Tag Archives: marketing on the web

Are You Making These Four Mistakes?

Inside vs. Outside Language

In every business, the people inside the business use different terms to refer to products and services than those used by customers. That’s necessary, because inside the business, employees make finer distinctions about the products and services than customers need to worry about. What this means, though, is that the everyday language you use to talk about what you do and what you offer won’t work well on your website!

There’s an old marketing saying that “It’s hard to read the writing on the bottle when you’re trapped inside,” that applies to this situation. When you’re writing or reviewing copy for your website, keep in mind that a potential customer is looking for a discussion of how what you offer will provide benefits. Focus on what you do and sell only to the extent that it provides benefits, and be sure to give lots of detail to benefits.

Three Seconds

For a long time, there’s been a belief in Web marketing that a visitor who comes upon your site for the first time decides quickly–typically within three seconds–whether to stay on this site or to look for another. There are some recent studies indicating that even three seconds may be too long–that many decisions whether to move on can be made in less than a second. However, all agree that a first step of visitors is to give the first page that’s seen a once-over to determine whether the information that’s sought is likely to be found on your site.

If your visitor has to wait for more than three seconds for the first page of your site to appear, you’ve lost the game before it even started. You don’t want to use much of that three seconds for the visitor to be waiting! So quick loading of that first page is critically important. Super-cheap hosting service won’t provide quick loading at all times of the day, so you may need to pay more for your hosting service. And then pay attention to tuning the site for fast loading. Of course, you can use Dave’s Super Hosting, which is intended to give great performance at every time of day.

Once that first page is loading quickly, now be sure that what appears in those few seconds is enough to give the visitor an idea what’s on the site, to make that affirmative decision to stay. You may have a wonderful graphic design, but if the visitor can’t tell what the site is about right away, the chances of the visitor staying and reading what’s important are greatly reduced.

Call to Action

You’ll hear experienced politicians always end a campaign speech asking for your vote. They know that, although it may seem obvious that they’re speaking in order to convince you to vote for them, that if they don’t really ask for your vote they’re much less likely to get it. That “call to action,” in marketing terms, is essential to motivate the behavior you seek.

Be sure to include a strong call to action, although it might seem obvious to you. “Start your free trial now,” “save an abused animal today,” “take a test drive today.” Make sure the information needed to respond to the CTA is prominent. If you want them to come for a test drive, provide your address and driving directions., To contribute, provide a “contribute now” button.

Lead Magnet

A lead magnet is some incentive that you offer a visitor in order to obtain some contact information such as a name and email address. It’s common to offer a newsletter in exchange for an email address. The newsletter also gives the visitor who’s not completely sold a chance to be reminded of this interesting site (yours!) that they discovered and wanted to consider further.

The Bottom Line

Consider each of these mistakes and make sure you’re not making them! If you’re concerned about the load speed of your site, consider Dave’s Super Hosting, that offers great performance and backup at low cost.

It's only fair to share...Share on Facebook
Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Print this page
Print
What is Web marketing?

What’s Hot in Web Marketing?

What’s Hot?

Marketing is all about building and influencing trends.  It’s also true that trends are important within marketing.  Certain approaches become “hot” and widely used.  Particularly with the Internet, the evolution of technology and discoveries of how people behave on-line make certain methods work particularly well at certain times.

Knowing what’s hot right now in Web marketing can be important to because that’s likely to be a technique that can pay rich dividends in terms of bringing business to you.

For this discussion, I’m grateful for a discussion that took place with a client yesterday, who had attended a talk on Web marketing that echoed just what’s presented here.

Evolution

What I started this business in 1998, Web marketing consisted mostly of what’s called search

engine optimization, or SEO, which at the time was fooling Google into the impression that your site had content about the most popular topics of the day.  A variety of tricks were used to do this.  Today Google knows all about those tricks, and if you tried to use 1998 SEO today your site would see very few visitors from Google.

In those days of yore, we talk about Web 1.0, the use of the Web as a distributor of information.  Visitors found Web sites through search, and then accessed information there.  Web 1.0 was all about information provided by site owners.  Visitors were passive consumers of information.

On-Line Reviews

More recently, we’ve seen the growth of importance on the Web of user-generated content, as Web users shift their role from passive consumers to active providers of information–this is generally called Web 2.0.  Of course, marketers are eager to use that trend to their advantage, hence the emergence of on-line reviews as a marketing tool.  In fact, on-line reviews are the hottest topic today in Web marketing.

My own review management service was started to enable business owners to obtain more genuine, favorable reviews from their real customers.  A number of my clients are now using this service to increase the number of reviews they receive, and to show a live feed of reviews on their sites, tagged so that Google recognizes them as reviews.

Mobile

Technology trends account for the second major hot topic:  mobile device use.  More and more users search the Web using mobile devices, mostly phones but also tablets.  Google recognizes this, and of course they don’t want to send their customers to sites that don’t look good on small screens, so they’ve told all of us that if your site doesn’t look good on the small screen, it’ll hurt your position in Google search results.

If you haven’t already done so, check out your site using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.  If you fail the test, it’s time to engage your Web designer to solve that problem.  If your site is built with WordPress, which I recommend, you’ll have a number of options, and you may be able to solve the problem with just a plug-in.

Content

With all the current attention taken by on-line reviews and mobile use, it’s easy to forget the importance of content, which after all is what Web surfers are looking for.  If you’re a small business and have limited resources to develop content for your site, it’s best to put a lot of your effort into what’s called evergreen content, which is content that will have continuing value, that won’t have to replaced right away.

Once you’ve compared as many sites for search engine positions as I have, you’ll see that the sites with a lot of well-written, interesting content related to the main theme of the site will have higher ranks in search engine results than sites with more limited content.  If you want to rank high for some term, write about that topic.

Producing content is hard for small businesses.  I usually advise small businesses to get double duty from their content by writing a blog, or articles, for their Web site, and then putting that content into their newsletter, as well.  I follow my own advice; this blog post will also be an edition of my newsletter.

SEO

Finally, we come to SEO, that used to be the cornerstone in Web marketing.  Even today, some small business owners look for someone to “do SEO” for their site, expecting that there’s some magic that can produce high rankings.  There used to be such magic, when search engines weren’t as sophisticated and could easily be tricked.  If you try many of those old techniques today, your site could be removed from the Google index, with devastating impact on your Web customer acquisition.

However, there is still an important role for the practitioner who understands technically how search engines analyze a site and decide whether the site has quality content.  Fortunately for me!  That role is to, first, understand all of the priority topics on this page and provide guidance with them, but then to make sure the site is set up so that Google will recognize the worthwhile content that is present.  If things like tags and headings aren’t given proper attention, the benefits that should come from a quality content development effort may not be realized.

The Bottom Line

Yes, you can do all of this yourself.  But it’s complicated, and it changes over time.  It’s easy to make mistakes that can ruin your ability to attract customers through your Web efforts.  So the bottom line is:  don’t try this at home!

The Internet offers you the cheapest advertising medium ever devised, and professional help (from someone like me!) can allow you to focus on your own business, while making the best use of what the Internet can do for you.  And getting the maximum business benefit from your investment in your Internet presence.

The most glaring example of how the unwary can get into trouble is provided by the unscrupulous providers of specialized Web sites for professionals.  I’ve seen these services provide sites for dentists, doctors and lawyers that will never bring them any ranking in search engines because of built-in problems.  Their customers think they’ve offloaded all of their Internet promotion problems into this vendor who delivers them a lovely site.  Then for the money they spend they get nothing.