When you think about digital marketing to increasing online business, all of the technology and flashy content really boil down to just one thing – improving user experience. Everything you do online is geared toward providing your site visitors with an exceptional experience – hopefully, significantly better than your competitors’ efforts. You’ve done all the technical backend work to get your site up to speed and you’ve checked your competitors’ efforts to see where your own are lagging behind. Now it’s time to put that information to good use by reviewing your sales funnel and optimizing your conversion pathways across your digital marketing efforts. This will include a thorough review of all your brand messaging, any ad copy, site content and email marketing materials used to facilitate sales of your goods and services.
We’ve broken this section out into three main areas of focus. Each of these is vital to getting the most from your digital marketing efforts and should be given regular attention to maintain position within your vertical. After all, setting it and forgetting it no longer works. You have to actively manage your digital processes to keep them profitable.
Review Sales Funnel: If you are in business then you know what a sales funnel is and we need not take time to explain it in detail. However, we will point out that you should review your sales funnel regularly to ascertain performance and any drop-offs that could prove to be more than blips on the radar. Blips can become trends before you know it so staying ahead of the data is vital to getting the most from your planning and implementations. The six areas of focus in your sales funnel are:
- Awareness: This is where your business is discovered – whether through paid ads, organic queries, listing sites, etc. This is where most of your advertising budget is spent.
- Discovery: Okay, you’ve got their interest and now they’ve found you. This portion of the funnel is dedicated to delivering quality, informative content that leads to the next stage in the funnel.
- Evaluation: This is where comparisons to your competitors come in and it’s where your competitive analysis can really pay dividends. Understanding where they fail allows you to bolster efforts in those areas. It gives you the content pathways to speak your customer’s language.
- Intent: The visitor is ready to convert, but they may need a bit more convincing from your sales team, or from additional communication via the website and its forms. This is where your phone number displayed on your site, your ad copy and/or your website turns a visitor into a customer.
- Purchase: It’s time to close the deal with your customer and that means the sales funnel and all your associated processes worked. This is a cause to celebrate, but it’s also a learning opportunity. Remember, the funnel is an open-ended creation and never truly closes. The best funnels have taken that into consideration and plan for ways to re-approach past customers.
- Loyalty: When your funnel is successful in its mission of informing and converting site visitors then you have data you can use to further better performance. using what worked with them allows you to continually optimize your site and associated digital marketing to what’s working. Optimize, optimize, optimize!
Conversion Optimization: There are as many conversion optimization techniques as there are marketers. That means you have to find the ones you feel offer your efforts the best opportunities at success. We recommend five steps to every client we work with that focus on areas we think are vital to effective digital strategy. These steps have been outlined briefly below and you can find additional information about any of them with a simple Google search. These aren’t well-guarded secrets, but steps each and every business owner should take to ensure they stay headed in the right direction. After all, conversions are the goal of everything you do.
- Don’t overreach: Search engines prefer websites that answer user queries quickly so the first page is given to those sites that do the best job of delivering. It would seem optimizing for every possible term is the way to go but that’s probably not the best idea. Using a jack-of-all-trades approach, it will be tough to get your site to rank effectively. Limit your reach to what you think you can own and go from there.
- Content Is King: This is the single most powerful tool in your toolkit for getting the results you’re after. You can control it directly and you should know your customers better than anyone. Find what scratches their itches and give it to them via short-form and long-form content. That’s the surest way to win in digital marketing on any platform. Content is user experience at it’s best.
- Imagery & Video: You’re a web surfer, just as all of us are today, so you know what catches the eye of your customers. They stay for imagery and video and absorb more information when they’re given a choice of how to digest it. User experience is all about choice and if you give them the ones they want your customers will keep coming back forever.
- HTML5: Sites that use Flash are going to be left behind by leaps and bounds in the very near future. It’s unnecessary today and slows load times considerably – especially when there are many elements to load on-page. Consider moving away from Flash completely and embracing HTML 5 for the obviously better solution it is.
- Test & Test Again: The only way you’re going to get anywhere with your conversion rates is through constantly refining your approach using testing, repeated and never-ending testing, to find the pain points and iron them out to deliver a smooth, enjoyable experience to every one of your site’s visitors. test everything you can as often as you’re able for the best possible returns!
Sales Copy Review: Though it can be considered a part of optimizing for conversions, we feel your sales copy is so important it deserved to be approached independently of the other steps outlined above. Every piece of copy you have should be reviewed regularly to gauge its performance over a given timeframe. Use what you’ve learned about your competitors’ efforts to inform your decisions and constantly strive to be better for your users – in your promotional materials, your ad copy and your website service/product pages. These are where your sales take place and where your attention should be at all times.
Nothing you do for your business is more important from a digital marketing perspective than the sales copy you present to your customers. It’s your voice in their digital ears and it should be as sweet as you can make it – no matter the venue where they encounter it online.