Everyone needs a website right? Of course. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, a business without a website, is not taken very seriously.
You might be able to get away without having a website if:
- You’ve been in business 100 years
- You’re 100 years old and don’t use a computer
- You’re a national institution
- or an urban legend
On the other hand, you may already have a website, but it doesn’t mean you will get business from it. Perhaps you put it up simply to be a business card online that people go to when they look at your paper business card. However, if it doesn’t get potential customers to take action on something, it’s kind of meaningless.
Here are 5 big mistakes business owners make marketing online
1.Your website has no plan for sales conversion
You may have had your website designed to look smashing, but perhaps didn’t have a clear strategy in mind on how it would help you make money. A website is always more effective with a clear call to action rather than a GINORMOUS slider smacked on the home page with lots of pretty pictures scrolling through. That is, unless you’re promoting your photography, art, fabulous recipes, travel locations, or things of that sort.
If you want people to sign up for your coaching programs, services, or what not, you might be better off with a powerful video with yourself talking about what you do, and a nice fat opt in box to get people to sign up for your email newsletter list. Many web designers do not have a marketing background. Some are simply visual artists. You may be paying through the nose for their graphic arts ability, but would be better off with a design that’s simple and succinct.
2.You aren’t focusing on building an online email marketing list
Your email marketing list is your gold mine. Without a list, you’re losing potential customers. Why wouldn’t you want to be collecting names for your newsletter? Email marketing is still the most effective way to convert online prospects into customers. However… just because you have people on your list, doesn’t mean you’re going to get them to do what you want. Here are elements you need to have in place to make your email marketing work:
Insert an attractive opt in box on your website that is connected to your email marketing service.
You will want to choose aweber, Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, Infusion Soft, or another provider. Although you should also have a simple contact form on your site for people to connect with you directly through your email inbox, many people will not feel comfortable with this. They may be more apt to subscribe to your email marketing list if you give them a good reason to do so. In order to legally communicate with prospects they must give you permission to receive mail from you. That’s the purpose of using an secure email marketing system.
You need an opt in incentive
If you’re writing content, you can offer to send viewers post updates when they’re published. However, if you have something FREE to give them, it’s even better. This may be a special pdf downloadable report, a video series, an E-course, printable, or even something physical. (although downloadable is much easier to deal with)
You must have a plan to communicate once people are on your list.
Email marketing services allow you to set up auto responder messages. This means you create a series of emails that are scheduled to go out at specific intervals and contain valuable content your readers will enjoy and benefit from. At the very least you need:
A reminder to confirm to opt in – Once people put their name and email into your opt in box, a good rule of thumb is to have them confirm their opt in by being directed to a page to remind them. This can either be a page on your site with a personal message, or you can use the system’s confirm page. aweber, for example has an option for an audio confirmation that is a recording that tells the person who opted in to check their email to confirm. Some email services will let people go straight to a thank you – download page, but if they do not actually confirm their opt in, they may get the download incentive and then never come back again.
A thank you and download page – This is where your subscribers will go on your site once they confirm,to retrieve their free opt in incentive. You may have direct links on this page to download.
A welcome email – This is an email your subscribers will receive once they have confirmed their opt in. This email may contain the download attachments instead (for security) or be a backup in case the subscriber did not receive the re-direct to the thank you-download page. In your welcome email you may want to include a message about what readers can expect from you and well as a “next step” to take in the conversion process.
Email auto responder messages at chosen intervals. (You can set up auto responder messages to have emails sent every 2 days, once a week, etc) Each auto responder message should be crafted to give valuable information to the reader, but also have a call to action in mind without being a hard sell pitch.
Blog RSS broadcast – Some services have an option to automatically send out an email when you publish a blog post by picking up the RSS feed of the post. You can choose to have your posts sent out every Saturday morning (for example) or immediately. (I wouldn’t recommend sending out a broadcast immediately in case you make a mistake and want to re-edit your post after it’s published.)
Broadcast posts – These are emails sent randomly for various purposes such as the announcement of a new program, event, or other timely news.
3.Your email marketing templates are not set up for mobile devices
Let’s say you have your email opt in sales funnel set up, and have designed a fancy email template Some services such as Constant Contact have beautiful and easy to set up templates that you can use for your email newsletter. The problem is: Most people nowadays are looking at their email using their mobile device or IPad. From their phone, they will click on your email and see a big blank space with a message that says: Click here to display images. The viewer has to click on the link to be able to read the content of your email. Because you have created several sections to make your template look pretty, they have to scroll around to read each section The sections may contain links to click on to view the rest of your articles or webpages. This means the mobile viewer has to click and hope their phone will take them to the website the article is hosted on. Some phones get hung up depending on their wifi connection strength.
To put it bluntly, a plain text email, or email with a simple logo header is easier to read on a phone than a fancy email template. Since almost everyone is reading their email by phone, it’s a better strategy to keep your email as simple and as readable as possible.
4.Your website is not set up to be viewed on a phone or IPad.
Just like email templates, your actual website needs to be easy to view on a mobile or tablet device.
The big thing right now are responsive website designs. Not everyone understands this. What a responsive website will do is break up your content into columns so it can be easily viewed on a phone without having to zoom in and out. You’ll still be able to view your site design on a phone or Ipad, but it will adjust to the size of the device and may look slightly different than it does on a full sized computer screen. The advantage is that apps, videos, and readability will be optimized. Another option for WordPress sites, is to use a mobile plugin such as WP Touch. This creates a separate mobile theme for your site. On a mobile device your site will look completely different than your site design on computer. However, if you do not have a responsive web design, (such as an older WordPress theme) a mobile theme is much better than having viewers struggle to read your content.
5. Your call to action pages are not focused
If you want a prospect to take action on your site such as sign up for your program, buy a product, or other action, it’s a good strategy to create a landing page that’s devoid of other distractions. A landing page generally will not have a sidebar or contain links to other pages or sites. All the viewer sees is content focused on your one call to action. It might be designed to be a long sales page, or may only be a short and simple video with opt in or purchase button. If your prospect has too many choices to navigate and click on, they’ll probably get frustrated and leave your site to go elsewhere. It’s best to keep your call to action pages simple and clear Baby.
On sales pages, a common practice is to include incentives from other marketers as “gifts” if your prospect takes action. You will often see this utilized for tele-seminar summits. I would warn you to be cautious in using this strategy, as your subscriber will be taken to other sites to have them “sign up” for other mailing lists and programs. Once your subscriber is directed off your site, they may get distracted by the next shiny object, get lost in the shuffle, or overwhelmed by vigorous email marketing. Unless you have a powerful message and stand out among all the rest, you will lose them to whomever they feel a strong connection to, and they may eventually unsubscribe from you.
In summary: make sure your online marketing strategy is clear, simple and easy to view. Don’t be taken in by pretty graphics and fancy design, unless it steers people to take your call to action in the quickest way possible. Have a specific plan mapped out for success and make sure each step is implemented and optimized to your best advantage.
Do you need help setting up your sales and marketing system online using WordPress? Contact me and let’s talk about it.