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July 2011
Power-Up the Performance of Your Website
By Kip Cozart

     The performance of your website can make or break your bottom line, especially in this challenging business climate. A well-designed website can help supercharge lagging sales, increase customer loyalty, expand resell and upsell activity, gather new intelligence about buying trends and sales opportunities, capture qualified prospects and leads for future promotional campaigns, facilitate immediate sales transactions, and more. Here are a few simple, but effective ideas that will help you strengthen the performance of your website overnight. Think “Power Boosters.”

 

What’s in it for me?… Let’s face it, very little happens until someone chooses to actually interact with your website. To encourage more visitors to engage with you online during their visit, give them a good reason to do so. Remember that we are representing our products and services while working within a predominantly “me-centric” customer sales environment. So, make certain to present a clear and compelling benefit to your prospects to encourage them to engage with you.

     For instance, when inviting prospects to register for your email newsletter or upcoming webinar, post a link directly beside the sign-up form that says, “How Does This Benefit Me?” With a click of the link, you can explain the customer value advantages that are associated with the encouraged activity. On another front, when composing “page description tags” to improve search engine recognition, make sure to include a clear customer benefit statement within the phrasing of the description itself. A benefit-driven description in Google, Yahoo! and Bing will also motivate more visitors to click over to your website in the first place.

 

Make it quick and simple… To increase online interaction, make it very convenient and easy for your customers to act. Reduce the number of clicks and keystrokes that are needed to present your case and only exchange the information that is specifically necessary to accomplish your goals. This will help to avoid “click fatigue,” which leads visitors to simply abandon the website if compelling interactive content is not discovered almost immediately.

     Consider replacing a lengthy traditional “contact form” with a miniature version of the form that is positioned consistently on the right-hand sidebar of each page of your website. Only ask the visitor to enter two or three initial fields of information (such as their name, email address and/or phone number). Keep in mind that the customer’s company name is normally already associated with the email address, so there’s no need to key this additional information in. You can collect additional information that you might need during your follow-up conversation with the prospect. And for an additional shortcut, add programming to each version of the form which will identify the specific page that the customer was viewing when the decision was made to contact you.

 

Speed up the message… Everyone’s time is limited, so get right to the point. Succinctly convey the most unique and appealing benefits of your product and then point the customer directly towards a single desired conversion path. Deliver information in a bullet point format that can be read at a glance. Structure your online content, so that you limit information to one main thought per page, so that visitors will not have to sift through several different themes all at once to find what interests them most. Consider embedding short supplemental text summaries within drop-down navigation tabs, which expand and collapse with mouse-over triggers, in order to deliver helpful supplemental information to your visitors more quickly.

     You can also convey information more quickly by adding well-conceived graphic images and other visual cues to your text content. Consider presenting a sequence of photos and captions that dramatically tell your story through the strategic use of an animated slideshow application that is embedded onto the page. Online slideshows add instant and memorable visual impact that can also drive higher conversion responses.

     Content contributed by CC Communications, a Web design, programming and Internet media company providing a full array of services to businesses and organizations to enhance and produce effective Web, email, multimedia marketing initiatives and business process improvements. For more information, contact Kip Cozart at 704-543-1171 or visit www.cccommunications.com/resources_articles.cfm.

Kip Cozart is CEO of CC Communications, a Web design, programming and Internet media company.
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