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Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Your Website Has Just 8 Seconds

Researchers have found that when people arrive at a website, at least 50% of them will leave that website within 8 seconds.

Who says ?

We know this because it’s worth a lot of money to huge corporations to know how people use the internet. They want to know what people like and dislike, and what they do and don’t do. These huge corporations have spent millions on research so that they can figure all this out.

All of this information is in the public domain and we can access it. The best bit is that the information these corporations have funded is just as valid for knowing how your website visitors behave.

So again

To repeat, researchers have found that when people arrive at a website, on average 50% of them will leave that website within 8 seconds.

In other words, if your website doesn’t do something WITHIN 8 SECONDS to keep them there, at least 50% of them will leave. For you it could even be 60% or 80%.

There was an old metaphor doing the rounds when the web first started, and sadly it’s how a lot of businesses still view their websites. “The internet is like a huge gigantic shopping centre and your website is a shop. Everybody gets to come and browse your shop”.
It’s more accurate if we imagine that the people in this mall are walking at 60mph and they are looking for something very specific, and they only have 15 minutes to find it. They are only ever going to go into the places that obviously provide those services or goods, and if the shop looks as though it doesn’t, or they wouldn’t feel comfortable in that shop, they aren’t stopping, let alone coming inside.

Think about how you use the web. You SURF THE WEB. Think about the phrase ‘surf the web’. It means you go from one site to the next, to the next, to the next. You do it because you can, and you don’t stop until something interests you or catches your eye. You now know that even when you do stop, there is a 50% chance you will probably leave in 8 seconds if it doesn’t quickly become apparent that it has what you’re looking for.
That’s the challenge you and I face.
WE HAVE TO GET VISITORS TO STOP SURFING AND INTERACT WITH US
How do we do this? Here are three ways

Use Headlines

Look at your own website. If you don’t have a headline in the form of words, then your ‘headline’ is whatever your visitor first sees when they arrive at your page. It might be a logo, a graphic, a picture or a piece of blank screen, or worse a lame piece of text like ‘Welcome’, or ‘We have been in existence since 1982’. Be honest with yourself and ask, would this stop ME surfing ? If you have nothing to grab the visitor’s attention, then they’ll be gone.
Remember that the headline is the first thing that’s going to grab me, and interest me; and it needs to be strong enough to stop me surfing.
Just making this one small change will make a big difference for you. If you are using a headline on your brochures or any other advertising and it works, then use it on your website.
This is a fantastic article on writing compelling headlines, with some great examples.

Use ‘The Fold’

Make sure that your compelling headline and content appears above ‘the fold’ of your website.
‘The Fold’ is a newspaper phrase. Imagine you are reading a large newspaper, and you have to fold it in half to read the top half before turning over to read underneath.
The equivalent on your website is what people see before they have to scroll down the page to read the rest.
So, going back to your website, what do you see before you have to scroll down? This plays directly by the 8 second rule.  If you haven’t given the visitor sufficient reason to stop surfing, they probably won’t even scroll down.
Your visitor is not going to be staying if above the fold you are announcing your new CEO or the fact you just won an industry award or a long winded introduction or history of your company.
Why is that ?

Walk  in Your Visitor’s Shoes

Put yourself in the shoes of your potential client. They have found you on the web because they have specifically looked for you, and Google has considered your site relevant to what they are looking for.
What are they interested in ? What concerns them ? What problem do they have that they want someone to solve ?
As a business owner, you are of course close to your business. You know it inside out. The temptation then is to write about your business on your homepage, and that can be a big mistake.
The truth is people don’t CARE about your business
Don’t take it personally. I’m sure they are all very nice people , and so are you; but that’s not what they are there for.
They are there because it’s likely that you have something they need.  In short they have a selfish self-interest and it needs meeting.
If you can meet that self-interest by talking directly to them about how to solve their problem and challenges, you will have a chance of stopping them surfing.

Challenge

Go to your website as if you were a first time visitor. Be tough on yourself and ask yourself if you are really captivating your visitors in those first 8 seconds in a way that stops them surfing.


HW Marketing UK are the Affordable Website Design Company of choice for Small or Startup Businesses in the area. Easily understandable pricing packages start at £250. 

Thursday, 17 March 2011

HW Marketing UK Wins 2010 Email Campaign Award

HW Marketing UK has received the 2010 All Star Award from Constant Contact®, Inc., the trusted marketing advisor to more than 400,000 small organizations worldwide.  HW Marketing UK is one of Constant Contact’s 2010 top performers and most prolific user of its tools, whether within Constant Contact’s email marketing, event marketing, social media marketing, or survey products – or a combination of all four.

Proprietor Neil Holley-Williams, said “We’re happy to be recognized by Constant Contact for our use of Email marketing to form relationships with our customer base. Constant Contact’s tools have helped us ring fence and build the loyalty of our customers.  We will soon offer UK franchises the opportunity to do the same with their franchisees by using email campaigns through our partnership with Constant Contact, and we offer the same service to any SME’s that realise a personal relationship with their customers is important to growth

Constant Contact looked at criteria including the following when selecting this year’s All Stars:

  • ·      Frequency of campaigns, events and surveys
  • ·      Open, and click through rates
  • ·      Usage of social features
  • ·      Mailing list sign up tools
  • ·      Use of reporting tools
“We work hard to listen to our customers, and we use that feedback to create products and services designed to help them better engage with their customers and prospects,” said Gail Goodman, chairman, president and CEO of Constant Contact. “The Constant Contact All Star Awards are our way of recognizing our customers that have successfully used Constant Contact to market their companies. We have some of the most committed, passionate customers out there and we’re proud we can be a part of their continued success.”


About Constant Contact, Inc.
Constant Contact is revolutionizing the success formula for small organizations through affordable, easy-to-use Engagement Marketing™ tools that help create and grow customer relationships.  More than 400,000 small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and member associations worldwide rely on Constant Contact as their engagement hub for starting and driving ongoing customer dialogs through email marketing, social media marketing, event marketing, and online surveys.  




HW Marketing UK are the Affordable Website Design and Marketing Company of choice for Small or Startup Businesses in the area. Easily understandable web pricing packages start at £250 and email campaigns at £100

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Two Ways To Move Your Website Up

I can’t stress how important links from other relevant websites are to your website’s standing with Google.
Every link  from another place on the web is seen as an independent ‘vote’ for your website.
The more votes you get, the more Google likes you.
Here are TWO very simple ways to get valuable links to your website.
1.     
  JOIN GOOGLE PLACES
In April 2010, the world of local business changed.

That's when Google made  'Local' intentions clear with the release of 'Google Places'. Google Places is where you can enter the details of your business and help to hardwire your website to Google, and gain a few brownie points from them (that's a 'good' thing)

With Google Places you will also have a better chance of showing up in the Search Results Pages when a searcher is looking for a specific service or product in a specific area, and you will also start to appear in Google Maps which will show your business as a 'pin' on a local map

50 million businesses have created their Google Places profiles. If you haven’t yet, you're behind.

Head over there (link below) and add your business, and make sure you complete all the sections to get a profile completion percentage of 100%.  Yes I know it's a pain, but Google will favour those with 100%.

If you service areas outside of your immediate business address, make sure you list those too.

You'll need a Google account. If you don't have a Google account yet, then sign up for one. Follow this link, it’s FREE.

CLAIM YOUR GOOGLE PLACE

If you need any help with this, give me a call. I don't charge for chatting.

2.       JOIN AS MANY FREE DIRECTORIES AS YOU CAN
Go right now to Google and search for ‘Local Free Directories’.  Instantly you’ll see approximately 40 to 100 places you can register your business for FREE. Each one will probably ask you to add your websites address to your business listing, and THAT is a link back to your website.

Now, some of these directories MAY call you up and attempt to sell you premium advertising space, but you don’t have to buy at all of course.
If you have any questions please feel free to e-mail me  at

As I said, you can do all of this yourself just by sitting down for a few hours and plugging away at it. If you don’t have the time or inclination, but you still want to build links this way, you can contact us. We'll arrange a short consultation  with you and put together a plan to build links to your website while you get on with running your business.





HW Marketing UK are the Affordable Website Design Company of choice for Small or Startup Businesses in the area. Easily understandable pricing packages start at £250. 

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Not Using A Web Professional Can Hurt Your Business

Due to the layman’s impression of the web, many small business owners decide to undertake the responsibility of, or to get someone they know, to create a website for their business.

On the surface, this approach makes sense to most business owners: Why hire professionals for between £250 to £1000 or even more when you could read some tutorials yourself or use an online template? Your Brother’s lad is also pretty good with techie stuff, so give the job to him; or a friend who’s in IT. Why not ? Building a website is easy. No it’s not. Done through ignorance, it’s a car without an engine.

While advocating the Do-It-Yourself approach to your business website seems like an efficient way to minimize cost and maximize revenue, poorly designed websites actually cost your company much more than professionally designed websites.

One of the most damaging myths, and one that will cost a small business lost revenue, is that it doesn’t matter who builds the website, as long as one gets built, and it sits on the web. I’ve met small businesses who have been really smug about it too. “No thanks, what would we need you for, we can fix it ourselves”. Might as well fix your own car instead of using a mechanic or turn the gas board away when there’s a leak outside your house.
Your business can have the prettiest, most stunning website on the web; but if it doesn’t get visitors, or if it does, but doesn’t convey the right image in less than 8 seconds or get the visitor to take action, it’s worth exactly zilch to your business, and you might as well not have the website at all.
Website designers are professionals. Building a website is like building a house. You need the skills of an architect, an electrician, a plumber, a carpenter, a heating engineer, a roofer, a builder, a decorator, a plaster, a tiler, etc, etc ,etc.
You can build a house with just a builder and a roofer, but when the fantastic outside shell is up, looking great; it’s actually a completely useless house. No heating , no plumbing, no electricity, no inside walls finished off, etc, etc, etc
It’s not about just throwing up a superficial entity that looks good. Your website is an intrinsic part of your business and needs serious thought because it actually has to work for your business.
An analogy might be to design a billboard advert for sand, and then place it in the Sahara Desert. Wrong place, wrong target, no business
Also, one of the easiest ways to lose a potential customer is a mediocre website. What does it actually mean to lose a potential customer?
If you fail to grab the interest and trust of a potential customer, they will not think about exchanging their hard-earned money or call you to ask about your goods or services. If your website continually turns people off your product, the amount of initial sales lost will begin to accumulate. Good websites convert visitors into contacts and customers, not just because they look good, but because they carry the right message to the right people in the right way. Mediocre websites simply cause the visitor to hit the back button and never return.
Professional designers understand the form and function of the web and can implement visual, copywriting and other marketing strategies to increase conversions/sales. A website that fails to convert traffic into eventual sales serves no purpose.
If a potential customer has a problem they need solved, they are going to pay someone to solve it. Your website is your first impression, and if the impression is unimpressive or uninspiring, and you fail to show how you will solve that problem, in less than 8 seconds, potential customers will take their money elsewhere.
Every business action taken has a cost. Simply stated, each moment you spend doing something could be spent doing something else. If you are a baker, you should spend your time baking. If you are a painter, you should spend your time painting. If you are an accountant, you should spend your time accounting. These painstakingly obvious truths stem from the economic idea of comparative advantage, or the idea that better products and services are created when individuals focus on their strong points. The web design process requires a considerable amount of time to execute correctly. Extensive testing, brainstorming, design, and development goes into the creation of effective websites. An accountant who makes a website, in most cases, simply becomes an accountant behind schedule with only an ineffective website to show for that lost time. When you or anybody else undertakes the creation of a website without extensive experience, your business suffers.

Sub-par websites, ranging from do-it-yourself projects to premium templates, all have one major similarity: their inability to fully capture the image of a business. One of the 5 Principles of Web Marketing is knowing your customers and catering to their wants. A member of an exclusive country club wants to feel exclusive when he visits a website. A young child wants to feel happy when they visit Nick Jr. online with their parents. A young adult wants to feel cool and relaxed when on Facebook. All these sites give their respective target audiences exactly what they want and expect. Crafting a design that encompasses the wants and expectations of your target audience takes immense skill, research, and experience. When customer expectations are satisfied, customer trust grows, leading to sales. However, when customer expectations are not met and that critical element of trust crumbles, customers become confused.

Once a customer is confused and unable to render the business image in their minds and feel comfortable with it, they will take their business elsewhere.

professional web design company can create a beautiful, functional website that lasts as long as you need it to. You may think you can’t afford a professional website. The truth is you can’t afford NOT to have a professional website. Settling for a mediocre website only hurts your business in the end.

I am so passionate about this that if I fail to persuade a prospect that they need my services to grow their business, I actually feel as though I have let THEM down.

HW Marketing UK are the Affordable Website Design Company of choice for Small or Startup Businesses in the area. Easily understandable pricing packages start at £250. 

Monday, 7 March 2011


There are only 3 ways to grow your business
  • 1.       Increase your customer base
  • 2.       Increase the value of each transaction
  • 3.       Increase the frequency with which your customers buy from you

Most businesses think that doubling your turnover means having to double your customer numbers, but if you take each one of the 3 ways above, and start to apply some numbers; you get very interesting results.
What these results mean is that you can concentrate on smaller targets in each of the areas above, or even use a phased approach, improving one area after the other, to increase your turnover much more than you thought easily possible.

Let’s take a hypothetical business.  So you have a business, and in that business, let’s say you have 500 customers, and each of those customers spends an average of £10 per transaction and they buy from you at a frequency of let’s say 10 times a year, or week, or 2 years. The time frame really doesn’t matter.
500 x £10 x 10 = £50,000.
Let’s see what happens if we increase our customer base by just 10%, the value of each transaction by just 10% and the frequency by which those people buy, by just 10%.
550 x £11 x 11 = £66,550
That’s an increase of 33.1% and all you have done is make small improvements in the three main areas of growing your business

Here is one EASY way to ‘Increase the frequency with which your customers buy from you’, and one EASY way to ‘Increase the value of each transaction’

1.       Call your 10 best customers
Pick up the phone and call 10, or 20 or more of your best customers (or prospects if you haven’t got that many customers yet); and simply ask them WHAT THEY NEED. Just chat, don’t sell, just ask questions. You will probably make some more immediate sales, but from the answers you get, you may get some great clues as to how to expand your product and services base. Then when you’ve found out how to source the product or service; you have a willing qualified lead ready to make a purchase. Many businesses will have a customer base in which maybe only 20% of that customer base provides 80% of the income. Don’t neglect these customers. Go out and meet them, and do the same, just ask questions, find out what they want. Most businesses will neglect these customers or not give them the attention they deserve, but it doesn’t cost anything except TIME to move your focus to maintaining and building these relationships. It may not seem like marketing, but marketing is not ALL about getting new customers; it’s about keeping the relationship with your existing customers so that they return to you to buy every time.

2.UPSELL
This means selling something else to customers at the moment that they buy from you. You’ve probably experienced this if you’ve ever been asked to ‘go large’ at a fast food outlet, or in the convenience store where items are labeled ‘Three for the price of two’. Those are both examples of upsell. The reason why a business or a retailer will try to ‘increase the value of your transaction’ by ‘upselling’, is that they realize that it may have cost them quite a lot to get you to the point of buying, and at that point of purchase, it will cost them NOTHING to try to sell you something else. This is known as a ‘pure profit sale’; because the costs are borne by the first sale, the upsell is ‘pure profit’. If just 20% of your customers allow you to upsell, that’s an additional pot of cash that you have brought into the business for absolutely NO MARKETING COST.

So what in your business, at the point of selling; could you also offer as additional real value to that customer? If the answer is nothing, you might want to create something that would add value to a sale, or team up with someone who does have something, and then take a percentage by prior agreement. You could create levels of products whereby someone who wants a service or product is upsold the ‘gold’ version which has more value.
Here are some examples of upsell in various markets
·         suggesting a premium brand of alcohol when a brand is not specified by a customer (such as if a customer simply requests a "rum and coke").
·         selling an extended service contract for an appliance
·         suggesting a customer purchase more RAM or a larger hard drive when servicing his or her computer
·         selling luxury finishing on a vehicle
·         suggesting a brand of watch that the customer hasn't previously heard of as an alternative to the one being considered.
·         suggesting a customer purchase a more extensive car wash package.
·         Asking the customer to supersize a meal at a fast food restaurant.

5 Easy Ways to Upsell Your Products and Services

1) If you sell products, put an ad or coupon for a related product or an upgrade in the box.
2) Send new clients a thank you card with a promotion for one of your other services.
3) Put a sign up in your shop or office announcing a new offering or special deal. Just make sure it doesn’t get lost in the clutter, and train your staff to point it out.
4) Send targeted follow-up emails to customers offering them a related product or service (you can do this automatically with a good email autoresponder , we’ll cover this another time)).
5) On your Website, offer an added discount for buying two products or services together.  Amazon does a great job of this by always offering a second book on the same subject below your main selection.

Remember, upselling is really just a matter of offering something else your customer is likely to want, based on what they’re buying now. Simple as that. 

You’re doing your clients and customers a HUGE disservice if you don’t tell them you have something else they may want or need. And you’re leaving money on the table in your own business.


HW Marketing UK are the Affordable Website Design Company of choice for Small or Startup Businesses in the area. Easily understandable pricing packages start at £250. 

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

How To Find Out Who Links To Your Website

I can’t stress how important links from other relevant websites are to your website’s standing with Google.
Every link  from another website (or any web presence for that matter, Facebook, Twitter You Tube etc etc; but that’s another kettle of fish, let’s stay with websites) is seen as an independent ‘vote’ for your website.

The more votes you get, the more Google likes you. Simple. Not quite. Google also cares where these ‘votes’ are coming from. If you have a friend that is a Plumber and you link to him from your High End Audio Visual Retailers; Google is not stupid, and it’s not only going to ignore it as irrelevant; BUT, it may even knock a teensy weensy bit off your ranking.

Also, don’t use Automatic Link Building Farms. Google knows if you have used one. They can smell it a mile off; and they will DEFINITELY mark you down for that one. If it was that easy, we’d all have pages and pages of website links and no useful information or content; and it’s the sites with useful information and content AND ‘votes’ for that information and content that gets Google excited.

So how many links from other websites do you have ?
To find out go to www.google.co.uk to get Google’s Homepage.

In the search bar type
Links:{your site}
So for example for my own HW Marketing site, I would type
Links:www.hwmarketing.co.uk
Don’t forget the colon after ‘links’.
If the site has any links at all, you will get results that display each of the site pages that link to you.

If your results return something similar, then you can see immediately what sites, and how many, link to your site.

If you have very few links, then look out for next weeks blog which will show you how to get a whole bunch of relevant votes for your website and nudge you ahead of the competition.

Here is one HOT tip on linking that can put you just that little bit further ahead.
You see, although Google likes links to your site it’s not all that keen, well I say not all that keen; consensus is that you get a lower score, marginally for Reciprocal links. What I mean by that is that for example is that if you have a website that is say a Hairdressers and your business friend the Tanning Booth Shop links to your site; from what I’ve said, that’s a good relevant vote for your site, but the catch is that your friend is going to want you to link back in return. Ok . Now you’ve both got relevant votes from each other. That’s a good thing right? I just said so earlier on.  Yes it is. But Google knows that it is likely this is an arranged ‘vote’ and marks it ever so ever so slightly lower than if the link is not reciprocated. That’s because it knows that the vote is likely not an ‘independent vote’.
To swing the ever so ever so slight marking the other way you could set up an incoming link  arrangement. This requires at least three participants.
Your hairdresser links to the tanning booth, the tanning booth to a local nail parlour, the nail parlour to the café next door, the café next door to a fashion boutique and they to you.
No reciprocal links, everybody has an independent vote, and there’s a basis for relevance all the way through.


HW Marketing UK are the Affordable Website Design Company of choice for Small or Startup Businesses in the area. Easily understandable pricing packages start at £250.