Category Archives: GoDaddy Blog

Posts by Sam DeBord on the GoDaddy Garage Blog

The art of simplicity in online sales

This article was originally published on the GoDaddy Blog:

If you’re an entrepreneur, you probably have a bit of sales in your personality. You believe in what you do and have a real desire to tell people everything about it.

That’s a problem online. People have a finite attention span in general; it’s even shorter on the web. Marketing pitches fill up our inboxes. Ads and videos crowd out our social media feeds. Search engine results are wrapped in spammy sponsored websites. The tentacles of marketing are grasping at our eyeballs from every corner of our screens.

Whether you’re selling luxury real estate or ugly Christmas sweaters, your ability to garner a consumer’s attention and hold it long enough to convince them to take action is crucial.

The timeframe within which they will click the “Delete,” “Spam” or “Back” button is short, and your communication to potential customers should always be focused on that sense of time.

Email marketing: Keep it short

Have you ever read an email from a retail store that explained, in-depth, what kinds of products they were selling, where they were made, and all of the reasons why you should buy them? Of course you haven’t. You either clicked on the big button that said “Get 20% Off” or deleted the email after the second sentence.

The shorter your email message is, the more likely it will be read. If your message is simple enough that a consumer can’t help but reach the decision point, you’ve written it correctly. Allowing them to trail off during a long diatribe about your company’s greatness is letting them off the hook.

Ask them to take action and make a decision, and don’t let them avoid that decision.

Personal experience has driven this message home for our company. We used to thank consumers for signing up with us and explain all of the benefits of our website and our services … blah, blah, blah. The subject line of the email was about 10 words; the body was about three paragraphs; and literally no one ever responded.

As we honed our messages over time, they always became shorter and the response rates kept rising. Today, the subject line of the first email to our new customers has just two words. The body consists of a single sentence (a question). The signature is merely a first name. Ten to 20 percent of recipients actually email us back with personal information and the beginning of a conversation. That might sound small, but considering business email open rates are about 15 percent and of those, only one out of four click-through or act on those emails, our conversion rates are probably four times higher than average. It has had a significant impact on our long-term sales.

Website marketing: Be bold

I’ve written before about converting traffic with a simple website pitch, but it really needs to be at the forefront of everything you’re doing online. Decide what it is you want the user to do, and then don’t let them avoid that decision. Maybe they’ll buy your product or contact you. Maybe they won’t — but if you make sure that they know you’ve asked, you’re on the right track.

Make your sales pitch big, bold, front and center.

You’ve got lots of great information about yourself, your company, and your product. Those things can always be available through menu options and supporting content somewhere down the page, but if a consumer is landing on your website looking for your product or service, smack them in the face with the option to purchase it immediately.

Your pitch doesn’t have to be gaudy or cheesy; it just needs to be so obvious to the eye that the consumer can’t avoid making the decision to take action on it or not. Keep it simple. Tell them exactly what it is, why they want it, and how to get it in as few words as possible. Use active wording. Save your diatribe about your company supporting orphan Dutch dogs with sustainable wooden shoes for the content below the fold.

If the customer lands on the website and already knows what they want to buy, don’t get in their way.

Social media marketing: Curb the chatter

It’s getting difficult and expensive to attract business through social media advertising. With that in mind, creating succinct messages that convert engagement is crucial to your ROI.

Forget what you want to say. Think about what you need to say so that someone will comment, share or click.

Facebook posts with less than 80 characters get 66 percent more engagement than longer posts. People don’t want to read a novel on Facebook; they want to interact. Twitter may allow 140 characters, but you’ll get more retweets if you stay closer to 100. That includes links and hashtags, so your message should really be 10 words or less. On Google+, your best bet is just 60 characters.

Social media advertising is a great exercise in minimalist marketing pitches, and the more you practice it, the better you’ll become.

Corral the ego and pitch with precision

Salespeople, you’ve got to stop talking so much. That’s a hard thing for all of us to do. Selling online requires it, though. You don’t sell more because you’ve said more — it’s usually just the opposite. Take the time to craft your words wisely, and simplify them wherever possible. Build out your company profile and complex sales pitch, and then put them where they belong — as support material for those doing in-depth research. For the average consumer, the more obvious and concise you make their options, the more likely they are to take action — and that conversion is where your bottom line lives or dies.

Sam DeBord is managing broker of Seattle Homes Group with Coldwell Banker Danforth, a real estate writer, and former technology consultant. You can find his team at SeattleHome.comand SeattleCondo.com.

Convert your website traffic into business leads

This article was originally published on the GoDaddy Blog:

Getting enough user traffic to your website is the first key to having a successful online business. There are countless guides, SEO tips, and pay-per-click strategies to build your website’s traffic. What most businesses lack once they gain that traffic, however, is a strategy to convert a significant percentage of their traffic to actual contacts. One thousand daily visitors is a nice ego builder for a small business, but if only one of those visitors ever contacts you, there’s something missing in the layout or functionality of your website.

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Image by Kat Northern Lights Man via Compfight cc

Our real estate business spent years sitting on our laurels as thousands of buyers strolled through our listings every day and we snagged a few lucky clients every month, not understanding that there was so much more business available.

Through some on-page optimization, calls-to-action, and proactive registration requests, we’ve grown our contacts and leads to 10 times what they originally were, with virtually the same traffic.

Here are five concrete ways you can focus your website’s layout and functionality to squeeze those extra contacts and leads out of your current traffic:

Ask for the digits.

You didn’t forget that you were in sales, did you? We often get caught up in delivering the best content, being knowledge consultants, and providing experiences. The No. 1 way any salesperson gets sales, though, is asking for them. Try a forced/nag registration function that pops up regularly asking the user to sign up. Don’t be afraid of scaring some of your traffic away — most of your visitors are already leaving without contacting you. Make your contact form prominent, and make sure your phone number is displayed on all pages.

In this age of the supposedly jaded Internet user, more than half of our sign-ups not only give us their email address, they give us a real phone number. All we have to do is ask.

Don’t ask for too much.

There’s a caveat to every silver bullet. That contact form you’re foisting on your visitors has to look like it will take less than 10 seconds to fill out. What do you really need from that person, and what will they reasonably take the time to type into it? Are you asking for their home address? If it’s not immediately important for you to be able to snail mail something to them, skip it. You can get it later. Is there a need for an explanation of their situation in a comment form? If so, fine, but if you can simply get their contact info and call back, more visitors will end up submitting the form.

The goal is not to find out everything about a visitor in the first take; it’s to find out just enough about as many visitors as possible to build your database.

Your calls to action need active wording.

“Submit” is the kiss of death for a button’s conversion rate. When you have the opportunity to present something of value to your potential customers, make it sound like it’s going to be worth their while. “Sign Up!” “Get Your Report Now!” “Start Learning!” Let your users know that they’re getting something, not just submitting a report.

In our case, we can approach a real estate buyer in two ways:

“Register for an account. You must be signed in to see the listing details.”

or

“Sign up for an account and get emailed when we find more properties that suit your tastes! We’ll notify you daily of new listings and price changes.”

You see what we did there? Not only did the account sound like an offer of value, we just got them to opt-in to an email drip campaign at the same time as registering.

Keep their eyes on the CTA.

Simply adding calls to action on your website might drive some contacts, but putting them in the right place with the right look will significantly increase their conversion rates. You should tweak page position, color and size to attract the user’s eyes back to your CTA whenever possible. Humans are animals. As smart as we’d like to think we are, there are basic things that our brains lead us to whether we like it or not.

Embedding an image in the top-right of your article or post will cause users to read further into your content because the text flow looks easier to follow.

If you want to get your visitors through a particular pitch, shaping your content to visually flow toward a CTA will increase the likelihood that they make it that far. When we reach the end of an article, we naturally want to be told how to capitalize on that knowledge. If you’re not telling your users what the next step is with a call to action at the end of every piece of content on your website, you’re not capitalizing on that natural moment where users are open to suggestion. Make it bold, make it sound valuable, and make it clear what the user will receive.

Simplify, focus, and streamline the sales pitch.

Don’t let your web content get so full of colorful content distractions that they confuse the eye of the customer. We can get caught up in all of the wonderful things we have to offer, but confusing our customers will equal fewer contacts and sales.

Simplify the user’s choices.

If they really want a complex set of options, they’ll find their way to it, but most people become overloaded when they’re offered too many alternatives. What do you really want that user to do most? Figure it out, and strip out the other shiny objects that might direct them away from it.

At the end of the day, your No. 1 goal is to find out who your website visitors are. They might buy today, tomorrow, or a year from now, but without getting their contact information, you have no way to affect that sales cycle once they leave the site. Asking for your website users’ contact information in a focused, value-added, simple fashion will allow your business to significantly increase your traffic conversion rates, and sales will naturally follow.