Smart Web Marketing: Find Out What Your Customers Think

Smart web marketing by finding out what your customers think. From PMI, serving Reading, PA, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Allentown, Bethlehem, York, Lebanon, Pennsylvania and beyond with services to develop your online marketing strategy.If you’ve been trying to improve your company’s web marketing, you might have run into this familiar problem: You end a blog post with a call to action like “What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!” And more often then not, when you check the comments… crickets. Or even worse, there are one or two comments that are clearly spam!

This doesn’t necessarily mean that no one is reading the blog, it just means that for many people leaving a comment is a chore. They have to think of something worthwhile to say, and then  communicate it clearly and succinctly. They may even have to share their email address or sign up as a user for the site. These are all annoying roadblocks that many people will not bother overcoming just to leave a comment, especially if you don’t already have an active community of commenters.

Getting readers to engage with your content is one of the pillars of successful web marketing, but if you can’t get people to comment, how else can you find out their opinions?

Enter the Poll

One easy way to find out what your customers think is embedding a poll at the end of your post, like this one:

Polls are a no-friction way for your readers to share their opinion. They don’t have to worry about phrasing, having their email address sold to spammers, or being lost in some user registration process.

Granted, you may not be interested in what your readers think about french fries, but polls can also be used to find out useful information like:

  • which new product features your users are interested in
  • which city you should target for your next event
  • what new t-shirt design or other apparel design your readers like best

If you are looking to gather opinions from your readers quickly, polls are an incredibly easy method of going about it.

Polling Options

For the poll above, I used Polar. The ability to easily upload an image for each response option is possibly the best unique feature of Polar, but it also offers easy color customization and automatic resizing for desktop, mobile, and tablets.

To start using Polar, simply sign up for a free account on their website. You can start creating polls right away. Once your poll is created, follow their simple instructions for embedding the poll on your site.

Another polling option is PollDaddy. While Polar is geared towards quickly assessing the thoughts of your users, PollDaddy seems designed to collect lots of data. Their plans range from free to $899/year. They also enable you to collect multiple answers in the form of surveys.

For the purpose of quickly embedding a poll at the end of your blog post (or even for posting on your company’s Facebook or Twitter account), Polar earns our recommendation.

What’s Next?

If you found this useful and are interested in learning more about how web design, online marketing, or social media marketing can help your business, contact Power Marketing International for a FREE consultation. We’re always happy to discuss how we can help your business achieve superior results.

 

5 Must-Have Calls to Action for your Online Marketing

A key goal of both traditional and online marketing has always been to elicit a response from your target audience. Whether you’re advertising in a newspaper, sending an email, or creating a website, your underlying goal is to get customers and prospective customers to take some kind of action.  It might be to create a call to purchase a product.  Or it may just be to encourage them to learn more about your product or service, how you can solve a problem for them, or why you’re the best person for the job.

This is Known as a “Call to Action” or CTA

Your Calls to Action (CTAs) should move your target audience through the marketing and sales funnelProperly designed CTAs within your website, social media assets, and your online ads should help move your audience through the marketing/sales funnel (see diagram) so that visitors become leads, leads become customers, and customers become promoters; therefore, you will often be seeking to elicit different responses from different people, based on where they are along the sales cycle.

Your CTAs Should Not be Generic

They need to be tailored to your different audience members.  Are you trying to make a first-time visitor aware of your product or service?  Are you trying to help prospects evaluate your product or service?  Are you trying to get prospects to make a purchase?  You could probably answer yes to all of these questions at one time or another as a (potential) customer progresses through the sales cycle.

When developing CTAs for your website, consider where each person along the sales cycle is likely to go within your website, decide what action you want them to take, and then create an eye-catching and persuasive CTA that is appropriate for them.

Here are 5 Types of CTAs Every Website Should Have

1.    Lead Generation – Here you’re trying to turn visitors into leads.  First, decide where most of your new visitors will go on your website – possibly your blog.  Then invite them to download a whitepaper or tip sheet, a how-to video or a webinar.

2.    Form Submission – Once someone visits your website, you don’t want to lose the chance to turn that visitor into a lead.  In order to do that, you need to collect information from them, and the best way to do that is to provide a marketing offer, such as an e-book, a webinar, a free trial, or a coupon, in exchange for their information.

3.    “Read More” Button – Any time you have longer content – such as a blog post, customer case study page, or press newsroom – entice your audience with a “Click here to continue reading.”  In addition to allowing you to make the content easier to scan through, this method also provides a more accurate analysis of what your audience is interested in.

4.    Social Sharing – This is one of the simplest calls to action (“Like us on Facebook”, “Follow us on Twitter”, etc.).  It’s a low-commitment way for your audience to engage with your brand and allows them to share your business with their friends.  A good place for this type of CTA is on your blog posts and landing pages.

5.    Lead Nurturing – Sometimes people are interested in your product or service, but aren’t quite ready to commit.  They’re further along your sales cycle.  Here you want to entice them with some type of offer aligned very closely with your product or service, such as a product demo, a free trial, or a free quote. Also consider targeting them with a series of email messages appropriate to where they are in the sales funnel based on their response to an offer.

As your business grows and matures, your online marketing strategy and web marketing efforts will typically become more complex and require different types of CTA’s; however, when you’re first starting out, these 5 CTAs are a great place to start.

Help for Your CTAs

Looking to develop effective calls-to-action to support your online marketing efforts? Contact us today: 484-297-6395.

This post is based largely on an article by Ginny Soskey – The 8 Types of CTAs You Need to Have on Your Website.   

Easy Web Design Tips to Boost E-Commerce Sales

Online Shopping Rules!

E-commerce website design tips including the 3-second rule and others. We serve Philadelphia, PA, Reading, Berks County, Lancaster, Allentown, Harrisburg, York and surrounding areas with web design, development, and marketing services. Contact us for a free consultation.Everyone knows that more people are taking advantage of the convenience of online shopping.  In fact, a record 66 million people shopped online on Black Friday, 2013. Americans enjoy shopping in the comfort of their own homes, and they expect a pleasant experience on your website.  They want your website design to catch and hold their attention, to be easy to navigate, and to be organized in the way they expect. 

So how did your e-commerce site do this past holiday season? Was it a pleasant experience for your customers?  Did it help increase sales?  Or, did it frustrate your customers?

The 3-Second First Impression

Consumers evaluate your website in the first three to five seconds.  If it doesn’t appeal to them immediately, chances are they’ll move on and you’ll lose a sale. Here are some web design tips to ensure that your ecommerce website passes muster in that first three to five seconds and beyond.

Make sure your pages load quickly
If your site takes longer than 2 seconds to load the primary text and graphics, you’ve lost your customer.  Two seconds is a long time to watch a frozen page. Plus, website speed and page load times can impact your position in search engine result pages.

To ensure your pages load quickly, scale your images to size before uploading them (use file optimization software to reduce the “weight” of your images).  GIFs work best for images with just a few colors, such as logos.  JPEGs are best for images with lots of colors and details, such as photos.  PNG’s are best for high-quality transparent images.

Create an attractive design
Your website’s design is the first thing they’ll notice.  Make sure the images are high-quality, your site has a nice layout, and your text is concise and easy to read.  

State your unique value proposition in your headline
With only a few seconds to capture your customers’ attention, if your value proposition is buried, they’ll never see it.  Don’t make your headline something generic like “Welcome to our site.”  Instead, immediately tell them how they will benefit from your products and/or services.  Again, be concise – go for the quick connection.

Use relevant images
Your images should support your message and be unique to your site (like the one included in this post!), not generic or familiar-looking stock photos. Don’t confuse your customers with images that don’t match your message or the accompanying text.

Make it easy for your customers to get around your website
If your customers get lost in a maze of pages, they’ll quickly go somewhere else.  All navigation bars should be clearly labeled.  A top navigation bar can show general categories for your pages, while a side menu allows your customers to find specific products and/or services.

Focus on your customers
Use “you” and “your” instead of “we” and “us.”  Prove that you’re the expert in your product or service, but do it in a language that is easily understood.  

Make your landing pages match your ads
If you’re using banner ads or pay-per-click (PPC) ads, make sure that what your customer sees in your ad is consistent with what they see when they land on your site.  If they’re looking at a pair of boots in your ad, don’t take them to your “product categories” page; take them directly to the boots page.  

Prove you are protecting their information
Identity theft, computer viruses, and credit card fraud is a concern for many people.  You need to demonstrate that you are keeping their information safe by providing security certificate seals, customer reviews and testimonials, and a detailed privacy policy.  

Place your most important information “above the fold”
This is an old journalist’s trick that places the most important stories at the top of the page, above where the newspaper is folded.  The fold for your site is the point where your customer needs to scroll to see more.  The Nielsen Norman group reports that web users spend 80% of their time above the fold.

Provide effective calls-to-action (CTA’s)
It’s best not to overwhelm or annoy your customer with too many buttons, forms and other CTAs.  Limit it to the most relevant CTAs that will take them to the most important next step. Make sure it’s clear where that click will take them and keep the CTA above the fold.  If you have too many CTAs that interrupt their experience, they’ll quickly abandon your website.

Make your website design mobile friendly
According to the Pew Research Center, 45% of American adults use smartphones and 25% use tablets (and those figures are rapidly growing), so if you don’t want to lose those customers make sure your site is optimized for mobile devices. Keep text concise, use a single column, and make sure your forms are simple.

These ecommerce web design tips will help make your customers’ experience on your site more pleasant, which will keep them there longer, and help increase your sales. If you need help in developing an ecommerce website that meets all of the above guidelines, please contact us at 484-297-6395.

This post is summarized from an article by Greg Wise – “12 Tips to Ensure Your Ecommerce Site Passes the Blink Test.”   http://blog.hubspot.com/ecommerce/does-your-ecommerce-site-pass-the-blink-test


Can’t Beat ’em? Join ’em! Design Your Own ECommerce Website

$1.4 Trillion in ECommerce by When?

Ecommerce web design tips for Reading, PA and beyond. From PMI, serving Philadelphia, Lancaster, Allentown, York, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.E-commerce is projected to become a 1.4 trillion dollar industry by 2015, according to Daily Deal Media, with $144 billion of it going to websites that sell electronics. More and more shopkeepers are becoming frustrated to learn their brick-and-mortar stores are turning into showrooms for customers, who then run off and order the product from an e-retailer.

Let’s say you’re that frustrated store owner. What would you do? Instead of grumbling and watching your profits go down, why not jump into the ecommerce game yourself? Here are some web design tips to create a niche electronics site, which, by the way, can be applied to most any online shopping niche market.

Go for Repeat Sales and Hard-to-Find Items

You’re not going to turn into the next Newegg.com overnight. So instead of focusing on a broad range of electronics for your e-commerce store, try focusing on a specific category that you have extensive knowledge about. Do you have a knack for computer monitors, or are you more of an accessories kind of person? Determine the market that you’re most familiar with and use that as the basis for your product selection, your niche focus. Shopify recommends that you take the time to pick a market that generates repeat sales, such as consumable items, and go for products that are difficult, if not impossible, to find at your standard brick-and-mortar store.

Set Yourself Apart

Once you’ve determined your niche, get as much information on your products as possible. You don’t want only cut-and-dried technical descriptions. You also want to give your site a personality that sets it apart from the online megastores like Amazon or Newegg. Let the customers know exactly what type of solutions they get from a particular piece of equipment. This is where your specialized electronics knowledge comes in, as you can provide extensive information in the product details section of a listing. Not only does this increase confidence in your consumer, it also helps to answer basic questions to avoid a phone call or email from the customer.

Responsive Social Networking

After you’ve set up your e-commerce store, associate a few social network profiles with it. This is standard marketing operating procedure. Don’t set it and forget it, however. Engage with your customers to find out what they’re most looking forward to in the electronics world, what they think about your company, and to quickly address any issues that customers may bring up over social media channels. If you’re lucky enough to have one of your social media marketing efforst go viral you’ll want to be sure that your servers can handle it, as the traffic spike can cause some issues with lower-grade servers, according to  WebHostingBlueBook.com.

Accessible Design

There’s nothing more frustrating than searching for a great product and then not being able to navigate your way through a poorly designed site. Aim for simplicity when it comes to ecommerce design. Unlike a spy novel, mystery is not a plus when it comes to completing an ecommerce transaction, so make your shopping cart and check out processes simple and intuitive.

Another important design factor (especially in the electronics niche) is to make sure that you create a truly mobile-friendly website. Your tech-savvy customers are likely to use a smartphone to comparison shop or make a purchase, so you want to avoid any issues with a mobile site that would prevent them from doing so.

ECommerce Web Design Assistance is Just a Phone Call Away

Do you need help in designing an intuitive, compelling, and mobile-friendly ecommerce website to build your online business? If so then please Contact Us today.

We’d like to thank Albert Lester for contributing statistics for this post. Al teaches economics and business at his local high school. He blogs about business, finance, teaching and the economy in his spare time.

Mobile Website Design: See the Difference for Yourself

You know your business needs and deserves a mobile-optimized website, right? Given the ever-increasing pace of website traffic from smartphones and other mobile devices, it’s only a matter of time before your non-mobile site will share all too many characteristics with the dinosaurs of ages past: outdated, cumbersome, and extinct!

Test Your Website for Mobile Viewing

To prove the point, we invite you to test your patience with any website that is not yet optimized for mobile (perhaps your own?). Here’s what you’ll encounter:

  • Text that is too small to read, even when you turn the phone sideways, especially for 40-somethings
  • Menu buttons or links that are difficult, if not impossible, to use unless you first expand them
  • Frustration over not being able to navigate and view the site with one hand

 

Look in the Mirror

Now ask yourself: if you were your customer, would you put up with this if the next competitor offered a mobile-friendly experience? Is your mobile website design sending the right message to your potential customers? Can you afford that?

 

Here’s Proof

Here’s proof of the difference a properly designed mobile website can make. Take a look at the before and after mobile views of the website below.
live demo of the mobile experience
We designed both the original website and the mobile version. The “before” view shows the “desktop” website essentially as it would appear on a mobile device, with everything crammed onto that little smartphone screen. Although it looks nice at first glance, when you try to use it the frustration begins.
Compare this to the mobile website design on the right:
  • The navigation buttons are clear and large enough to be accessed easily with one hand
  • The text is pleasantly large
  • The calls-to-action practically jump off the page: Call Us, Find Us, and Buy Tickets (found further down the page)
  • Some of the content has been rearranged to make it more intuitive for mobile users

 

Take it for a Test Drive

To take the mobile version for a test drive, simply click on the smart phone on the right (from a desktop or laptop device). It contains a live demo of the mobile experience and allows you to navigate the entire site. Next, click the non-optimized version on the smart phone on the left. Compare them page by page if you like. Now ask yourself which one is likely to hold your interest as a mobile viewer.

Need Help?

If your mobile website experience currently projects an image that is frighteningly similar to the dinosaur, then contact us today to discuss a mobile web design upgrade. It costs less than you think, and your customers will thank you!