So, what are your big Internet marketing plans for the New Year? Will you be investing more in social media? Will you start blogging? Will you take a more proactive stance with self-promotion?
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Whatever your online marketing plans, the end goal is likely to attract more people to your Web site in the hopes that the influx of new eyes will translate into new customers, new leads and new opportunities for your business. However, you won’t be able to do any of that if your Web site is turning people off, instead of turning them on.
Below are some very common reasons small and medium-sized business (SMB) Web sites fail to attract customers and how to avoid falling prey to them.
1. There’s No Conversion Path in Place
One criticism of many SMB sites is that they don’t include a clear conversion path for their customers. If you want customers to take a certain action, you need to create a funnel intended to guide them to do that. Simply stringing together a number of content pages won’t necessarily put someone on the path to buy.
Your conversion path may be as simple as a solitary landing page paired with a call to action, or as complex as an entire microsite. Either way, you are in charge of designing the flow of your Web site. Creating a clear conversion path not only helps customers feel more comfortable on your site, it also gives you clear data to track so that you can see where people are abandoning, where they’re engaging, etc. The more data you have to act on, the better you can design your site to attract new customers.
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2. There’s No Sign of Life
Customers are discriminating. You can bet that when they land on your website they’re going to kick the tires a little to see if they can trust you. They’re going to check your copyright date to see if it lists 2011 or 2006. They’re going to look for old statistics or other signs you haven’t taken the time to update your content. They’re going to check your company blog to see how often it’s updated, if you reply to commenters, if people are talking back, etc. They’re going to look for signs that you’ve created a dynamic Web site, instead of one lying around in stagnant water. Before your customers get there, take a look around yourself. Would you hang out with you?
3. It’s All About You
Customers don’t head to your site to hear how awesome you are. They’re there because they have a problem they need you to fix or a question they need you to answer. Your Web site should be designed to help them quickly achieve whatever it is they came for. Too many references to “I” in lieu of “you,” too much sales talk instead of helpful information, and too much of you not addressing their fears/wants/desires will turn people away from your brand, not on to it. Your customers don’t care about you–they care about how you can help them.
4. People Can’t Find You.
If you’re finding that customers aren’t interacting with your Web site at all, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself.
* Is it accessible? With more and more users searching via mobile devices and on the go – is your Web site mobile accessible? If it’s not, users trying to find you may hit a dead end. There’s nothing worse than trying to find your accountant’s Web site while on the road and finding out his site only renders in Flash and won’t load on your phone. Not that I’m talking from experience.
* Is it properly SEO’d? Have you made it easy for users and search engines to find your content? That means using the right keywords, linking properly, making your site super crawlable for spiders, and staying away from common SMB SEO mistakes.
Sometimes before you can see more traffic, you have to break through the obstacles preventing you from seeing any.
5. There’s no POD
If you want to attract people, you have to give them more of you. You have to stand out from the crowd and show them something that they’ll want to align themselves with. Take a look at your own site – what are you showing potential customers? I don’t mean the graphics or the videos you choose to incorporate (don’t forget to SEO those, too!), I mean the experience that you’re creating. Are you using your site to set yourself apart, or do you come off like everyone else?
Are you talking to customers in their own language or filling your pages up with buzzwords and jargon? The more powerful a POD (point of differentiation) you can create, the better you’ll attract the right customers to your brand.
If you’re finding it difficult to attract leads via your Web site, it may be time to ask yourself some hard questions. Before you can fix the problem, you first have to identify it. What are some struggles you’ve had attracting new leads? How have you fixed the problems?
Lisa Barone is co-founder and chief branding officer at Outspoken Media and a contributor to Small Business Trends. The opinions expressed are her own. -