One of the most frequent areas of attention for Internet marketers is the place that a visitor arrives at when they first “touch-down” on a company’s web site. You cannot make a first impression twice so it’s pretty crucial that you have all your ducks lined up when this exciting, new, visitor arrives on your site. Ah, but not everyone is a first time visitor so we need to start to think about what sort of visitor to the site are they.
These are the first-timers, they are here for a range of reasons – all of which are probably unknown to the client at this time. There are a number of techniques that can be used to help the visitor through the magic first 10 seconds.
- The page must load quickly and smoothly (under 50kb is a pretty safe target to aim for)
- Ensure the messages/content on the page don’t jolt with the previous destination
Once the visitor is comfortable that they are a) on the right page and b) going to stay a little longer it’s time to consider the purpose of the visit. Many companies make the mistake of focusing the page on the needs of the company and it’s offerings, ignoring the real reason that visitors are here. This is why some landing pages can have 95%+ abandonment rates.
Remember we are talking about virgins, first-time visitors. What could they want? Suggest starting off with a complete list of what every visitor might want to do whilst on the site and then for every action rate it in terms of value to the company in the short time (this visit), medium term (multiple visits and maybe some offline interaction) and long term (whole of life value plus referral/evangelism/social/semantic trust value). This might be:
- Short term value : Join VIP club, buy item online, subscribe to offers, enter competition, leave email details, give postcode, select region
- Medium term value : Join VIP club, buy item online, visit store, order from catalogue, enter competition, come back to site
- Long term value : Run referral scheme, brand evangelist, regular purchaser, Join VIP club, frequent site visitor
This is quite a wide range of needs and, remember, we are still only talking about virgins; first-time interactions. As this is a first time visitor we can safely focus on the short-term needs of the visitor and ignore the longer term aims as they all entail returning to the site so therefore fall into the next section as they would be virgins no more.
The highest value to the company, no doubt, if for all first-time visitor to pay £25 and join the VIP club but we would be cray to believe that this is going to happen in any more than a few rare instances. We’d have needed to woo them to a point where they are ready to commit to a long term relationship and that’s pretty hard to do after 25 seconds. So, off we go, back to basics.
Virgins need to know they are in the right place, can trust the company and can see available what they want from their visit. If they want information then let them have it, probably at the cost of an email address. If they want to know more and maybe get more involved – they’re interested – they might swap some of their information for something they want, it could be a special offer, a discount code, a competition, free stuff, an open day etc. Whatever suits the client offering.
Next up, give the visitor a simple, clear and obvious way to carry out their request. Big forms, few words, little or no complexity, strong colours, action-based buttons and simple entry of information. Watch out, though, quite a few visitors still get form entry wrong so look at how you handle those “Nerr, nerr” errors. Be gentle, help the visitor through, explain what you need and why, avoid big red errors and “you are a plonker” type messages. Make it easy, make it simple and guide the visitor on their journey.
Sound pedantic, tedious and pointless? Well, a similar designed landing page with good housekeeping, good calls-to-action and sound structure can out-perform a “normal” one by 100% or more. If you leak visitors here then you’ll never get them back as they’ve finished their journey with your organisation – they could be continuing the journey with a competitor.
Every client and visitor profile is different. Talk to us and we’ll give you plain speaking and honest appraisal of what you are doing now.
“I’m thinking about it” it what you would hear if you could speak to them. This category of visitor is on the cusp of bringing you value. Typically they might have visited the site a few times and maybe even carried out a value trade by swapping their details for an information pack. They still come back to the site via landing pages but this time you might have more control of it. They might be returning from an email-shot or maybe a company brand term on Google Adwords or maybe you have a web platform that recognises returning visitors and can categorise them. Either way, recognising their return is critical as we don’t want to show them the same message as the virgins – we are kind of past first base here and aiming for a home run (apologies for the awful americanisms there).
The teasers are now used to us, they trust us a little and they’ll certainly spend a good deal longer in and around us. This still have needs so we need to satisfy those and we still need to make the process simple, painless and “guided”. We can ask for more commitment, more information and we can even make them jump through more hoops.
Stronger calls-to-action, different copy, more in-depth information, more community and social involvement.
These are the loved ones, the visitors that you embrace and help and cuddle. They pay the salaries, they pay for corporate expansion and they pay for the site. They need treating very differently all the other categories of visitors. Hopefully they are returning via a bookmark or an email link. Either way, the aim would be maximise the longer-term value and worry not a jot about basic data acquisition.
The CTAs here are very company/visitor/relationship specific and focused on a number of possible areas:
- Driving repeat sales
- Increasing sales value
- Spreading the word, getting the visitors to chatter and talk about your company and it’s products
- Involving them in product direction, ideas, offers, marketing, customer services
- Creating goodwill to bring the relationship closer
- Creating feedback on the brand, company and products
- Strengthening the brand, isolating the competitors and creating brand advocates
In summary, depends on the long-term relationship aims of the organisation and how to best leverage their continuing involvement and value.
Using VITES™ to manage visitors
VITES™ holds a record of all visitor interactions for all time – therefore a new interaction is (broadly) a virgin and can be served up content appropriate to the first-time needs of the visitor. As VITES™ stores every interaction it is simple enough to identify “Teasers” and “Family” and serve the right content, calls-to-action, applications and information. Contact us