As the holiday season is quickly approaching, what are you doing as a business owner to capture this year’s online shoppers? Assuming you already have an online presence and a means for customers to purchase or inquire about your products and services; are you reaching the right audience and are your visitors converting?
There is no better time than now to analyze your website and current online marketing efforts and work towards developing a strategy that will put you in front of the right audience and allow you to capture their business.
Below are some points worth looking into and analyzing (many of these are simple points and the more frequently you analyze the better):
Keyword Selection – when is the last time you analyzed your website’s keywords? If you had to think about that question for a few seconds, it’s probably been too long. Staying current with industry trends and competitive keyword intelligence will give you a head start over competition that doesn’t approach these things as aggressively. The way people search changes constantly so it is important to revisit your keywords frequently.
Landing Page Quality – so let’s say your keyword selection is great and your rankings are even better. If your sales aren’t just as good, something is wrong. If you’re rocking the same website in 2011 as you were back in 2002, your competition loves you. If your visitors have to question whether or not they are on the right website after clicking your ad, you just lost a customer. Make sure your message is transparent and your products are easy to find and purchase. Your navigation should be easy to follow and utilize. People should not get lost in your website. These are just a few things to think about when analyzing your website’s landing page quality. P.S., if you run paid search ads during the holiday season or any other time during the year, your landing pages hold even more weight.
Lead Capturing Methods – if you are in the service industry and your business is driven on new customer leads, this might be obvious, but make sure you have a lead capturing method in place. When running paid search campaigns, make sure there is an easy to find contact form. Give people a reason to want to give you their contact information. You can do this by offering complimentary discounts to subscribers, “member only” information or a free trial for your services. There are countless other ideas out there so don’t be afraid to get creative.
Analytics / Conversion Tracking – assuming you went ahead and took my advice on keyword research, landing page quality and lead capturing — it’s time to measure performance. Find your best performing pages / content and compare them to some of your weaker ones to see what you can do better. Familiarize yourself with visitor stats and conversion numbers and constantly compare these stats to prior periods. Google Analytics makes this very easy with “compare to past” options, customizable reports, conversion data and more.
Follow-up – post sale or conversion, what are you doing to keep your visitors coming back? What are you doing to ensure that their experience was a positive one? And lastly, what are you doing to promote your business through positive customer experiences and reviews? Today’s consumers weigh heavily on other customers’ reviews and experiences. It is easy to lose a customer to a bad review, making it more important than ever to ensure your consumers have positive experiences. In the circumstance that a customer has a negative experience, don’t ignore the situation. Find out why they are dissatisfied and show them that you are willing to remedy the situation and that you value their business and opinions. When customers praise your product or service, use this as promotional marketing material. Make positive customer experiences easy for new, potential customers to locate – this will weigh heavily on their decision making process.
To summarize, it is very easy to get caught up in marketing habits and lose sight of the big picture, your customers. Today’s consumers are much more educated than those of the past and the ease of obtaining information on companies, products and services all lead to much smarter shoppers. If you aren’t taking the necessary steps to improving UX and the overall shopping experience, you will lose customers and they will talk. Take consistent, small steps towards keeping long-term customers and earning new ones along the way. Continuously analyzing your website and internet marketing strategies will make it more likely that drastic changes will never be necessary.
Are you ready for the online holiday rush of 2011?