Archive for April, 2008

Holly Buchanan Increases Website Conversions: Part II of II

Holly Buchanan

Read Part I of this two post series.

Every individual that visits your website is unique, looking for different pieces of information and reading websites differently. Each visitor will most likely be persuaded by various aspects and determinants. With Holly Buchanan’s personality descriptions of the four most common types of buyers, we can design our websites and copy so that we can persuade each personality type most effectively.

On Thursday, April 17th, Holly Buchanan addressed over 100 attendees at eBizitPA‘s King Conversion: Websites that Sell conference. Holly was an extraordinary speaker with several quick tips and in-depth techniques to vastly improve the conversion of your site. In the last post, I discussed some of the more basic background and theory of website effectiveness, as explained by Holly.

In this post, I’ll continue the discussion, focusing on designing your website to meet the needs of each unique individual that visits your site by addressing the most common four types of visitors: Methodical, Spontaneous, Competitive, and Humanistic.

The Methodical

Methodicals are detail oriented and like to be prepared, so they appreciate the hard facts, data, and information presented in a logical manner. When designing for the methodical, consider including:

  • Details, statistics, and proof of any claims
  • The process used and how it works, including a step by step explanation
  • The product specifications
  • Guarantees

The Spontaneous

The Spontaneous type lives in the moment, making spur of the moment decisions they can be confident in. They are good in crisis situations due to the fact that they can take action quickly. These people who are less likely to fall into a strict routine. When designing for the spontaneous, consider including:

  • A way to help users narrow their choices as quickly as possible and choose exactly what they are looking for
  • How your company will help users enjoy life more
  • How your product or service can be customized
  • How your product can make users’ lives more flexible

The Competitive

Competitives are the CEO types, they seek to understand and control life. They are driven individuals who are always educating themselves. Competitives are highly motivated, goal-oriented, image conscious, and often concerned with their social status. When designing for competitives, consider including:

  • Competitive advantages over similar companies
  • Why your company is better than others
  • Your credentials- why is your business credible?
  • How can you help the users be more productive and look good?

The Humanistic

Humanistics are the family-oriented individuals, with a tendency to put others’ needs before their own and may be uncomfortable accepting gifts or allowing others to do for them. They are usually slow to make a decision, often relying on trust and intuition. When designing for the humanistic, consider including:

  • Company and leadership bios to convince the users to trust you and your organization
  • Reasons why the user can trust you
  • How your organization will help users strengthen their current relationships
  • Testimonials

Design One Page for all Types

Often, it is not realistic to create four different sites for each personality type of your visitors. If your organization’s target audience does not typically consist of one specific personality type, you must include something for all personalities so you don’t lose potential customers. So, how do we do this when these personality profiles differ so much?

Simply, provide a sentence for each type of individual, ensuring that they all flow together. Be sure to address the competitive and spontaneous personalities first, as they tend to be more impatient. If they read the first paragraph and don’t find anything for them, they may click the back button and leave your site forever. Methodicals and humanistics are more patient, so you can speak to them further down the page.

For example, if you’re selling a Caribbean vacation, you may first discuss the variety of activities available at any time, day or not, on the resort (for the spontaneous), and then talk about how this vacation rivals those in more popular vacations because of its prestige (for the competitive). You can then transition into the details of the vacation, discussing the schedule of family activities available to you each day (for the humanistic AND the methodical).

Quick Changes to Increase Conversion

These past two posts are just a portion of the knowledge that Holly had passed on to those in attendance of the King Conversion conference. The following are some quick tips that will take you a few moments to fix and may increase your conversion greatly:

  • Don’t let design get in the way. Make all your hyperlinks the default blue so that your users know what is clickable
  • Use buttons instead of text call to actions when possible
  • Instead of using “Submit” on buttons, specify the action that is to be taken, such as “Download the Report” or “Buy Now”
  • Have a call to action on every page, including the About Us page so that it doesn’t act as a dead end
  • Include images and bios on your About Us page so that the humanistics will allow herself to trust you
  • Maintain consistency from the initial website ad all the way to the form of the call to action

Did You Attend? Share Your Experience

If you attended the King Conversion Conference on April 17th, we invite you to share your experience with the event in the comments section below.

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Holly Buchanan Increases Conversion during the King Conversion Conference- Part I of II

Web Sites that Sell Conference

For those of you who were fortunate enough to attend eBizITPA’s King Conversion: Web Sites that Sell conference a few weeks ago, on Thursday, April 17th, you can join me in attesting to the genuinely quality content presented by Holly Buchanan, Senior Persuasion Architect at Future Now Inc, based in New York City.

For those who were unable to attend, you missed out on an extraordinary event with a captivating, experienced speaker presenting effective information to help improve your website’s performance and your overall conversion rate.

Holly BuchananHolly focused on both B2B and B2C companies, providing simple suggestions for improvement of the overall effectiveness of the companies’ websites. In fact, many exhibitors at the event were so impressed with Holly’s presentations, that they were online updating their sites with these simple solutions live, as Holly suggested them.

Although it would not be possible to serve you with all of the same information presented to the conference attendees, we would like to provide you with some of the insight shared at this conference on how to increase your web site effectiveness. This is the first post of a two part series to provide you with this valuable information.

The conference began with the discussion of the current state of the online buying and selling process, as Holly pointed out that only 26% of consumers report satisfaction with a web shopping experience, and 97% of website visitors fall out of the sales funnel, resulting in lost sales.

The First Step: Know Your Visitors

The first aspect to consider when attempting to draw in visitors to your site, is to make it relevant. What questions do the visitors have that they need answered? Did they arrive at your site through search engines? What key terms were used to arrive at your site? All this and more data should be measured and analyzed to find out everything possible about your website visitors, and to improve their overall satisfaction with the functionality and effectiveness of the site.

Don’t Make Me Think!

Once you have found out exactly what your potential customers find relevant, you should apply it to improve the relevancy of your site- place the information individuals are looking for in an easy to find location on your site. If visitors don’t find what they are looking for, potential leads could be gone within one to three clicks.

You can not make your visitors think. If they have to dig through your site for something they’re looking for, they will most likely click the back button and search elsewhere. Every page of the site should take your visitor to another page of the site.

The About Us page is often a dead end. Ensure that it invites visitors to visit other pages of the site, subscribe to a mailing list, or take some step toward the ultimate goal of the visit.

Define an End Goal

You should design your site so that the visitor knows exactly where they should look, exactly where they should click, and what the call to action, or ultimate goal of the company, is. This ultimate goal of the company should be defined, and ranges from an online order, to the act of searching for a local location of the company or store. The goal depends on the nature of the company and its products and/or services.

Also, there should be intermediary goals, or points of conversion between the time when the visitor arrives at the site, and the ultimate goal. These intermediary goals will help guide your customer through your site, and further towards your ultimate goal.

Persuasion

Once the site has addressed and taken steps towards achieving the overall goals, you must persuade the invididual to take the desired action, and make it easy for them to do this. This means that the check out process must be as easy and effective as possible. Any opt-in forms should be short and painless. And errors should be non-existent. Anything that will increase frustration could drive individuals to give up and leave a process only partially completed.

Take a few minutes or even an hour to walk through these and similar processes to make sure they are as smooth and painless as possible for your visitors. This act alone could resolve small issues, increasing your conversion with little effort.

Online copy can also play a very prominent role in persuading your visitors to continue using the site. Copy should be organized into chunky, browsable sections. The majority of website visitors are “browsers;” they scan the web pages before deciding to read them in full. Smaller paragraph sizes will allow your readers to find the keywords they find most relevant more quickly, encouraging them to read on.

Four Types of Buyers

A very valuable, if not the most valuable, part of the presentation was the explanation of the four different personalities of the buyers. These include the Humanistic, Methodical, Competitive, and Spontaneous individuals. There are certain methods that would be most effective in capturing the attention, and potential business, of each of these individuals, all within the same paragraph.

Stay tuned for the second post of this two part series to discover the tactics that will allow you to address each of these personalities’ concerns within one or two paragraphs, as well as some suggestions for improving your web site effectiveness and conversion rates with a few simple changes.

Did You Attend? Share Your Experience

If you attended the King Conversion Conference on April 17th, we invite you to share your experience with the event in the comments section below.

Read Part II of this two part series.

Your Web site as a sales and marketing channel…

Today’s savvy online users expect to go to the Internet and get something accomplished. They expect your Web site to help them fulfill their mission. If your site does not provide the information they need or they have to think too hard they will move on to a competitor’s site that will have what they need.

 

A Web site is an electronic form of your business marketing channel. Do you know how to build a dialog with a customer through a Web site, how to qualify them as a lead or convert them to a sale?  How about if what you sell is more complex, like a course or a custom made component?  I can confidently do a good job helping people pinpoint their needs and help them make purchase decision when I am on the phone or face to face.  I have plenty of consulting experience doing it that way. It is a mix of asking the right questions, good listening skills and then aligning what you have with their specific needs or goals.

 

But what are the activities that make a product or service desirable to a visitor through a Web site, where it’s open to the world 24/7.  How do you really begin a sales or persuasive dialog with visitors to your Web site? 

 

I can share from our experiences with our Web site at eBizITPA. Between our web specialist, marketing manager and program managers we have been experimenting and trying to determine what information do our customers need to make an informed decision and how do we influence them to take action.  For the IT Kickstart program we have documents they are able to access and download to apply for IT Kickstart.  This is the type of self service that gives visitors access any time when it is convenient for them.  But are we providing enough information for them to evaluate the program and answer their questions and concerns? Probably not because we still receive phone calls asking about how the program works.

 

We also continuously try to improve our messaging about our professional development programs like classes and seminars so that our visitors can understand how they will benefit from participating. Ultimately try to persuade them to register.  But we struggle with questions such as how much information do they need, how do they want to receive the information and can they locate it in an intuitive fashion? Just recently one of our email recipients responded to a promotional conference email saying the message was pretty generic and do we have some more detail on what is going to be covered. 

 

Holly Buchanan podcastWe recently posted an interview on the conference Web site with the featured speaker Holly Buchanan, a conversion expert in online marketing and persuasion architecture. In the interview Holly gives a sneak peak on her presentation called Call to Action: Secret Formulas to Improve Online Results, listen as she teases us with a few good nuggets you will be able to immediately take away. We learned using multimedia mediums such as, podcasts and videos can help our visitors better comprehend and understand our offerings. However, was there a clear pathway to the information? Well, clearly not for this fella.

 

The conference will have an afternoon session that will be an interactive web assessment where Holly agreed to review several sites on a first come first serve basis. We submitted the Center’s Web site and the Conference microsite in hopes that Holly will give us feedback on how we can improve our customer’s experience, improve responses to our messages and meet our marketing objectives.

 

We’re tough and we can take whatever Holly tells us because in the end we know she only wants to help us succeed.  Hope to see you there!

 

Quick resource:

Future Now has a fun and very telling instrument called the Customer Focus Calculator aptly called the WeWe. Use it to check if your site mostly talks about your customer and their needs or are you talking mostly about your business. Use it and you will see immediately.

 

Holly Buchanan is a Senior Persuasion Architect at Future Now Inc. Future Now is a digital marketing optimization company based in New York.


eMarketing Special Interest Group

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