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Your Website Is Important… But Not For The Reason You Think

Your website is important. Now there’s a digital marketing nugget you might want to print out and keep close by.

But I want to offer an alternative, and frankly more crucial, reason than the usual guff about using your site as a main customer acquisition tool.

Sure. It can be. It probably should be. But it’s so much more than that.

Let’s play a game.

I want you to take a look at all facets of your marketing campaign. I mean the lot; social media, TV, print, direct mail, email, radio, programmatic, SEO, PR, affiliate, etc…

Now look at your call to action.

Unless you’re in FMCG, I’m willing to stake the $1.30 in my pocket that ALL of your call to actions include a path to or through a digital hub.

 
Ikea pushes it’s digital hub

In fact, could it be argued that the thing you’re really advertising is not your product at all, but your website? Maybe.

It could certainly be argued that the vast majority of your marketing efforts are designed to get your customers only 50% of the way — the rest is up to your site.

Yet, we spend far more energy AND MONEY on marketing, PR and advertising than we do on our site. Why? There’s no point in acquiring interest if we can’t convert.

The Solution

Well, the first thing is to admit that you criminally undervalue your website. The next is to pledge that you’re willing to put in the extra effort needed to turn it into a conversion machine.

Done? Good.

We start by gaining a deep understanding of your customer journeys. How might they land on your site in the first place? Was it from a radio ad? Organic search? An email?

Each method of acquisition comes with it’s own built-in limitations and it’s useful to understand these before you decide on your content. A print ad needs to be eye catching and the web address clear. A radio piece has to draw on the emotions of the listener to avoid being white noise. An email probably won’t be ‘read’, it’ll be ‘looked at’. And so on.

When your content is built, you then need to work on ease of passage between the marketing channel and your site. What is the best entry point? Nine times out of ten this probably won’t be your home page. If we are looking to control the customer journey, we want the first message on our site to be fully cohesive with the last message from your marketing channel. The home page is merely a catch all — a summary and a jumping off point for people with no context.

This is why landing pages are crucial.

Good landing page design does one thing… it compels a further action. This might not necessarily mean an immediate sale or sign up (though it could). Instead it might be a push toward more information on topics or themes on which they have an interest — based on the content from your marketing channels.

 
Tumblr’s near-perfect landing page — simple and a clear call to action

Starting to see how this all fits in?

Okay, you’ve controlled the entire journey — from ad to site to action. Job done, right?

Wrong.

The final step is to remove as much friction from your buying process as possible and this is the part where many digital marketers taper off.

Let me illustrate the importance of this part of the customer journey by invoking Amazon’s ‘$300 million button’.

Many of you will know this story, especially those in the online retail space, but it’s worth recapping as it is still the best example of how small, seemingly insignificant changes that remove friction from the buying process can reap big rewards.

So the story goes like this… Amazon was user testing it’s checkout process, which was already used as a best practice example in the industry. However, in the true UX spirit of testing testing testing, they decided to try out a new button that would allow someone to make a purchase without being made to ‘register’ first.

And so the ‘Guest’ button was born.

Within one month sales had increased by $15 million and by the end of the first year that number was $300 million.

All from one button.*

 
Removing friction from your website can make a big difference

The conclusion is this… give your website the attention it deserves. It is your heartbeat, your palace, your baby. Treat it well and it will repay you many times over…

If you want to read more about the $300 million dollar button, I would highly recommend this piece.

Agree? Disagree? Don’t care? I want to learn from you. Let me know how your website works best for you… leave a comment.

Adam Woods

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