Test drive your website for perfection

March 4, 2013

Have you ever asked your web design company or team how they determine the design for your website? How do they know where to put …

Have you ever asked your web design company or team how they determine the design for your website? How do they know where to put the contact form? What call-to-action will work best? Which headline will grab your visitors’ attention to generate a lead? Which graphic or video to utilize for best engagement?

Would you ask your mechanic to fix your car without first taking it for a test drive? After all, a mechanic should have the needed experience — along with the proper education and training — and you should be able to just tell him what’s happening and he should just know what is wrong with your car and be able to fix it. Unfortunately, that is not always the case and website companies should also emphasize a test drive of sorts.

A website design company test drive 

Tests on water treatment websites outside of your territory do have some value and are a great resource for ideas. However, every market is unique. Each market has different water quality, competitors, price points and knowledge about your company and water treatment in general. Testing your website in your market is what will ultimately determine if your website is sputtering along or passing people on the autobahn.

Running tests and experiments are the only way to take your website “for a test drive” and learn what information visitors need to see before feeling comfortable enough to contact you. Keep in mind, most visitors do not need to know everything about water chemistry before they trust you. Think of it this way, if you need a plumber to unclog your pipes, you do not need to watch a 30-minute YouTube video explaining how he’s going to do it. You just want to know he’ll take care of the problem quickly and at a fair price.

Testing builds trust with your customers

According to Entrepreneur.com, the most trusted brand in the U.S. is Amazon.com — not Coca-Cola, Nike, Procter & Gamble or Apple. A company that is less than two decades old (it first hit the Internet in July 1995) has managed to build greater brand loyalty and trust than any other company in the U.S. Unlike many of the other top trusted brands, Amazon.com managed to build trust with virtually no “traditional” marketing. Think about it:

  • Have you been inundated by TV or radio commercials for this company?
  • Did it send you a catalog with your last order?
  • Direct-mail postcard on your birthday?
  • Is your inbox loaded with pithy blogs from them?

So what’s their secret? Amazon.com is probably the most thoroughly tested website in the world. Every button, every call-to-action, every step in the shopping cart, every suggestion and even the layout and location of reviews has been tested and re-tested. They never stop. They’re always learning.

What are they learning? What their customers want. Amazon.com’s big secret to becoming the most trusted brand in the world is it watches what its customers do and respond. In 1995, when it was founded, it was cutting edge with this approach to business. So, it sky-rocketed ahead of its competition and haven't looked back.

Online testing and optimization is no longer the expensive, unexplored area it was 18 years ago. It now can be done for water treatment dealers for a few hundred dollars a month. Internet testing designed to deliver exactly what your customer wants may be the most powerful way to increase your leads while strengthening your brand.

What is the best approach to Internet marketing?

The simplest way to understand online lead generation is to break it into three pieces:

  1. Where are you getting traffic?
  2. How are you converting that traffic to leads?
  3. How are you following up with visitors not yet ready to buy?

To get a better idea of what is involved at each of those steps, here's a breakdown:

●     For traffic:

○      Search engine marketing (SEM) services in the form of Google Adwords, Facebook Ads and other networks. This is also called pay-per-click (PPC).

○      Local search engine optimization (SEO) focused on your local market based on what you learn from SEM.

○      Online Yellow Page optimization. There are dozens of online directories that are replacing offline yellow pages and can send high-value traffic to your website so it’s important that your listing is optimized in all of them.

●     For conversion:

○      Onsite testing and optimization to give your visitors more of what they want.

○      Online surveys to engage your visitors and provide a custom solution while learning more about their level of knowledge on your products.

○      Targeted landing pages related to online or offline marketing campaigns to quickly address their concerns with few distractions.

●     For follow up. Not all visitors are ready to buy today. However, will you be there when they are ready?

○      Email marketing is the best way to stay in touch with your prospects. One study indicated 77 percent of consumers prefer retailers to communicate with them via email. Direct mail is second at 9 percent.

○      Re-marketing. Google has the ability to show your ads all over the Internet to people who have visited your website. You think seeing your ad online several times per day might keep you top-of-mind?

Integrating with offline marketing

You are not Amazon.com. Your market is different. Your customers are different. Your level of service is different. Your competition is different.

Rarely will you be able to rely on your website alone to grow your business. You need other, more traditional forms of marketing. Can you afford to spend your marketing dollars on programs that may not work? Of course not, that’s why integrating with your online marketing is crucial.

You now can take lessons you can learn cheaply and efficiently online and integrate those offline to improve the ROI of every marketing dollar you spend. In other words, what works in a Google Ad will most likely work on a direct-mail postcard campaign.

Studies done by Marketing Sherpa have indicated that up to 67 percent of a website’s traffic can be driven by TV ads, so all of your marketing needs to work together. Just as importantly, you need to know how to use your online marketing to effectively track the performance of broadcast media. There are much more accurate ways to track TV performance than relying simply on a net increase in leads.

If your website is currently the result of the equivalent of a “mechanic” who claims to be able to look at your car and fix it without taking a test drive, now you know why you might not be getting the best results. The good news is, depending on your current website, often you don’t even need to build a new website from scratch to start improving. Many times web optimization experts who understand the water treatment industry can take over your existing website and start implementing tests right away.

Think of it like adding a booster pump to a reverse osmosis system that just isn’t producing enough water. No need to throw out the whole RO when the goal is simply to increase production. The same may be true for your website.

Bryan Trilli is the Team Leader of Optimized-Marketing.com and a former water treatment dealer. His team helps water treatment experts from coast-to-coast generate more leads online through PPC, SEO, online surveys, email marketing and constant website testing and optimization. The results are so powerful they often guarantee to at least double your online contacts. You may contact him at [email protected].

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