Would you like to make more sales or generate more inquiries from your website / blog? If you would, today’s post is JUST for you!
I want to start with a question for you. If I went to your site right now, how likely would it be that I would instinctively or intuitively be able to find your action pages? By action pages, I’m talking about the pages on your site, where I could buy from you, hire you, subscribe to your newsletter or RSS feed etc.
A simple puzzle with a golden answer
I remember a simple puzzle set by lateral thinking expert, Edward de Bono. He had 2 points listed on a page: Point (a) and point (b). He simply asked for ideas to make it as unlikely as possible, for someone to go from point a to point b (see below).
Common answers included building a wall or a fence or maybe a stream between the 2 points. de Bono gave a different answer; which I have seen replicated thousands of times in marketing over the years.
He suggested adding lots of different points, so there were many more choices, like having points c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l etc added, (see below.)
If someone sees just one possible destination, they take it. Build a wall or fence, they climb over. Build a stream, they wade through. However, offer someone lots and lots of options and the odds on them following any one particular option, is massively diluted.
Make your site’s action pages easy to find & lose the clutter
Many websites have so many different options to bombard their visitor’s senses, that the odds on a visitor being able to easily navigate from where they land, to the correct action page, is very small. In short, the more options, buttons and destinations you place on a site, the less likely someone is to click the primary page or pages you are interested in.
Some people use pop-up boxes, believing it’s the box’s ability to “pop up” that generates sign-ups. This is NOT the case! They often see more sign-ups, but purely because the visitor is faced with a very limited set of options: Either sign-up, exit the box or leave. Like many experienced ‘net users, I tend to leave sites that use pop-ups, because of their ability to deliver malware, but others will click and that’s why some people use them. Why do most of the world’s top blogs not use pop-ups? Because when you make it easy for people to find the relevant pages, you don’t need them – Plus you don’t lose all that traffic from sophisticated web users, who don’t trust pop-up code.
A lesson in simplicity
The day that Google launched it’s search engine, Yahoo’s search engine had over 100 links on it’s page. Google’s just had a single box where you could enter your search term, and a send button. 100% of the visitors to that page, would have been able to figure out in a second, what Google did and how to use it. It was simple, intuitive and within no time had so much traction that it grew into one of the world’s biggest, best known companies. Larry Page’s famous algorithm wouldn’t have been worth a damn, if Google had been too distracting to use. It’s simplicity against the complexity of other search engines, helped it own the search market. Anyone could use Google. It’s simplicity was a master-stroke.
Here’s what I do
On my marketing blog, I insert a small, 2 sentence call to action box at the foot of every post. Why? Because people are most likely to want to learn more about my marketing services, after they have just learned something valuable from one of my blog posts. At the exact point where they have read the post and are thinking in glowing terms about my marketing expertise, they see a simple message, letting them know that I can help them market their business.
Every hour of every day, someone clicks that link and it generates inquiries for my services all day every day.
Here are a few questions, to help you spot potential obstacles and increase sales / inquires on your site:
- If I go to your website or blog right now, how many options are there to distract me away from the ACTUAL page where I spend money with you or inquire about your services?
- If I have just read a great post by you (or a sales page on your website) and I now want to find out about hiring you, my eyes are at the bottom of that blog post or marketing page I just read. What call to action from you, can I easily see from there (without having to scroll?)
- How clearly do you label the links or buttons that point to the areas on your site, where you want me to go?
The bottom line: Think back to the puzzle I mentioned at the start and remove anything that’s distracting prospective clients or customers attention away from connecting with you. Use clear directions and place the right messages in the correct places.
If you want to know more about this important subject, I will be covering it in a lot more detail in future posts, so remember to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss a thing!