are two types of contrast that can be used in your website to increase conversions. The first is color contrast, wherein you can of course make your most important elements stand out more by using contrasting colors that leap off the page.
Contrast can also be used though to make ideas stand out and even products. If you have an online shop for instance, consider listing your most expensive items next to your cheapest ones. Why? Because the contrast will make your cheaper items seem like even more of a good deal and your premium products seem like even better quality.
#4 The Color Red
Using the color red for your ‘buy now’ button will actually greatly increase the chances of people clicking on it. This might sound strange but studies have demonstrated time and time again that this is the case and that simply seeing the color red increases our heartrate and thus our sense of ‘urgency’. As most purchases are emotional/impulsive decisions, this is a good thing for your sales. It also helps of course that red is a very contrasting color against white (as above) which will stand out more on the page.
#5 Social Media Integration
When a visitor lands on your website that’s an opportunity for you to get a new customer right? Actually no – it’s an opportunity for you to get lots of new customers, if you can leverage social sharing. Include social media buttons to encourage your visitors to share pages with their networks and that way you can get some free marketing along with that all-important testimonial.
#6 Provide Value for Free
Giving away a free taste is one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to business and things are no different online. If your website can provide some kind of value free to your users – such as free information relevant to your industry – then you will not only encourage more sharing and bring back more repeat visitors, but you will also establish more trust. This is especially crucial if you are selling a service or an information product. It can be as simple as writing a good blog post, so it doesn’t have to put you out of pocket.
#7 Lead Capture
Every website that is designed to make money must have some form of lead capture. Not everyone is going to want to make an impulse purchase right away but if you can capture e-mail addresses then you will be able to build trust over time and market future products to people who have shown an interest in the past. Your database of e-mail addresses can become an invaluable asset so you need to start doing this right away.
#8 Use Pop-Ups
Pop-ups containing opt-in forms have been shown to be highly effective at increasing the number of leads you can capture from a website. You don’t want to irritate your visitors of course though, so be careful how you handle this.
#9 Beautify Your Website
This should go without saying but if you want people to buy from you then you need to make sure your website looks stunning. This will reflect well both on your business and on your products and you can’t expect people to spend money with you if your site looks amateurish. For each cosmetic change you make on your site, you will marginally increase your chances of making a conversion.
#10 Split Test
But how do you know if all these changes are making a difference? That’s where split testing comes in. Split testing essentially means making a tweak to your site and seeing whether that increases or decreases your conversion rate. A true split test is performed by showing versions of your website to different visitors and then collecting data from each (tools like Optimizely can help you do this) but just watching your statistics is the most important thing of all.
So there you go, there are ten easy tricks you can start using to attract new customers through your website. Give them a go and you’ll find they can pay dividends!