10 Most Common Mistakes Businesses Make When Designing Their Website

You’ve got roughly 8 seconds to capture the attention of your visitors or they are off visiting the next site.

So what do your visitors want to see in those few precious seconds?

THE CLARITY TEST

It’s simple. They want to see:

  1. What do you do?
  2. How will they benefit if they become a customer?
  3. How do they take action?

If your website isn’t generating the leads or sales you think it should, it’s likely that you have a disconnect somewhere. It could be in the design, the copy, or your call-to-action, even your loading speed can affect your results!

In working with hundreds of small businesses we have found there are 10 Most Common Mistakes Businesses Make When Designing Their Website they are:

WEBSITE MISTAKE #1

You talk about your company instead of connecting with your target audience.
Connect with your target audience and give them a reason to choose you instead of your competitor.

If you were to line up your website with your top 2 – 3 competitors would you be able to quickly identify what makes your business unique from theirs?

Or does your site basically say the same thing as theirs?

Customers choose to do business with you because they have a problem, and they believe your product or service can solve it.

Craft a specific message that speaks directly to your customers’ issues. When they see that you understand them and their challenge that captures their attention and get them to spend a little more time on your site.

WEBSITE MISTAKE #2

You don’t clearly state what you do.
Too many people try to come up with a catchy phrase or tagline that’s clever, thinking that will capture the attention of your visitor.

You’ve only got a few seconds to get your point across. Make it clear – make it simple.

Not sure if your message is clear enough? Find a casual acquaintance who doesn’t know your business. Ask them to look at the home page of your website for 5 – 10 seconds. Then, ask them to tell you exactly what you do. If they can, you’re golden! If not, you’ve got work to do on your message to provide clarity.

WEBSITE MISTAKE #3

You don’t show proof that your products or services have worked for others.
Don’t just say you’re the best – prove it.
Don’t just say you’re different – prove it.
Don’t just say you’ve helped a lot of customers – prove it.

Buyers are more skeptical today than ever before. Use the power of “social proof” to prove that your business truly helps your customers.

Showcase customer testimonials. Highlight recognizable brands that have worked with you. Call out statistics that prove your success.

You don’t need to go overboard, a “sprinkle” of social proof goes a long way.

WEBSITE MISTAKE #4

You use the wrong images.
You’ve heard it many times before, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. The question is, what are your pictures on your website saying?

Your visitors want to see themselves having success from using your products or services. Use pictures that show your customers having success as a result of your products or services.

Ideally, you want to use custom images whenever possible over stock images.

WEBSITE MISTAKE #5

You use too much text.
People don’t really read word-for-word online – they scan. This is why your headlines need to grab the attention of your visitor.

Keep your text short and sweet and to the point. Too much text will overwhelm your visitor and cause them to bounce (meaning, leave your page).

Don’t take my word for it…

Take a look at your bounce rate inside of Google Analytics…the proof is in the numbers.

WEBSITE MISTAKE #6

You use sliding images in your headers.
The only people who like sliders on websites are web developers (for some reason) and the business owner. I think they think it looks “cool” and “flashy”.

Here’s the deal…

Visitors want clarity. They aren’t going to wait for your slider images to rotate so that they can read what you have to say on each image. And there’s nothing more frustrating when a slider image catches your eye…then it switches, and you have to wait till it rotates back around!

Sliders provide a terrible user experience.
Sliders are terrible for SEO.
Sliders are just bad!

WEBSITE MISTAKE #7

You have too many pages.
Too many pages are difficult to navigate to find the information your visitor is looking for. Plus, it can send them down a “rabbit hole” of clicking (but not really reading).

Keep your front facing pages (on your main navigation) to a minimum.

Remember, visitors what to know:

  1. What do you do?
  2. How will they benefit from your products or services?
  3. How do they take action?

It shouldn’t take a 30-page website to answer these questions :)

WEBSITE MISTAKE #8

You don’t have a clear call-to-action.
We tend to see businesses “stuffing” every page on their site with a bunch of call-to-actions.

If you want your visitors to take a specific action then the best approach is to have (1) one call-to-action per page. It’s ok to have that same call-to-action multiple times on the page but you want to have one consistent call-to-action.

The content (copy and images) on that page should support all the reasons why your visitor should take that action.

Too many call-to-actions is confusing to your visitors…they don’t know what you want them to do.

WEBSITE MISTAKE #9

You use social media icons.
Think about it…

You spend a ton of time, money, and resources to drive traffic to your website right? And when they finally show up you have social media icons on your site that direct them to LEAVE your site!!!!

What!?!?!

This is THE MOST COMMON MISTAKE we see businesses make. There are better ways to build your social media following. Don’t ask visitors to leave your site.

WEBSITE MISTAKE #10

Your site isn’t mobile friendly.
When your website isn’t mobile friendly it is not only frustrating to your visitors but Google will actually penalize you in your rankings.

It is absolutely ESSENTIAL that your site is mobile-friendly!

Would you like the Your Marketing Coach team to take a look at your site?

There are many factors that need to be considered when optimizing your website. We’ve covered the 10 most common mistakes here but there are many others factors that affect your website conversions.

Click the button below to take advantage of our FREE Website Audit and learn how you can optimize your website and stop losing valuable leads and potential customers!

Let Your Marketing Coach professionals review your site and provide you a detailed report on how to optimize your site for conversions.

Stop Wasting Time on Leads that Aren’t Ready to Buy: Use Lead Scoring to Focus on your Hottest Leads

Lead Scoring is used by businesses to rank prospects using a scale that applies value to a lead based off a predetermined set of criteria that makes them a good candidate for conversion. Whether you are a small business with a sales team or a solopreneur that wears all the hats in your business lead scoring is important so that you (or your team) isn’t wasting time with leads that aren’t ready to buy.

The first thing you’ll need to do to set up a lead scoring system for your business is to determine which criteria makes for a qualified lead.

You’ll want to sit down and determine which activities and behaviors make for a qualified lead.

Once you’ve identified the activities and behaviors that are attributed to a qualified lead you will want to develop a point system that you apply for those activities and behaviors. I’d recommend that your point system be based off a 0 – 100 point scale.

What Score Makes a Lead Sales Ready?

With the point system in place you can now create a lead score card. Here’s an example of what a Lead Score Card may look like:

This lead currently has 90 points. So, you may determine that a lead is considered “hot” if they have accumulated 75 points or more (if using a 100 point scale).

Here’s an example of a lead that has reached a 4 “flame” status and would be considered a “hot lead”:

Once a lead has reached a “hot lead” qualification they would be sent over to your sales team (or assigned to you) to contact them for conversion.

To determine what point value would validate a “hot lead” it helps to look at past lead activity to determine what has historically lead to sales conversions.

Keep in mind, a lead’s activity can change from day to day, so it is important that your sales team acts quickly in contacting your qualified lead.

It’s also important to point out that it’s virtually impossible to track a leads activity manually. You’ll need a lead management software that enables you to set your lead scoring criteria so that you can score your leads in real time.

If you are interested in setting up a lead scoring system for your business download the FREE Guide below to “Score Like a Rockstar” and begin to create your own lead scoring system.

How I Started Your Marketing Coach

Hey there! First of all, I have to apologize…

This is going to be a REALLY long post because I want to take the time to reflect and share my story of how I started Your Marketing Coach if that’s ok with you?

I want to share how I started with a $20 Staples coupon, no cash, no website, and no business cards. Yet, despite what I didn’t have – I used what I did have, and billed over $11,000 my first month!

Here’s how the story goes…

It was October 2012, and the income from my (previous) business was only $600 for the month! I was “broke, busted, and disgusted” as I like to say :)

I would have loved to blame the economy…
Or the fact that I was living in a new state where I knew only 1 person…

But truthfully, I had lost my passion for the business I was in and it took me over 3 years to admit it. It was clear, it wasn’t working (and neither was I).

I need a change…but what?

I had prayed…
I pleaded…
I begged…

…for God to give me an answer and give me clarity as to what I should be doing with my life and how I was suppose to support my family.

I was COMPLETELY broken and lost, and I was a little (a lot) pissed off!

I sat down with 3 blank pieces of paper in front of me and through my tears I wrote a title at the top of each page.

1. What are my God given abilities and talents?
2. What am I good at? What do I love to do?
3. What kind of life do I want?

And I wrote…

My conclusion was:

I love being involved in anything creative
God has blessed me with the ability to make something out of nothing (bootstrap)
I wanted a life of freedom, flexibility and control
I want to make a difference in the world (corny I know…but, true)

As I wrote, I began to feel a fire ignite in me. I have something to offer. I am not useless. I am not a victim of circumstance. I am in control…and I need to TAKE control!

I looked at my daughter as she played with a new camera she had just gotten (for a class she was taking in college). I said, “grab your camera, we are starting a photography business!”.

She laughed and said, “Mom, you can’t start a photography business – you don’t know how to use the camera”. “I don’t have to – you do”, I said.

We called the business “Street Shots Photography”. The intention was that we were going to walk the streets and take shots of kids and families in parks playing.

I thought it was a great idea. When I looked at all the pictures of my kids over the years, by favorites were those candid shots that were taken randomly with our basic camera.

As we planned our first “shooting” we came to the conclusion that it might not be well received if we are “stalking” kids in the park without parents permission :) So, we quickly scrapped that idea and I came up with another.

I decided that I’d head over to an apartment complex that was just down the street from our house and ask the manager if she’d be willing to let us come in and set up a “photo studio” in her front lobby and give away a Free 8×10 portrait to every family who signed up. (Keep in mind, our only equipment was a cheap camera…not a “photo studio”!). Our “studio” was to consist of re-arranging their furniture in their lobby and bringing props from our house!

The manager was thrilled (and shocked) that we were being so generous with our free offer! She booked us for the week before Thanksgiving.

As I headed back out to my car I realized that I didn’t have the money to waste on gas driving to another apartment building, so I headed back inside and asked if they owned other properties that might be interested in the same offer.

She booked us every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for 6 weeks! I was thrilled!!!

You’d be rolling on the floor laughing if you could have seen us during those 6 weeks. Here’s the point….(because, there is a point…and this part of the story is critical to how I started Your Marketing Coach). During that 6 weeks we grossed over $10,000 and netted over $8,800 from the sales of our (less than professional) pictures!

More importantly…

I realized two things:

First, this “quick win” gave me my confidence back that I am capable and confident that I can create success when I get my mind off the problem and onto a SOLUTION!

Second, I realized that I am NOT cut out to be a photographer!!! LOL :)

So…back to the drawing board I went, to think of another business idea.

I realized during this process that I am really great at marketing. Heck, I should be, considering my formal education is in Marketing! That’s when I made the decision to start Your Marketing Coach. In the beginning, I was just going to start doing a little bit of coaching “on the side” while I maintained my other business at the same time.

My plan of action was to get myself in front of a couple of groups to share a marketing strategy I had used in my own business in the past and had success with. I lined up 2 events and had the opportunity to speak to roughly 40 people total. At the end of my talk, I mentioned that I was going to be offering some marketing services to a handful of small business owners and if they were interested that I would start with a free 30 minute session. Almost everyone signed up for the free session! At the end of my first 30 days I had acquired 27 new coaching clients and I was off and running with my new business!

My “part-time” gig went full-time in 30 days!

I was so excited…it was a dream come true. I was able to help small business owners succeed in marketing and be the encourager they needed to remind them that what they do matters…and that they needed to succeed. Their families, communities, and the world counted on them. Their success matters!

When I started, I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t have a website. I didn’t have business cards! Think about it – a marketer without the essential marketing tools! It’s crazy to think about it now…but, back then my back was against the wall – and I came out swinging!

It’s amazing how clear you get when you focus on the SOLUTION rather than the PROBLEM!

My first month as a Marketing Coach I invoiced $11,000 and haven’t looked back since. Today, I empower small business owners to take back their business and life by teaching them marketing strategies to create sustainable revenue and growth in their business. I like to think of myself as The BOOTSTRAP Marketing Coach for entrepreneurs. I have a knack for taking the skills, talents, abilities, and resources that entrepreneurs have at their immediate disposal, and helping them leverage them to grow their business. It’s what I’ve always done and have built my successful businesses with over the years.

Thomas A. Edison said it best in his quote, “Opportunity is missed by most because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”.

We live in a world of abundance that is ours to EARN. There are more opportunities today than ever before to win in business. Yet, many entrepreneurs still struggle.

Many of them jump from one marketing strategy to another hoping that the next one will “be the key to success” in taking their business to the next level.

Brian Tracy sums up the key to taking your business to the next level in one of my favorite quotes from him …

“A genius without a road map will get lost in any country – but an average person with a road map will find their way to any destination.”

To build a successful six figure (or next six figure) business you must be clear:

  • Clear on YOUR GROWTH GOALS…
  • Clear on our PROFIT PLAN…
  • Clear on your IMPACT MESSAGE…
  • Clear on what drives your BUSINESS GROWTH…
  • Clear on your MARKETING AND SALES FUNNEL…
  • And, clear on how to be CONSISTENT IN IMPLEMENTATION…

Once you are clear, then you can create your “road map”.

I am hosting a Marketing Breakthrough Blueprint (LIVE) Event Workshop, January 22, 2016 to help entrepreneurs create an actionable GROWTH PLAN tailored to their business.

As I mentioned…a breakthrough in your business begins with clarity.

CLICK HERE to learn more about this LIVE EVENT.

The power of success lies in how fast you can implement the RIGHT information into your daily marketing and sales activities. Don’t let another year go by where you run your business simply off “hope”. Attend this workshop and create a action plan for growth.

I hope to see you there!

 

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Is Email Marketing Dead?

Email is the primary way most people communicate in the business world. Yet many small business marketers still second guess whether email marketing is still an effective marketing strategy.

ABSOLUTELY – it is!

Don’t just trust me though, check out these stats:

  • 91% of consumers use email at least once a day (ExactTarget).
  • 7% of US internet users say that email is the preferred method of communicating with businesses (eMarketer).
  • US consumers interact with about 11 brands through email on a daily basis (EmailStatCenter.com)

These stats will get you fired up:

  • Email is almost 40 times better at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter (McKinsey & Company).
  • For every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return is $44.25 (emailexpert).
  • When marketed through email, consumers spend 138% more than people who don’t receive email offers (Convince and Convert).
  • 44% if consumers made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email they received (Convince and Convert).

Interesting stat to consider:

  • 48% of emails are opened on a mobile device (Litmus).

So, what does this mean? Simple – if you do not have an email marketing strategy for your business you are missing out on growth.

I know it’s work. I also know it’s not easy.

It is my goal to use this month’s issue of intelligent MARKETER to provide you with The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing where we will cover:

  • What is email marketing?
  • Understand the Value of Your List
  • List Building Strategies
  • Selecting an Email Provider
  • Email Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

CLICK HERE to view the entire issue of intelligent MARKETER.

Or, click the button below to subscribe to intelligent MARKETER and receive each issue directly to your inbox each month.

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Why Starbucks Rocks at Relationship Marketing

Anyone who knows me knows I love coffee…more specifically – Starbucks coffee. I will confidently admit that I am a coffee snob. Just when I thought Starbucks couldn’t get any better…they BLEW me away again today – with their marketing this time.

StarSo, I drive up to my “favorite” Starbucks (literally 1 hour ago) just to grab a quick Flat White (if you haven’t tried it yet…you MUST! D-lish) on the way back to the office. And what to my wondering eyes would appear but new shiny order-screen-thingy and the face of a cheery Barista!

No seriously, her face showed up on the screen when she took my order. She was MUCH nicer than my picture depicts but I was holding up the line so I had to move on.

Ok, aside from the fact that I absolutely love Starbucks coffee I also love their marketing! They get it.

Marketing is about building relationships, and Starbucks gets it.

I have heard (on several occasions) opinions from Starbucks “haters” (a little too strong?) that I should support local coffee houses (which I do) and that Starbucks doesn’t deserve my business (as much) as local smaller coffeehouse businesses do because they are a big corporate business.

I get it. I am ALL ABOUT small business…but, here’s the deal – Starbucks was a small business once too (without going into the long story of Starbucks history).

Here’s why there’s currently a Starbucks on every street corner (in my opinion):

  • They write my name on my cup
  • They remember my order
  • They give me free Wi-Fi
  • They let me hang out in comfy chairs all day if I want to
  • They don’t care when I do hang out all day (been there too many times than I’d like to admit)
  • They don’t care how much sugar I take (and they don’t hide the sugar in a feeble attempt to reserve the sugar)
  • Their barista’s know their coffee (and have actually tasted everything on the menu)
  • And now when I run through the drive through I get to SEE the person I am speaking to!

They get marketing.

Are their small cafe’s out there that get it too….yep. I was just in Michigan recently and there is a coffee house that my kids says, “serves liquid gold in a cup” (yea, I have the kids hooked too…I know, bad Mom). And it’s true…I even paid $20 a pound to bring some of it back home with me to Arizona (@ $20 a pound!!! THAT’S how much I support small business!).

Unfortunately, I have been in too many small business cafe’s that literally get pissed off if it looks like I took too much sugar or one too many napkins. We have a coffeehouse nearby that we love to go to (awesome specialty drinks…not so good on their coffee) that will only let you use the internet for 2 hours (after you purchase your drink). I have actually gotten nasty remarks from owners who feel you have overstayed your welcome! I have been in coffeehouses (a few) that actually puts the sugar behind the counter so everyone has to ask for it (apparently, to deter people from using it).

I could go on and on….

I’m not beating up the small business…really, I’m not. I am however pointing out that just because you are small business does not give you permission to be cheap. I get that you have to “watch your overhead” and “be profitable”. Here’s my tip – CHARGE MORE.

I’ll pay it! I do at Starbucks.

Writing my name on my cup is a small (yet, significant thing to do)….heck, they even spell it wrong most of the time! DISCLOSURE: The Barista drops the “f” bomb in this video so if that offends you, (don’t watch).

Here’s a question to consider as a small business owner…”Do we sacrifice relationships with our customers because we are trying to save ourselves a few cents?”

This is important.

What are you doing to build relationships with your customers? Any new and exciting ideas you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them!

Putting in the new order-screen-thingy might have been a bit of an investment for Starbucks…this Starbucks lover appreciates it! I don’t know that the new order-screen-thingy will make me buy more (as I doubt it would be good for my health) but it definitely impressed me. Did you know that the average lifetime value of a Starbucks client is $14,099? Check out the case study from KISSmetrics below. I know that Starbucks stole my heart (again) with their commitment to building a relationship with me and maybe, just maybe – their investment will pay off for them ;)

ltv

Why Reputation Marketing Should Be A Top Marketing Priority

Feedback Satisfaction Information Business Office Working Concep64% of small businesses* claim word-of-mouth and customer referrals as their most effective marketing strategy for growing their business.

While word-of-mouth and customer referrals will always play an important role in the overall marketing plan there is an even bigger marketing strategy that many small business are overlooking when it comes to growing their business – reputation marketing.

Reputation marketing is defined by Wikipedia as “the evolution from the marriage of fields of online reputation management and brand marketing. In the socially connected world of the new millennium a brand’s rep is vetted online nearly in real-time by consumers leaving online reviews and citing experiences on social media websites.”

I would define reputation marketing as a marketing strategy that allows consumers to share and review their experiences with businesses that can result in additional online visibility and provide social proof of a business’s credibility.

Many small businesses have gracefully ignored the escalating popularity of social review sites and the role that social proof plays with consumers…hoping that they will not have to “mess with” and manage another marketing process or strategy.

Reputation Marketing cannot be ignored…

  1. Eighty six percent (86%) of respondents in a 2012 survey conducted by Pepperdine University School of Business stated that they have consulted an online review site before deciding on a company they would do business with.
  2. Seventy percent (70%) of consumers regularly put their trust in online reviews per a 2012 Nielsen study that questioned 28,000 internet users in 56 countries worldwide.
  3. Seventy-two percent (72%) of respondents in the same Nielsen study also stated that a bad review could turn them against a company which they had already done business with!

What does this mean?

Consumers are in control. It has been said in years past that an unsatisfied customer will tell 10 friends about their experience…today they are able to tell thousands (within seconds).

You can’t stop reviews. If you have a Facebook page, consumers can post a review. If you have claimed your Google Listing, consumers can post a review. Consumers can set up their own review of your business on Yelp….you get the point.

If you don’t manage your reputation your dissatisfied customers will. I think it’s safe to say that we hear more from dissatisfied customers than satisfied customers. If you do not have a strategy to get your satisfied customers to share their experience your only reviews will likely be unfavorable.

An Untapped Opportunity…

Statistics tell us that online reviews play a major role in social proof and building brand authority. Yet many businesses have not created a strategy for managing their online reputation.

Online reviews can be more powerful than a referral. Think about it, while you may get the occasional referral from a satisfied customer if you get an online review from a happy customer they are telling thousands of people! AND you will still get the verbal referrals you’ve always gotten as well. That’s a scaling strategy worth implementing!

Here’s six (6) tips you’ll want to keep in mind as you start to build your online reviews:

  1. Ask and you shall receive – It stands to reason that if you ask for an online review you are more likely to get an online review…the strategy is simple ASK. Ideally you should implement the asking as part of your email marketing follow up in a customer nurture campaign.
  2. Range – Don’t limit your reviews to just one or two social platforms (ie. Facebook and Yelp). Think of it this way, the more platforms you have reviews on the more visibility for your business.
  3. Focus on two social platforms at a time – This might seem contradictory to what I just shared with range. You want to have reviews on many different platforms but you must guide your customers to where you want them to leave their reviews. You can’t just say “hey, leave us a review” and not tell them where. Choose 2 – 3 platforms to build up and then move on to 2 – 3 more once you are happy with the number of reviews. Which leads me to my next point…
  4. Quantity – If one HVAC has 25 reviews on Google and the other HVAC Company has 2 reviews, who are you going to call? Do your research on your competition see how many reviews they have and then set your sites on a few more than they have. Once you have “claimed” your dominance move to another platform. Don’t forget to check on each platform as your competition will likely be implementing the same strategy as you are. Which leads me to the next point…
  5. Recent – It appears that companies that have recent reviews rank higher in terms of SERP’s (search engine result pages). This is another reason why you must revisit platforms to keep a consistent flow of NEW reviews from customers.
  6. Real – Online reviews carry a lot of weight because the reviews must come from REAL people (unlike testimonies that can be made up and no one would know…but that’s another subject for another day J). Don’t try to manipulate the system. Ask all clients to review your company don’t pick and choose who you ask. An occasional dissatisfied customer is an opportunity to show others how you handle challenges. Also keep in mind that reviews are a great way to spot weaknesses and an opportunity to get better based off customer feedback. Don’t get defensive – get responsive!

Knowing word-of-mouth and referrals play such a major role in the growth of small businesses it should be logical that we utilize a marketing strategy that gives our customers a platform to tell thousands! Implement reputation marketing strategy for your small business and capitalize on the social influence and exposure it can give your business.

SOURCE(S):

*2015 Infusionsoft Small Business Market Research Sales and Marketing Report

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