I know that, for a number of reasons, almost 100% of clients who come to us for consultation have websites that are missing a number (if not all) of the key elements that I’ll detail below, which would have certainly brought them more success if they’d been in place earlier.
The truth is that very few small-to-medium sized businesses have an effective online marketing strategy, whatsoever. If that’s the case for you, unfortunately you’re mainly gearing yourself for failure or at best, hoping for a miracle.
So, what are these key factors to website success, the “big mistakes” you’re making, I hear you ask? At their most basic level (essential ‘pillars’), they are:
1) You Don’t Have A Good Aesthetic
Guys set up “web design businesses” all the time as they feel that, with a little coding knowledge, they can be a web designer. The problem is that it’s not just about being able to code up some incarnation of a site that can be placed ‘online’.
The aesthetic can build trust, impress, hell it can even do a good portion of converting a prospect, for that very reason.
Plenty of times online I’ll buy from a site simply because it looks professional or trustworthy. The effort that has gone into designing a slick site builds confidence in the company because it looks like they take their business seriously.
2) You Have no Defined Traffic-Generating Strategy
It’s one thing to have your beautiful website sitting waiting for your next big prospect to arrive. The problem comes in targeting those prospects and bringing them to your website in the first place.
This is where you need to develop and implement an effective strategy for actually attracting people to click on the link to your website. Here are some of the base strategies you should be implementing right now:
Online Advertising – Run a Google, Facebook, Linked In, Youtube or Bing Ad Campaign – Paying for your traffic is an essential form of traffic generation, especially upon launching your website. It’s super easy, though Google sometimes make it trickier than necessary – so, I’ve done a quick, free Google tutorial here which should help.
Social Media – If you’re interested in using social media to drive traffic to your website here are a couple of important tips. First, on your Facebook page, make sure your website link is right up top in that page description. It makes it easier for people to just ‘click’ through (see image below). Next, make sure any relevant links back to your website have a call to action attached (for instance “Click here for the full article”)
Blogging & SEO– If you’re a small business with a goal of building interest and engagement on your website, blogging is almost essential. The reason I’ve included SEO here is that it’s actually very difficult to build ‘organic’ (free) traffic to your website without SEO and it’s subsequently much, much easier to do that if you are blogging about what you do.
Direct Response Marketing (in the email sense) – This sounds a little confusing but all the term really relates to is the strategy of email “list building” and then marketing to that list. When I refer to ‘direct response’ or ‘list building’, you may also have heard it called “database marketing” or “email marketing”. So the key here is to start building a list. You do this by having a focused area of your website geared toward offering something of perceived value to your prospect… in exchange for their email address. The most common forms of “bribe” are ebooks, video training, webinar access, discount codes etc. The key here is to identify something that really is of ‘value’ to your visitors and then making sure they can get instant access to this by signing up there and then. To facilitate this you would need to use a service like www.mailchimp.com to manage your list for you. You would also need to set up a sign up form on your site. There are many ways to do this but often they look something like the image below, which we designed for a client (also see first image, above for another method within the design).
3) Your Content Sucks (e.g. Poor Engagement)
It is highly important that the images and written content on your website attract, and then engage, visitors. This ensures loyalty, trust and ultimately, conversion.
So, pay attention to each image, written word, link on your website – throw out images or text that are surplus to requirements. Make sure they all make sense, are free of typos and offer valuable, bite-sized chunks of information for visitors who will then be prompted to subscribe, buy or contact you (whatever your goal may be).
This is especially true if you are blogging as your website will be regularly updated with new content – so make sure it’s “all killer, no filler” by writing information down which is of true benefit and value to your potential customers. The era of hiding your information away is dead; people want answers and help, and they want it now – if they can’t find it with you (fast) they will simply go elsewhere.
So give it to them in order to establish and cultivate all important trust, upon which you can then build upon and convert them into paying customers.
4) You Have no Conversion Strategy
It’s baffling how many websites have no real focused “calls to action” present within them. A call to action is simply a link, button or instruction which tells the visitor to take a very specific, intended course of action. It is effectively telling your visitor what action they need to take next to get the most value out of your website.
Depending on your website, your core focus for conversion may be for the visitor to ‘subscribe to your email list’ or simply to ‘buy your product now’. Whatever it is, you need to decide on that core focus and then strategise about how to get that visitor to take that specific action.
The key here is to not give your visitor too many options, as this can result in ‘paralysis through analysis’ whereby the visitor cannot make an informed decision and will therefore simply exit your website. So be clear with your instruction to improve conversion and retention.
Without these strategic prompts on your website you’re leaving a huge chunk of money on the table, because it makes it very difficult for a visitor to decide what to do next.
So, you may use buttons/links that say:
Add to Cart
Get Instant Access
Start Your Free Trial
Take the Next Step
Secure The Deal
Whatever you choose to use should be affirmative in its’ wording and should make it abundantly clear to your prospect exactly the course of action they need to take next to get access to your product/service.
If you start by making sure each of these key elements is in place on your website you will eliminate a vast majority of ‘bounces’ away from your website (where people land on it and then leave it immediately).
If you’d like a complete A-Z online marketing blueprint, with no technical experience required, you can get instant training by clicking the button below:
4 Secrets That Online Marketing Companies Won’t Tell You…
I could get in trouble for this with other online marketing companies, no doubt.
In this article I want to expose and discuss a few of the biggest secrets that online marketing companies everywhere are keeping from you, as clients, that you need to be aware of to achieve success online.
1) You Can Get it Cheaper Elsewhere – Online Marketing Companies’ Prices Vary Wildly
Secret no.1 is potentially the biggest of all because you can always get it cheaper elsewhere. There are hundreds of resources online which will connect you with web designers, developers and full-service online marketing companies around the world who can do it cheaper than your existing online marketing company, or even our web agency. It’s just a fact of life.
Next, your options are less limited than ever before and it’s now truly possible to do it yourself and build a pro website and online marketing strategy (sometimes even to an agency standard), without the need for a programmer or experience in online marketing. It can be quite the revelation.
Whether you choose to put the time into that learning curve alone is your choice, but it’s important to note that the resources are right there, at your finger tips, online.
What Content Management System to Use For Better Online Marketing Performance
If you are open to putting the effort in and spend a little time learning systems like WordPress, you can pretty effectively build a relatively professional website for less than $100.00 using ‘themes’ which are designed by industry-leading programmers and online marketing companies; some that can be installed in seconds.
If this sounds like a good option, we have a complete blueprint for doing this here.
Websites Should be an Investment
However, the reason why I’m open to revealing these secrets is that online marketing companies like ours still get all the high-paying private clients due to the fact that we specialise in offering bespoke consultancy packages based on a number of major benefits.
First, we build excellent websites, we research the niche, we offer services in all areas of digital marketing to ensure the strategy & website are polished, Search Engine Optimised, positioned correctly and effective for our clients.
That is a hard task to achieve yourself unless you have a strict blueprint to follow or someone to hold your hand through it all.
Our Recommendation In Terms Of Website Build & Online Marketing
If I had a personal recommendation for businesses, it would be to sit at either end of the scale – either do it all yourself or invest heavily in a one-to-one consultant who will develop a strategy for you and either show you how to implement it, or do it all for you.
By sitting in the ‘middle’ and opting for a mid-level-agency you’re guaranteed to get mid-level results because your agency will not be heavily invested enough in getting you what you really want… which is those high-end results.
Cheap or mid-level agencies will generally provide a nice looking website but rarely will they hit all the sweet spots between aesthetics, online strategy, SEO and so on (see below for the “four pillars”).
It’s a personal approach but one that we value (and our clients value, above all else). To see why, please read our testimonials at the base of this post.
2) “You Don’t Need to Pay $5000-10000 for a “Custom Built” Content Management Solution” From a Flashy Online Marketing Companies
Lie no.2 is simply designed as a money-recoup. Some online marketing companies spend thousands, even tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, on building their own content management systems, which rarely, if ever come even close to matching the free resources available online today.
Content management systems like WordPress, e-commerce resources like Shopigy and even shopping cart solutions like Stripe… These companies have spent years and $millions employing some of the smartest coders in the world, all to bring to the table simple, easy-to-use resources which WORK and function as they should.
That is a hard pill to swallow for most web agencies who have developed their own systems but it is, nevertheless true.
So, when a small company tries to push their own CMS on you, just be wary, that’s all. Ask questions, see it in action – if it does all it says on the tin, then why not use it, but otherwise you’ll probably find better solutions out there for much less of an investment.
However, I’d suggest there’s probably already a better solution, for less money, out there already. Just do your research and ask advice.
*Caveat – While most online marketing companies can provide for clients to find their maximum potential for success online by using open-source Content Management Systems like WordPress, some companies do need bespoke solutions. This depends heavily on their industry and the functionality required of the website, so you should seek advice or do plenty of research.
3) “A Good Website Is NOT Just About Aesthetics” – REAL Online Marketing Companies Know This
Equally important are the other aspects, which a website must accomplish to be in any way “successful” for a company or an individual. These important aspects of online marketing are:
Conversion (Call to Action)
A website with traffic but content which doesn’t “engage” the visitor (i.e. that doesn’t make them want to stay on the site for more than a few seconds) is equally ineffective.
And, if you have these other factors but do not ‘convert’ the visitor into an enquiry, purchase, subscription (or whatever the goal of your website really is) then it’s all a bit wasted, isn’t it?
Online Marketing Companies & The Lack of Focus On Key Principles
Most online marketing companies pay attention to the first pillar (design/aesthetics) but either ignore completely the other important pillars or vastly undervalue them. This can prove costly for a client down the line when they realise their website is simply not working for the business, not generating leads, not securing purchases.
I can’t stand on a pedestal, in the past I was guilty of this as well. However, as I’ve grown and learned the industry and honed in on what works and what doesn’t in terms of conversion, digital marketing strategy and traffic-getting techniques, I’ve come to realise the equal importance of each of the pillars mentioned above.
If you’re going to a web designer for a new website for your business, please make sure both you (and they) are aware of and will attend to, each and every one of these pillars. It will make the difference between failure & success with your investment in a website.
4) You Can’t Get All The Free Traffic You Want – Online Marketing Requires Multiple Streams of Traffic Generation
Another myth peddled by disingenuous online marketing companies is that you can get a ton of free website traffic by using Facebook, Twitter, Youtube etc. That may be true in the long-term but you need to put the ground work in first. It’s like earning your dues on the web, or as I say “building your credit rating”.
Some online marketing companies will provide a website and tell you that you’ll get a load of traffic by simply adding a Facebook page to your online arsenal.
The cold hard truth is that you’ll get minimal traffic from social media if you don’t have a very specific strategy to implement in the long term. Either way, to do this and get significant traffic from Facebook or Twitter et al, you will need to put in a lot of time an effort.
The Cold Hard Truth About Online Marketing Companies & Traffic Generation
The equally cold hard truth is that the only way to get real, targeted traffic as you launch your website, truthfully, is to pay for it. You can discover this strategy and more at our free traffic generation training here
You’ll need to set aside a budget for some of the modern forms of advertising online – Google Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn, Youtube, in addition to trying to build an organic (free) audience for your website using protocols for Search Engine Optimization, Social Media and so on.
Again, this free traffic will generally take a while to generate so don’t lose focus on those important elements (*get them in place right at the start and allow them time to grow).
First, you’ll need to research what keywords are going to be ideal to target for this advertising your product. The way to do this is to use Google’s Keyword Planner. Or, get your online marketing company to do this for you if they aren’t already.
The key here is to research a plethora of very specific key terms & words that your very specific demographic is using to find your very specific product. When you identify these key terms you can, with the help of the Keyword planner, view the number of searches and competition for those terms.
The Next Steps in Traffic Generation
From that point you can start to add them to your website and online advertising campaigns to laser-in on the very people who are out there and searching for your product/service.
These secrets should be of help in pointing you in the right direction for dealing with a web agency (or doing it all yourself, which is a very viable option these days) to ensure you get maximum return on investment and a better product in the form of your website & online marketing.
Let me know if you have any questions or queries in the comments box below and make sure to like and share the content to your friends & colleagues so they can find value in it too.
If you’d like to know some major industry-insider secrets and a strategy to build an agency-standard website yourself, with no technical experience, head over to our owner, Alex Fleck’s Youtube Channel
The 5 Most Common Hurdles to Succeeding in Social Media (For Business)
Content is Key. So how do you find content to post and how do you manage your time efficiently so you don’t have to dedicate hours every day to your social media profiles?
Almost every client we’ve ever had within the ‘Social Media Marketing’ remit has had the same concerns at the inception; actually physically finding content to share – it’s an area that seems eternally confusing for clients. The main concerns tend to centre around the following five aspects, give or take, so hopefully we can help dispel the myth that social media is somehow a headache in terms of creating content for your profiles. It’s really not, if you just take a moment to stand back and think logically about it you will find a huge wealth of resources out there that you can share, use, reference and even create your own content from.
THE REASONS WHY MOST BUSINESSES FAIL AT SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
At this stage it still amazes me how many companies (particularly and specifically in the UK & Ireland) are using social media for their business… in completely the wrong way. This is most true for their Facebook profiles, where they are seriously missing the available features at their disposal.
It seems like businesses just don’t care. They are making basic mistakes, day in day out and are either proclaiming themselves to be ‘specialists’ or at least ‘knowledgeable’ in social media. Either that or they’re moaning about how social media ‘doesn’t work for us’ or complaining about how ‘that twat Zuckerburg’ has made billions and somehow using that as a reason not to use social media for the marketing of their own business.
Of course, in terms of its usefulness for business, these claims of social media’s inadequacy couldn’t be further from the truth. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of businesses worldwide are using social media to successfully achieve their individual goals. Indeed, we’ve attracted some of our best clients using social media… clients located all over the world whom we would never have been able to attract without social media.