The speed of Internet marketing is one of its most important and attractive features. With an Internet marketing campaign, you can reach out to prospective customers almost at the speed of thought. As soon as your message reaches a customer’s inbox, you’ve made a connection. But the speed of the Internet is something of a double-edged sword, and companies that aren’t able to convince and convert website visitors quickly are often left in the dust.
As one of the leading Internet marketing companies in the Chicago area, we here at Straight North have spent a lot of time examining the data we gather from our clients’ lead generation websites. After combing through more than 350,000 website conversions and drilling into the details of who converts, when they convert and why they convert, we’ve discovered something surprising — website conversions occur on the first visit to a site more than 80 percent of the time. Even more surprising was learning that the number of times a visitor returns to a site seems to have no positive effect on whether or not that visitor converts. Only about 11 percent of conversions happened on the second visit, about 3 percent on the third visit, and 2 percent on the fourth or fifth visit. For anyone interested in boosting conversions to an event website or any other type of Internet marketing campaign, the writing is on the wall.
That’s why it’s vital for businesses to optimize their websites to drive more conversions on that crucial first visit. One of the most important ways you can drive conversions is to have content that stimulates visitors to action — this means content that doesn’t assault the visitor with details, but makes an easy-to-scan case for them to reach out to you for more information. Visual elements also are important parts of the content, and maintaining a consistent color palette and visual style helps visitors feel more comfortable with the page. Hiring a professional photographer to provide imagery will go a long way toward maintaining a consistent style as well as helping to boost your page’s credibility.
Speaking of credibility, persuasive elements such as customer testimonials and logos of some of your more high-profile clients help your website’s visitors make the connection that you are a source to be trusted. When it comes to making your case with customers, focus on the concrete, tangible results — not fluffy promises — you’ve delivered for your customers. Save the emotional appeals for areas where a personal touch is more appropriate, such as your team’s bios, or a page highlighting your company’s charitable efforts or company events. All of these elements will help drive home the idea that your company is one that customers will want to do business with.
Content is powerful, but content alone won’t drive visitors to convert without a website design that makes converting as easy as possible. Navigating your site should be as intuitive as it can be — for example, by using familiar navigation labels that make it easy for visitors to identify where they want to go and find what they want to find. When it comes time for visitors to fill out a contact form, you want to make sure you’re not asking them for a lot of extraneous information that slows the process or discourages them from completing it. It’s also extremely important to make sure your site displays your phone number in a prominent location near the contact form and elsewhere, as many people still prefer to do business on the phone.
Additionally, every page and every element within your site need to be mobile-friendly. Many people peruse websites on their phones or other mobile devices, and likely will become impatient if they must turn to their desktops should a site be lagging or unresponsive on a smaller screen. Mobile-friendly design includes vertical scrolling, sticky navigation, and PDFs converted to HTML pages.
Building a successful lead generation page isn’t the final step. You need to continually test your website to ensure that everything is running smoothly. Even testing the basic functionality of your site should be a regular part of your site’s maintenance. Otherwise, there is potential to ruin conversions and drive visitors away from your site. However, be careful not to make too many tweaks at once, or else you can’t be sure which ones are driving more conversions and which are having no effect. Marketing on the Internet moves faster than you might think, so make sure your website is built for speed.
Brad Shorr is Director of Content Strategy for Straight North, which provides SEO and PPC services, and is a leader among Internet marketing companies. Shorr has more than 25 years of marketing, sales, and management experience, and has been featured on reputable sites including Forbes and Entrepreneur.