OK, so here are the 16 most common web marketing blunders I see when people ask me to critique their websites and consult with them on their list building and online marketing.
Some are very simple to correct and can make a big difference in your results, almost overnight …
1. Trying to make a single web page accomplish too much.
One of the most common mistakes web marketers make is to try and do too many things on their web pages at once.
Each page should have either a single purpose, or a very strong dominant major purpose. That’s one of the reasons direct response style pages are so much more effective than traditional catalog style sites with multiple attractions all over the page.
Simply by separating your objectives and creating focused pages that are solely dedicated to a single objective, you can usually increase your overall conversion results dramatically.
2. Lack of testing.
You’ve probably heard that the Internet is the ultimate direct response vehicle because the actions your prospects take are so easily measurable. That’s true, but it’s a double-edged sword.
Because marketing on the Internet is so cheap, there’s an overwhelming temptation to skip the due diligence phase because if you make a mistake, you’re not going to get hurt that badly.
But testing is equity for the future. It’s how you learn things that will make each successive outing incrementally better and better.
3. Inadequate order device copy.
Not having strong positive acceptance copy is another very common shortcoming. Without it, you’ll suffer a very high abandonment rate on your shopping cart.
When somebody clicks on those order links it’s a delicate moment. You’ve got to reinforce your strongest benefits and reasons why they’re going ahead, and it works best if you write that copy in the prospect’s own voice.
Be sure to write a nice dense benefit statement, summarize your offer clearly, and if you have a guarantee, reverse the risk by restating it. YES [Your Spokesperson’s name here], I’m ready to [benefit], I get this and this and this, and thanks for the ironclad guarantee …
4. Lack of follow-up (biggest blunder of them all).
Sometimes I see marketers trying to sell front-end products with high price points or significant adoption hurdles where it’s not realistic to expect decent numbers with just one shot at the customer.
What they really should be doing is breaking the sales process down into steps, getting the prospect’s contact information first, and then following up with an autoresponder series.
5. Jarring transitions between pages requiring the prospect to mentally work to connect the dots.
This is a big one that I see all the time. The Internet is unique in that you’re almost never telling your entire sales story on one page. Consider the life of a sale for a moment. Your initial touch point for acquiring a new customer is NEVER on the same page that makes the sale.
If somebody comes to your website, it’s because they’ve been sold on taking a look. They saw your ad on somebody else’s website, or they received an endorsement by email, or they read your meta tag copy on a search engine listing. Somehow, they were compelled to click through to your site.
Very often, marketers get so caught up in the copy on their landing pages that they don’t look at the whole prospect experience closely enough. People are clicking through to their site and getting lost when they arrive, having to think to make the connection between why they clicked through and what they see on the landing page.
The connection between one page and the next has to be crystal clear.
6. Page transition redundancy.
On the other side of the coin you see overly repetitive transitions between pages that bore the prospect, causing him to tune out. You see this often with endorsed e-mails or other longer copy teasers designed to drive traffic to a landing page.
When you have identical copy carelessly repeated on the landing page, it’s going to lower your conversion. You’re basically training your prospect to scan your copy instead of reading it.
There is a lot of value in the old selling maxim: tell then what you’re going to tell them… tell them… and then tell them what you told them. Repetition is crucial to selling, but it should never feel like repetition to the prospect.
7. Lame landing page copy.
Needless to say, if you bore or confuse your prospects, or fail to substantiate your claims properly, you’ll lose them.
8. Pages lack center of gravity and attention getting power above the fold.
Often I see web page designs that aren’t taking the fold into account. Tests prove that when you force your prospects to scroll for a clear and cohesive opening to your sales message, they won’t.
9. No spokesperson, or spokesperson lacks credibility.
This is a big one. Our tests show that people respond far more favorably… and buy far more frequently when they feel as though they’re interacting with a real person — even though they know they’re not.
By its very nature, the Internet demands you communicate with as much personality as possible.
So I like to see a spokesperson pictured prominently above the fold looking prospects squarely in the eye when they arrive, and of course copy that reads like a personal communication from that person.
10. Poor message to market match.
This is just where the copywriter didn’t do the necessary research on the target market, and the copy doesn’t read like the ideal buyer talks. It doesn’t resonate with them. There’s no rapport created. And things just don’t gel.
11. Difficult to read.
Long paragraphs, wide lines, tiny font, lack of strong subheads, and illogical use of white space. Often I see websites that are just a chore to read, and of course if they don’t read, they don’t buy, do they?
Reading from a computer screen is more difficult than reading from the printed page. It’s critical you do everything you possibly can to minimize eye fatigue for your reader.
12. Order links too early in the copy before adequate selling has taken place.
Before you present an order link or button, make sure you’ve at least gotten the main gist of your sales argument out of the way. Otherwise, you’ll have all kinds of people clicking on your order links just to check the price and then click away without buying.
Same is true with email… you have to pre-frame people properly, or they’re going to click and bounce without taking action on the landing page.
13. Order links too late in the copy.
Sometimes it’s just opposite. The copy sells past the sale. You’ve got to think carefully about when people might be ready to act. And if you’ve got solid positive acceptance copy (see blunder # 3), you can usually increase the conversion rate by moving your order buttons up higher on the page.
Order link placement is also a function of price and ease of adoption. The lower the barrier to entry, the earlier you can start presenting order links. If your offer is free, test putting a call to action right at the top of the page.
14. Sloppy aesthetics.
A professional looking presentation is very important. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should be clean and neat.
People make an assessment about the kind of business you are by the care you’ve taken in communicating with them. So spelling mistakes, multiple fonts, inconsistency of formatting, unprofessional looking images etc.… are all statements about the quality of the product or service for sale.
Imagine a salesman showing up at your office to make a presentation, and he’s got a sprig of spinach stuck between his teeth, his shoes are dusty, and he’s wearing an ill-fitting suit. How likely are you to buy from him?
15. Misreading metrics.
Sometimes I see people making flawed decisions because they don’t understand the context of the statistics they’re looking at, especially when they’re dealing with banner ads and pay per clicks.
A common example is split testing banner ads and making decisions on which ads to roll out based on click through rates. Click through rates are irrelevant. What matters infinitely more when comparing one ad against another is visitor value, or cost per lead.
Same with email.
As I like to say, “you can’t cash clicks at the bank”. Often a lower click through rate — where people know what they’re clicking to and why — will make you more money.
16. And finally, statistical validity of testing.
I’m convinced the vast majority of people marketing on the Internet do not have a good handle on what it takes to draw solid conclusions from the split tests they’re running. It’s very easy to make an erroneous conclusion about what’s working for you and what isn’t, and by what margin.
Here’s a handy little tool to determine statistical validity for the various tests you’re running. It will help you to determine how long you need to run a given test to know if your test results are statistically valid.
So how many of these 16 blunders are you making?
Like any 12-step program, your first step is admission.
Go ahead and confess in the comments box below. “I am a conversion addict and these are my sins.”
Until next time, Good Selling!