It’s not really enough to have a website. These days you must create a total web presence, but you’ve also got to create strategy based on overall objectives.
This is another way of saying unless your online activity ends in a sale you’ve failed in the game of online marketing. There are countless ways to fail on the quest to convert a pair of peering eyes into a paying client.
Below are just some of the assumptions online marketers make that prove deadly when it comes to successfully building trust and converting sales.
Assume an attractive website is an effective website
I’m all for great design. Great design alone can help sell a product, but an attractive website that doesn’t appeal, navigate, or communicate the right message is not of much value.
Ultimately, great web design comes down to combining elements in ways that make it easy for people to engage with the content, learn and do pretty much what you want them to do without having to think about it.
While there are proven design conventions for the web, testing is really the only way to get it totally right. Usertesting.com is a great place to start. Get your customers to use your site while you watch and do plenty of A/B testing using a tool like Google Website Optimizer.
Assume you know what your customers search
Business owners or anyone that has a level of experience with an industry can become blinded with knowledge. You know that the industry standard jargon for your widget is, “blah, blah, blah” but do your prospects have any idea that’s what it’s called?
All that matters is what they actually type into that box when they go to a search engine. Don’t assume you know what it is. Do your keyword research using a tool like Google Keywords and you might be surprised to find that people actually search for a wide variety of things related to your business.
Don’t forget to ask your customers what they search.
Assume people will go to the contact page to find you
Have you ever visited a site with the primary goal of wanting to get a phone number or contact someone only to have to hunt around for 20 minutes finding this one piece of data?
It’s great to have a contact page that provides various ways to contact you, departments, and team members, but it’s also a good idea to have contact information on every page of your site. For local businesses this can actually help your local SEO.
Assume no one reads blogs
A larger number of business owners I encounter still falsely cling to the belief that if they don’t pour over dozens of blogs each morning then nobody must be reading blogs.
Here’s the big problem with that thinking. Everyone reads blogs – everyone that is that’s done a search in the last few years. You may not fire up a blog for reading enjoyment, but you are finding blog content when you go out there searching for answers.
Search engines love content that’s featured on blogs because the software makes it easy to add new content, draws links more naturally and is usually less sales-oriented than typical web page content.
All of this leads to me to tell you emphatically that your business needs an active blog.
Assume people will find your site by “searching” for it
I know that’s probably one goal, but relying on your SEO efforts alone may be putting too many eggs in one basket.
You’ve got to put your content in countless outposts and social networks to open up additional paths to your site.
You’ve got to promote your site through advertising, including pay-per-click and offline mediums. You’ve got to promote your content in every offline vehicle available.
Assume traffic is the goal
Marketers love to obsess over traffic numbers. I’ll admit that, I do it too, but it’s not really that important of a metric if those visitors get confused, turned off and leave.
Most site owners would benefit from spending half of their traffic generation efforts and dollars on conversion instead. Hiring a landing page consultant and testing every element of your site may pay off faster than hiring an SEO coach.
Assume people will come back because they like your site
Let’s hope every visitor likes what they find when they drop by, but give them a valuable reason to come back – or better yet, offer them something in exchange for their email address and permission to send them updates.
Test landing pages for the specific purpose of gaining their trust to gather contact details, or you will forever be left to hope they come back. Use great content, free seminars, and eBooks to draw them back.
Social media gets most of the buzz these days, but few things surpass an email campaign sent to a list that trusts you to send them valuable content.
Image credit: gruntzooki
John Jantsch is a marketing coach, award-winning social media publisher and the author of two best selling books- Duct Tape Marketing and The Referral Engine.