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The Importance of a Simple well organised Website

One of the primary implications of a well-organized / good website is to keep your visitors in the website. A website is definitely created for a purpose, unless intended for personal use, which is the minority. For example, a portfolio website would want to be visited and its content viewed. For companies and internet businesses, your website certainly aims to provide product information, to make sales, or somewhat similar. However, most individuals undoubtedly prefer visually captivating designs, so on and so forth. It is undeniable that this causes no harm, but one must put himself/herself in other people’s shoes, as to understand how a visitor to the website might think, do and react.

Navigation

A web designer has to learn how to think the way your visitors think for example of the following 2 scenarios:

Situation A: Website with good navigation (2-3 hyperlinks to target page), well planned in terms of placement, and design.

Situation B: Website with poor navigation (takes forever for the visitor to reach his/her target page), hard-to-read navigation fonts and poor placement of the navigation buttons/bar.

In Situation A, a visitor will always want to be able to access his/her target page. For example, the individual comes across your website, and is interested in the product sold, but wants to find more information. He/she finds the navigation with no trouble, and enters the particular product information page.

As for Situation B, a visitor stumbles into the website, and would also like to find out more information about the product. Unfortunately, due to bad placement and fanciful font-types, the visitor takes forever, or even fails to find the navigation bar. Even when he/she does so, links to the product information are nowhere to be found, (example : home > about > products > product image > etc.[a few more clicks] > product information ).

Analysis: In both situations, wouldn’t a website with characteristics similar to the Situation A be more rewarding ergo better?

How Does Your Website Make Me Feel?

This was a nice article I received in an email bulletin – this is an edited version as the original was a little long.

How Does Your Website Make Me Feel? By Philippa Gamse

When people think about the Internet, they think about technology – but the most intriguing aspect of your online business isn’t about the technology. It’s about human connections, and how you can create these in a virtual environment. It’s commonly understood that ‘people buy emotionally, not intellectually.’ Even when people think they’re making a rational decision, powerful subconscious factors come into play. To sell effectively, we’re told to anticipate our customers’ needs, to demonstrate that we ‘feel their pain’, and to respond to clues in their body language and tone of voice.

For the online visitor, your Website is the next best thing to that in-person conversation with you, your colleagues or employees. And since so many people are researching products and services on the Web, it’s critical that your site has maximum impact in persuading them to take the next step with you.

  • So how does your Website connect emotionally with your visitors?
  • Do they feel listened to, understood and appreciated by your Internet presence?
  • Are you instinctively meeting their real needs?
  • Do your existing customers feel supported and valued when interacting with you online?
  • Are you failing to evoke the crucial emotional responses which can significantly enhance your response rates, sales and ongoing return on your Web investment?

What are the key emotions that you need to evoke in your online visitors to create and sustain a profitable relationship with them. How well your Website does this can have a major effect on the visceral, instinctive reactions of your visitors, and their propensity to buy from or connect with you.

When we talk with customers or prospects, it’s important to show very quickly that we understand their issues and needs, and that we have ideas and solutions to address these. The most important task for your home page is to accomplish this initial introduction. You’ve heard the ‘ten-second’ rule about how long a visitor will stay on a site that doesn’t engage them.

  • So, does your home page really tell me what you do?
  • Does it speak to me in specific terms that make very clear what services you provide?
  • What type of customers or clients you work with?
  • Does it use language that I’ll understand even if I don’t know the jargon of your industry or specialization?

Yes sounds simple doesn’t it?

But there are astounding numbers of Websites that fail to provide basic information on the home page.

  • If your goal is to get the customer to visit your store, does your home page clearly show your location?
  • … and how to get there?
  • Every time you force the visitor to make a decision, such as ‘Do I click on the Contact Us page to find their address?’, you open up the possibility that they’ll make the wrong choice, or worse still, they’ll just leave.
  • Is it clear to me whether you can – or would want to – help me?
  • Are you geared towards corporate bulk buyers, or small businesses, or both?
  • Do you operate nationally or only in your immediate location?
  • Will your visitors know what you mean by generic terms such as ‘business systems’ or ‘total business solutions’ or should you be more specific as to what you offer?
  • Do I Feel Engaged as a website visitor?
  • Your Website has to make the visitor feel drawn in – that they want to know more about your business, your products and your services – but again, from the viewpoint of their needs and interests. And you have to give the visitor a clear sense that you want to find those points of connection, and to learn more about them. If the visitor doesn’t feel invited in, if they feel left to themselves to find their way around – if they’re overwhelmed, confused, or simply not interested in your site, they’ll leave.

Think about whether:

  • Your site present a bewildering array of manufacturers, products, or options without any guidance as to selecting from these?
  • Think about the conversation that you’d have with a customer if this were a real store.
  • If you were in a store and were looking for something you’d ask the store assistent – so how can you mirror this process online?
  • Do you have ‘Help Me’ pages that guides visitors through some Frequently Asked Questions or other choices?
  • Do you provide links to recommended products based on their answers.
  • You could incorporate an interactive chat facility with a customer service agent during office hours, or access to a searchable knowledge base.
  • Do your customers feel convinced by your website? Visitors seeing your business for the first time need to be comfortable that you are who you say you are, and that you can deliver what you promise.
  • Are you anonymous – one of the most important elements in establishing this part of the connection is to show the ‘faces’ of your business. Have you noticed how many Websites don’t name any of their owners, or the people that customers will interact with?
  • It’s much easier to have a conversation when I know who I’m talking to! Customer testimonials and other third-party endorsements are critical elements in establishing trust – they say far more about you than your own marketing statements. How many sites have we all seen that trumpet ‘nationally recognized’ or ‘premier provider…’? Prove it! Include client quotes and success stories right across your site where they’re front and center as visitors are engaged in your content. If you win an award, tell the visitor what that means for them in terms of how you were evaluated.
  • Do I feel motivated to take action? With and online visitor we need to persuade them to buy something, or to tell us who they are, and give us permission to reconnect with them. Too many Web pages tail off with no call to action or directions about where to go next.

So at every point on every page where the visitor might be thinking ‘Tell me more’, or ‘How do I get this?’, provide a clickable link to the next step, to your shopping cart, to your newsletter subscription page, or to whatever you want them to do. Don’t wait until the end of the page – they may never get there! Look for the emotional ‘tipping points’ on every page where they’re ready to talk more with you and grab them in the moment!

Diluting the Connection Of course, it’s all too easy to undo all the good feeling that we create by frustrating or annoying the visitor, or simply by giving them a dead end. One of my favorite bugbears is the site search engine that allows me to enter my query, and then tells me ‘No results found. Please try again with different search terms’. How is that supposed to make me feel? What was wrong with my keywords or my parameters if the search page allowed me to select them? Am I being stupid? Or do you really not want to help me? Your visitor is clearly looking for something, and has taken a step towards connecting with you. So how about a results page that lets them know that you can’t immediately answer their question, but offers a link to your contact form so that they can send a question, or some tips or suggestions on how to find more information.

So how ‘Emotionally Connected’ is your Website? I hope that I’ve sparked your curiosity enough to take a fresh look at your Website. Think about specifically why visitors are coming to your site, what might be on their minds, and review your copy and navigation accordingly. Think about new customers and existing ones, employees, media – everyone who might have a reason to visit. Are you doing everything that you can to create an ’emotionally connected’ experience for everyone? The right mix will gain you significantly higher time spent on your site, more calls from pre-qualified leads, more signed contracts, happier repeat customers, attention from new markets, offers of strategic alliances and collaborations, and insights into creating successful new products and services.

This article is an edited version of an original by: Philippa Gamse who is a professional speaker and web strategy expert who spends much of her time creating website strategies for her clients. To read her blog and free articles visit http://websitesthatwin.com for more information.

Build Your Business with Social Media Marketing by Terri Seymour of www.SeymourProducts.com

Build Your Business with Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is extremely important to your business and as this marketing method evolves, so must you and your business. Social media marketing is marketing through online communities, social networking sites, blogs, etc. If you are not already utilizing social sites for your business, you need to start NOW! Social networking enables business owners to get extreme exposure for very little or no cost. You can use social networking sites to build your reputation, brand your business and increase your customer base. The marketing potential of these sites is phenomenal! Now you can’t just register, make your profile and then never go back. You have to keep your information fresh, add new content, always be looking for new contacts, etc. Meeting new people, whether they be potential customers, business associates, or just people learning the ropes, can be very beneficial for your business and your reputation.

These sites allow you to make yourself much more accessible than just having your own site. Whenever possible, use your business name as your username to help make your business more recognized. Social marketing sites can also help you get more links thus increasing your search engine ranking. People who find your content and information helpful and useful will link back to you which will in turn cause your own website to become more popular. You can also use your social site pages to gather information and feedback from people on your products. This can help you improve your business and improve customer service.

By participating in social marketing you can find partners/associates for joint ventures. You can cross promote and build solid business relationships that can help everyone. By providing good and fresh information, resources and content, you can build trust with your visitors, associates, potential customers, etc., thus building your business a strong reputation. Building relationships is the foundation for a successful business. Adding pictures of yourself and/or videos can go a long way in making your social media marketing more effective.

The three main steps in social marketing:
1. Make Your Account
2. Always be adding new content, links, products, resources, etc.
3. Add friends, followers, contacts, etc. as much as possible.

This can be very confusing so start slow. Learn from other social marketers. Study social marketing strategies. Take it one step at a time. My three favorite social sites are: Twitter.com LinkedIn.com Facebook.com Come on over and see me sometime! 😉 Social marketing has made its mark and it is here to stay. You need to utilize these sites to make your mark as well.

About the Author:
Terri Seymour (also known as “The eBook Lady”) has over ten years online experience and has helped many people start their own business. Visit her site at http://www.seymourproducts.com for resources, $1 resell ebooks & software, free tutorials, affiliate programs, free ezine and free business ebook with Master Resell Rights.

Choosing the Right Domain Name for your Website

Web hosting Services and Domain names

Choosing an appropriate domain name is very important. First and foremost, when it comes to domain names, try to stay away from the silly, stupid, ridiculous or clever. Keep your domain name simple and make it something your customers can remember if they lose the link to your business website.

Take note that, while your domain name on Geocities or AOL may seem like the least expensive way to go, it may also get you dropped from certain search engines. Some search engines ignore domain addresses that reside on these ‘free servers’ or on the ‘cheap’ servers.

Even if your site is recognized and considered by search engines, a professional domain name that uses your primary company name or associated words is likely to get more attention and be considered as a stable business by your prospective customers.

Purchasing domain names are not that expensive which cost about $100 and there are many companies that can register the name for you, provided it is available and has not already been used by another company.

Using one of your keywords in your domain name can increase your score on some search engines. For example, solderingirons.com could be more effective as Electric-soldering-irons.com, if that domain name was available.

You might also choose to establish more than one domain name using keywords and then link your ‘doorway’ domain sites to your primary site. But you will have to pay for each of the domain name and also the monthly hosting fees. It all depends on the type and size of your business and your competition.

Keep in mind that some search engines disregard ‘doorway’ sites. So put at least a page of content on the doorway site with some useful information and then link it to your primary site. But don’t design it as an empty page. The other reason being, you can have one, three, five, or even more email addresses that all contain your business name, and give your business a professional feel. When customers get emails from dominicstone@solderingirons.com they feel as if they are dealing with a stable, professional business operation.

No need for customers to understand how you manage all your email boxes on your domain. They just need to feel your business is dependable and reputable.

12 Ways to Make Sure Your Internet Marketing Really Works by Neil Stafford

12 Ways to Make Sure Your Internet Marketing Really Works by Neil Stafford

Everyone loves the Internet, but not everyone is ready to buy. There can be a level of skepticism you may have to overcome and one way to do that is let them see your face. Use online video and you have an advantage over your competitors when dealing with customers.
Successful marketing is all about establishing a relationship; and that is so much easier when they can see and hear you. You may be very comfortable online, but some people are still skeptical about doing business with you over the Internet and you need to persuade them to trust you before they will buy from you.
These are my top 12 direct marketing principles you can use to make sure your Internet marketing really works for you:
1. History.
People want to know you are not going to disappear overnight so if you’ve been in business for any length of time then this will add credibility to you and your offers.
2. Statistics.
Use genuine statistics to give you more credibility by listing number of customers served, money saved, profits made, and so on.
3. Testimonials
I can’t overestimate the importance of these so get them from your Customers and Clients saying how you and/or your products have helped them. Get experts in your market to validate and endorse your products and services and if appropriate get celebrities who you either ‘rent’ for your marketing, feature at your events or use by association.
4. Demonstrations.
With the use of online video and ‘how To’ DVDs it is very ease to show a demonstration of your product both on and offline. You can even demo an ebook by printing it out and talking through what it contains live on screen. Camtasia is free software that lets you make a screen capture video where you can demonstrate your website talking though the sales letter or giving a demo of how easy it is to download your ebook. If you are in a market that isn’t really familiar with online buying this works really well.
What better proof that your product or service works than by showing an example of before and after. Many markets and products lend themselves to this treatment and it is very effective.
In our own business we use video to show how to confirm emails when signing up to our email lists, when demonstrating how to use our Membership site and examples of results in a number of our ebook markets.
5. Credentials.
What credentials do you have in your market? They don’t have to be academic, but can awards, accomplishments, membership to organisations that are relevant to your market. Both I and Neil Travers my business partner are CIPD qualified which is a training qualification we attained while working at the Bank.
This is ‘proof’ of our ability to run workshops that are designed to aid the learning and intake and retaining of information by attendees and gives us increased credibility in their eyes.
6. Publicity.
Reprints of articles about you in the press, or your articles being published in the media that lend weight to your credibility as the expert or authority in your market are highly valuable to you. Show your market that you are in demand, and have status as an expert.
7. Celebrity Spokesperson.
To be used with caution. It can be effective but can also backfire when the market remembers the celebrity and the advert, but not what it was advertising.
8. Guarantee.
If you can’t guarantee the product you’re selling then find something else to sell that you can guarantee. To really make your potential customers feel safe to buy from you you need to offer an ironclad guarantee.
9. Accessibility.
On your website have your full contact detail if possible as this will give a big boost to your potential customer confidence in you and your company. Using just an email contact is the worst and an email, phone and address the best.
Never give a PO Box as your address as it immediately makes people suspicious.
10. The Personal Touch.
Being visible in the business to your customers is a confidence booster for them. Make it personal so you are a real individual, anecdotes about you and your business, pictures and videos all make your customer more comfortable as if they have already met you.
11. Make A Damaging Admission.
No matter how good your product is it will have a disadvantage somewhere. Admit it up front and honestly comment on this fact.
Answer Questions and objections up front and when a customer asks them via email or the phone. People can call our office throughout the week and email at any time with questions and that makes them feel safe to buy from us.
12. Excess.
Use a combination of as many of the examples above in your marketing! What may seem like overkill to you may not be enough to overcome some people’s skepticism!
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