Build Your Site With Conversion In Mind
The success of any Web-based marketing effort depends on its ability to turn visitors into leads or buyers. And “the Web sites, landing pages and even banner ads that achieve the greatest conversion rates do more than enable visitors to locate and navigate to relevant content and achieve the goal that first prompted their visit,” writes Jeannette Kocsis, director of online marketing at Harte-Hanks Direct and author of The Conversion Point: Leveraging the Web to Convert Visitors into Customers, a whitepaper recently published by Harte-Hanks. The entire process should be concise, easy to follow and quick.
To this end, Kocsis recommends marketers and site developers keep the following key guidelines top of mind when constructing their sites, pages and banner ads.
Work backward. Determine what goals visitors are likely to have, how they will reach that goal, and “then work backward to make sure they are able to do so quickly,” suggests Kocsis.
Make it speedy. A typical Web site visitor spends only a few seconds determining the value of a Web page. “Therefore, if a form is unnecessarily long, or the page content is not quickly engaging, or the navigation is confusing, the likelihood of conversion drops significantly,” she writes.
Synchronize your media. Site content should be coordinated with all concurrent online and offline marketing campaigns. “Direct mail, radio print and TV advertising often drive visitors to the Web to look for a company or product, even if the campaign does not provide a Web address,” notes Kocsis.
Enable conversion from every page. Visitors that arrive at a site through a search engine may enter at any page. Because each page is a potential entry point, Kocsis recommends you include call-outs through your site that “lead clearly and directly to registration pages or campaigns.”
Inspect interactive features. “Flash media and other interactive applications still have high value, but only if they directly promote cost-effective conversion, and only if they are relevant to the visitor’s intention,” writes Kocsis. Calculators and scenario tools on financial sites are an example. Once visitors complete the calculator, she suggests the next step should be a clear link or call-out to the application process.