Check the boxes below that apply to you before you invest time in reading this article:
I want to establish and expand my brand
I want to increase the visibility and awareness of my brand
I want to promote products and services
I want to provide better customer service to build credible and lasting relationships
If you checked two or more of the items above, then your time will be spent productively in reading what follows.
In this article, you will understand what you need and want from your online presence.
The goal of active online presence
The purpose of your online presence is to generate qualified leads. You need to attract the right kind of people to your website and social media to engage with your brand.
For an active online presence, you need to have SMART goals, i.e. goals that are Simple, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.
• 30% increase in unique visits to your website by March 2018
• 15% increase in product awareness through landing pages
The measures you take to achieve your goal of generating qualified leads to your site should be able to motivate you to keep going steady.
Aligning the resources
To be able to manage the mix of programs to achieve your objectives, you will need to align your marketing, sales, customer service and product development programs to create a unique user experience.
• Content development: You will need to create resources and content that will interest your visitors, including but not limited to videos, tutorials, social media posts and updates, and newsletter content
• Product development: You will need active mechanisms to inform your product development team of consumer feedback for iterations and improvements
• Customer service: Develop and use customer care and management services, such as FAQs, product specifications, feedback mechanism, response time, query and complaint management, among others
• Marketing and sales: Offer the right kind of deals and packages at the right time [seasonal, weekend specials, etc.] to reach out and engage more customers
• Brand name: Inspire trust by developing a tangible and palpable feel of your brand
Get Set & Go!
Target your audience to get them to your site and use the right tools to get the job done.
When you understand the goal of your online presence and align your resources to realize your goal, you will be ready to make your website a conversion hub.
Tip # 1 – Your neat website
Your website’s visual appeal is the first impression-maker. If done right, your site can be most favorable for your brand image, conversions, and ultimately, sales.
Since conversion complements lead generation and acts as the next step in the sales funnel, your website should be designed in a way to facilitate your users’ responses, thoughts and actions on becoming a customer.
So first, review your own need to improve your website. You’ll need to think of many things, and a good website development team [or template for DIY-ers] will help you do so. You’ll need to focus on the following:
• What purpose is the website achieving for the user?
• Is your user able to understand what your brand is all about?
• Is your website regularly updated?
• Does it showcase a complete catalog of your products?
• How quickly does your website load? Is it responsive and compatible with all tech devices?
• Is your website too cluttered or does it offer a vibrant and balanced design?
• Is it easy for your visitors to navigate through your website?
• How are your menus arranged? Are the contact numbers, search bar, sign-up forms, testimonials and blog all functional and readily available?
• Is your website intuitive in design?
• Is the call to action button[s] visible?
• Are there social media link buttons and share buttons for cross-platform transitions?
• Do you test each page for optimization? If so, how?
Asking these questions and testing your web pages, landing pages, CTA buttons, contact buttons and mechanisms will help you create a website that is a conversion hub.
While it is fundamental to have a great user experience with a great website, your goal is to increase sales and generate qualified leads. If your site is not achieving this goal, you need to critically re-think your strategies.
Tip # 2 – Optimizing your site for conversions
We talked about how to improve the design and navigation on your website to increase conversion rates. With CRO (conversion rate optimization), you will be able to review each page and how your visitors perceive the content and look of your website.
This review activity will make your website pages simple to navigate and intuitive, all the while leading to a logical conclusion or end action, i.e. to sign up for updates or newsletters, download a free resource, or register for a webinar.
The different tools you will be using for your lead generation and conversions – such as SEO, content and video marketing, blogging, advertising and promotional activities – will prove to be far more effective with CRO. CRO will audit your website and help you plan and ensure effective means of engaging visitors to become customers.
Tip # 3 – Conversion path
Whatever action you would like the visitor to take on your website, e.g. sign up for newsletters, webinars, product reviews, or surveys, you will need to create a conversion path for it.
A conversion path will invite and encourage the visitor to willingly give you information in exchange for something valuable. You will need to create:
• CTAs [call-to-action buttons] on your website for the visitors to find and get attracted to the right resource[s]
• a landing page after clicking on the CTA button that will have advertising content and images of your product or resource
• a short form on that landing page that your visitors will fill to avail the advertised product or resource
• a thank you page following the form to close the transaction formally
• content for a confirmation email to stay in your visitor’s inbox for future reference
This conversion path begins with a call-to-action. Call-to-action is the pivot that changes the game and converts a lead into a prospective customer. Of course, your product and services will weigh in on the prospect of creating customers – but as the phrase goes, “Well begun, half done,” we think you should focus on CTA as diligently as you would on creating solid marketing content.
Tip # 4 – Share-ability
One of your aspirations is greater visibility for your brand and a compelling online presence.
While your website is the hub of all your content from product listings to resources, videos to subscription forms – social media outreaches in multiple directions.
Make sure your active online presence enlists an active social media presence as well.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Your visibility and outreach can increase exponentially with the shareable design of your website to the visitors’ or customers’ social media. For example, satisfied customers should be able to share their experience and be able to refer your brand to others on social media. Happy customers and influencers can be far more authentic and compelling lead generators than other conventional methods.
All too often we see sites not having these options, thereby restricting their growth and possibilities. Many smarter websites are now offering ready made tweets for users to click, share, and return to the site. Then these same brands make an effort to “heart” your tweet and thank you for mentioning them on social media.
For all your articles, make sure there’s a share button. For all your videos, forms, products and services, webinars, addresses and contact details – make sure there’s a share button!
Tip # 5 – Curate excellent content
Your online presence is dependent on unique content that you can use to market your product and services, increase your brand visibility and generate qualified leads.
Paradigm shift: The advent of search engines and the continually revolutionizing purposes and methods of looking up and interacting with the world – the focus is solely on premium user experience.
Long gone are the days when the content was self-glorifying and fixated on the product.
Your content must be unique & educational, enlightening & informing, questioning & probing into usability and sustainability, all for premium quality and genuine user experience.
How to begin?
Magnetize visitors and users of your website with valuable content. Just make good content that will satisfy a need for your reader. If you’re a marketing firm, then your content will include tried and tested tips on marketing strategies, research reports, white papers, and eBooks for your visitors.
Interact with your readers and customers to find out what they need. Offer them content that solves their problems and needs. You could publish product demo videos and tutorials, recordings of webinars and even influencer/testimonial videos to create better understanding and engagement.
Free trials and limited time offers can anchor many leads and turn them into clients. Many people are fascinated by professional courses and content, and get hooked on to websites for more. Leverage on this tendency to generate leads and convert them into customers.
Tip # 6 – Be found
Most users end up seeing your brand in search results and social media. Hence, you should focus on search engine optimization [SEO].
SEO tells search engines that your brand exists; and with targeted and organic keywords, your brand increases in visibility in search results.
SEO will also inform you of user preferences, and you will be able to create content that your readers need.
With CRO and SEO, you will be able to gauge which pages get the most visitors. You could leverage on this information and update your content frequently to keep it relevant to information perusal. Many websites have timestamps that indicate when the page was last updated and for even when the next review is scheduled. A proactive approach informs the user of your stance and professional attitude.
Also, use branded merchandise or collateral to spread the word in more conventional marketing ways. Your stationery, visiting cards, and other mementos could carry your website address to different places and customers.
Public relations, referrals, testimonials, reputation management and influencer marketing, are all powerful methods of getting noticed.
Try customer testimonials as an enticing call-to-action. Customer testimonials can convert leads into buyers. In a 2017 survey, 97% buyers read online reviews before making a buying decision.
This trend is an indicator that your website and social media should have ample reviews and testimonials for users to get in-depth knowledge about your brand. Use statistics to show growing number of satisfied customers and clients.
Tip # 7 – Test your website. Revisit your goals
Lead generation is a continuous process and mainly dependent on market trends, new competition, and modern consumer needs to name a few.
Learn from competitors and the best in the industry. Keep testing the efficiency of your website. A highly empirical and result-driven approach comes from A/B testing.
The A/B test simply puts two models of, let’s say, your landing pages with different positioning of the call-to-action buttons, logo, graphics, content, colors, and even typography, to get exact information on how users interact with & respond to each of the two web pages. By juxtaposing two different variants, you could get accurate information on what to improve on your site.
And lastly, but most importantly, keep revisiting your goals to track your objectives and initiatives. All too often we are tempted to dive into something new and seemingly promising than persistently following a plan. Be consistent and calm – lead generation, conversion strategies and similar initiatives take months to deliver desired results. Define your goals in realistic terms of achieving results over months and not days.
A Bonus Tip: with our favorite advice!
Branding is essential for your identity. Branding is the voice of your business entity. And a brand is created and sustained in two significant ways: visual aesthetics and brand interactions with the community.
Your brand logo must essentially depict and represent what your business entity believes and upholds. The colors, imagery, uniqueness, and typography leaves an indelible mark on your brand’s identity.
Think of the most significant brands known to the world – all have iconic logos that quickly surface in your mind:
While some brand names used great fonts as brand identifiers:
All of the above logos bring the iconic products and experiences to your mind the moment your eyes see them in your environment. And their merchandise is something you use [and flaunt] eagerly.
If you are a new company, spend time with experts in the field and explore options for your brand logo, brand colors, typography, along with every minute detail that links to your company.
If you are an established company, and looking to change your brand identity for greater visibility, spend twice as much time to understand what your brand needs, and test all options with sampling groups before implementing any permanent changes. We have many major brands’ mistakes to learn from, e.g. Yahoo! And Gap.
Turning your website into a conversion hub is a trans-formative process; it takes time, diligence and perseverance.
• We talked about how to align your resources of marketing, sales, customer service and product development to create a unique user experience. We talked about how these resources will be reflected and spaced on your website for an informing and inviting user experience.
• We discussed methods of getting your site listed in relevant search results using conversion rate optimization and search engine optimization tools. And more straightforward ways such as shareability for greater outreach.
• We also talked about how satisfied customers could be empowered to share their satisfaction with their peer groups.
• Content, of course, is king, and curating excellent content is the supreme strategy for a substantial online presence.
• Towards the end, we talked about how you should keep testing your website for ease-of-access, the simplicity of design, the effectiveness of content and approach for the visitors.
• And how you need to stick to the plan and revisit your goals to strategize and re-strategize according to your needs and the milestones achieved against each initiative.
• And, most importantly, the brand logo, styles and imagery to create a memorable impact.
So turning your website into a conversion hub is a transformative process, as well as a continuous journey.
How will you prefer to embark on this journey? Have you tried something else and has it worked for you? Share your stories with us.