I always say any marketing is better than no marketing — even lousy marketing.
But today I had an experience that illustrates a totally different viewpoint.
I was in my favorite day spa and they had these beautiful necklaces on display. There was one I thought would be perfect for a friend for the holidays, but it was too short. I decided I’d find them online and reach out to them about making one a bit longer.
But when I got to their website…
It literally UNSOLD me on buying the necklace I know I loved in person! I’ll tell you how.
The photos were extremely unprofessional. They did the pieces NO justice! I rethought the purchase immediately.
Normally, you’d hear me say “take 100 shots with your iPhone, one is bound to be good enough” — but not in this case!
Some items — particularly jewelry — REQUIRE good photography if you’re going to use photos to make the sale. If your product/service is a lifestyle purchase — meaning it enhances the image/avatar we all want to create for ourselves — then you’d better be ready to hire a professional to photograph your products.
If you’re selling jewelry and you’re not an experienced photographer, it is worth the expense to hire one. Trust me!
But that’s just one example.
Websites are the new storefront: 95% of people will check you out online before deciding to do business with you.
There are several reasons your business website may be turning customers away. Here are the 4 biggies:
1) Your website is poorly designed.
I’m not saying it has to be pretty. (Although if it is, great!) When I talk about web design, I’m talking about FUNCTION, not just form.
Let me ask you this:
When you visit a business website, do you immediately start forming an opinion of that company? Of course you do! A website that looks like it hasn’t been touched since 2005 does NOT inspire confidence.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS MATTER, and your website is your prospect’s first interaction with your business! Visitors should IMMEDIATELY know what you’re offering.
Check this out:
Would you have guessed that’s a DENTIST’s website? Neither would I! I’m sure she’s a great dentist (I don’t know her or anything about her practice), but I can tell you that her website is not optimized to bring in new patients.
This is better:
Again, I don’t know this dentist or their practice! They might be great or they might be not so great. But their website IS great so I think the dentist is great too.
A well-designed home page needs:
- Graphics and a clear headline that convey your product/service and its benefits
- A logo and a call to action (CTA) that stand out
- A lead-capture system of some kind that will help you continue the sales cycles with interested prospects (you get their email and can follow up with them later)
- Bolded sub-headlines and approachable chunks of copy that won’t be overwhelming to new visitors (this helps prospects scan and absorb your website easily)
Bottom line: Tailor your website to appeal to prospects visiting your business for the first time, and make it inviting!
2) Your website has annoying and noticeable programming errors.
Another problem with the jewelry website I visited: rotating pictures of different sizes on the home page.
Okay. What’s the problem there?
As you scroll down the home page, you see shots of each product. Earrings, bracelets, necklaces, etc. Every time the big picture at the top rotated to a different size, it would move what I was viewing up or down, depending.
Oh my. This was so frustrating, I left the website. Bye-bye, purchase. Not worth it.
DON’T BE THAT GUY.
Other programming errors might not be as irritating, but they KILL your credibility with prospects. Check your site regularly to make sure all your links work and your pages/photos load quickly.
Kissmetrics reports that 47 percent of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds and that 40% of consumers will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. That’s almost half your traffic bailing on your business before 4 SECONDS have passed!
And DON’T depend on Java for your business website. Java is a programming script (basically a code) that makes certain elements of your website more “interactive.” (This usually means that it moves in some way.)
The issue being: Java updates their programming frequently, but you know who doesn’t? Pretty much everyone else!
Most people have an out-of-date Java plug-in. And here’s what they’ll see (in the top right corner):
Again, I know nothing about this business. Just going off of their website and the impression it gives me as a consumer. They could be amazing but as a consumer I don’t feel that!
3) Your website isn’t responsive. (Responsive means it converts to a mobile site when visitors are looking at it on their smart phone.)
You know what else is frustrating? Trying to look at a website on your smart phone and not being able to read it.
Consumers in the U.S. now spend more time on their mobile devices (51%) than their desktops (42%), according to eMarketer. Of course, this is going to be more relevant for retail than other industries, but it gives you an important insight into consumer behavior:
Buyers want convenience!
Here’s what an unresponsive website looks like on my iPhone:
(Imagine trying to read that on a screen that’s 4 inches wide. With a magnifying glass, maybe! Or be ready to zoom in and scroll around an awful lot, which is also annoying.)
For comparison’s sake, here’s an HVAC website that is mobile-friendly and 100% responsive on my smartphone:
Do I know which of these HVAC companies is actually better? Not at all! But I know which one I’m more likely to call and get a quote from right away, and that’s the business with a responsive website. If their website is easy to read and navigate, I automatically assume they’re easy to work with. And that’s a selling point for me.
(The key to easily viewing a website on your smartphone is that the site automatically converts from a horizontal to a vertical orientation. Thus the term “responsive” — it’s responding to your device’s orientation!)
You may or may not know that back in April, Google changed its algorithm to favor mobile-friendly websites, which caused as much as a 10% drop in organic rankings for sites that weren’t optimized. An organic ranking just means that your site has the words that google likes and therefore they will put you high up (ranked) on their site. (Having a high organic ranking is how you get free clicks and visitors to your site. It means you’re on the first couple pages of Google’s search results!)
Can you really afford to lose 10% of your website’s traffic?
4) Your website isn’t optimized for search engines.
When we say “optimized” it means just that — it’s written in such a way that Google likes it and will rank it higher.
Speaking of Google…
Search engine optimization (SEO) is important. Like, REALLY important:
- 66% of new customers use online searches to find local businesses
- Of those people, 75% don’t scroll past first page of results
To improve your Google rankings, make sure your website includes keywords and key phrases people use to find businesses like yours. Include them in your headlines, sub-headlines and, of course, your text.
If possible, your domain name should be relevant to what people might search for, too.
Tampacustomlandscaping.com is better than dansgreenlawns.com.
Ensure your website’s page titles reflect the content on that particular page.
To continue on the example above: an About Us page that’s titled “About Tampa Custom Landscaping” will perform much better than a page titled “About Us Page.”
A blog is another good way to build your search engine credibility. Add relevant content — that includes those keywords! — use them frequently and Google will reward you!
One more caveat:
Do NOT build your business website in Flash. Not only do many internet users not have the software to view it, search engines DON’T SEE IT! Translation: your website takes a dive in search engine results.
If your website uses Flash animation, make sure it’s just for “extras” — not your important content — and use it at your own peril. (Note what happens to Java “extras” the second someone’s plugin expires.)
We create inexpensive WordPress sites for a small down payment and a small monthly fee with unlimited changes forever. If you have questions about how to improve your business website or want us to design one for you, call our marketing experts at 1-800-628-1804.