4 “must-haves” of high converting copy

First-class copy is the best way to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers.  But like so much of conversion optimisation and digital marketing, it is not easy to produce.

That’s why we’ve listed these four absolute essentials of high-converting copy. If you can nail down these characteristics, you’re well on your way to producing some high-converting copy.

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1.)    Be clear

The type of content you produce/share is closely related to the product you sell.  Users need to understand what your product is, and in order to convey that, you must have clear copy.  Clarity is more important that humour, more important than grammatical perfection, more important that anything.

Clarity is about understanding.  If users don’t understand your product, they won’t buy your product. 

2.)    Be casual

We’ve got to break away from stiff and formal writing.  Write like you speak! Use simple words and be direct!  No one wants to read a landing page that sounds like a university essay.  Here’s a few tips to make your writing a little more casual and a lot more engaging:

  • Break grammatical rules – incomplete sentences, expressions, colloquialisms and slang are A-Okay!
  • Try dictating your copy rather than writing it. Pretend you are telling a friend about your product.
  • Refer to the reader as “you”.

3.)    Make sure you’ve got a killer headline

On average, five times as many people will read your headline over your body copy, so you had better make it good.  A great headline convinces more people to read your copy while a poor one sends them searching somewhere else.

And you don’t have to stop at just one headline.  As long as you space them out, size them appropriately and back them up with great content, use as many headlines as you want!

4.)    Good copy is easy to scan

Great writers make sure that the content they produce is scannable.  It’s not just about breaking things up visually, but rather an entire approach to writing altogether. So, what makes your content scannable?

  • It has short words.
  • It used short sentences.
  • In contains plenty of visuals – they break up your copy and make it more engaging.
  • It uses bullet points – they’re short, powerful and direct.
  • It’s utilises “white space” – no walls of texts here!
  • It contains headlines and subheads.

So you see, it’s just that simple.  If you can improve your copy, you can improve you conversions.

What else would you consider to be a “must-have” of high converting copy?

Want to find out more ways to improve your content marketing strategy? Talk to BT Managing Director, Steve Ballantyne.  steve@ballantynetaylor.co.nz

Or download our ebook, The Superheroes of Digital Marketingfor free!

The best tactics for your homepage in 2014

The homepage is a critically important page for many reasons. Oftentimes it is one of (if not the most) trafficked web page that we have on our websites.

Homepages were once the authoritative one-stop-shop for online brands, but over the years, search engines become more adept at understanding what users are looking for and their purpose has become more targeted. Just as the homepage’s purpose has progressed, so too have the wants and expectations of the people viewing them; and as marketers, it’s our job to deliver on those expectations.

To understand how the purpose of the homepage has evolved, we’ll take a look at some of the original ways of developing a homepage and compare them to the practices of 2014.

Give your homepage a singular focus

It used to be that we would promote all of the major sections of our site on the homepage — here’s our product, check out our blog, here’s this new launch point, look at this new thing we’re doing!  All of this is great, but they end up competing with each other for attention. And while these methods may have worked for websites of yesteryear, it’s not working in 2014.

Nowadays, we can make each of these different sections easy to find and navigate. This way we can focus our homepages uniquely on the most important information, the most important customers and visitors. Whatever you want to say, communicate it quickly and in a visual-centric way — perhaps a video or some graphics that reinforce your primary message.

From here you can A/B test different variations of your homepage to find out what viewers respond to the best.

Cut back on the keywords

It used to be standard practice to try to cram as many keywords as possible into the homepage. And in the past, this made sense because it would have been your highest PageRank page as well as the page that earned the most links.

These days, Google and other search engines are much more sophisticated and understanding. They know your website is about a lot of different things, not just the one page, and are considerate about a site’s authority in different areas and around keyword terms and phrases. This allows your internal pages to inherit strength and authority from your overall site, which lets you focus on a smaller, more refined subset of keywords on your homepage. Focus on brand-centric keywords and leave the unbranded ones for more specific pages deeper in your site.

Communicate quickly

Back when we were cramming as many keywords into the homepage as humanly possible, we needed walls and walls of text to harbour them.

Since we no longer need to accommodate a generous helping of keywords, you can ditch the lengthy prose and quickly communicate the primary objective of your homepage — your value proposition. Many good homepages use simple text and take a visual-centric approach to help the viewer absorb the information in a swift and interesting way — this could be a video, illustration or graphic, just to name a few.

Don’t stress about the fold

In the past, there was a lot of pressure to keep your important information “above the fold.”  But thanks to tablets, smartphones and wider screens, we as website viewers do a lot more scrolling, so really, the concept of keeping everything above the fold is becoming more and more antiquated. Keep some page content at the traditional scroll line, it will keep the experience compelling and draw the eye downwards, encouraging the viewer to keep scrolling and giving visibility to the rest of the information on your homepage.

There is a lot that can be said about homepage development, but these four points cover some very important issues. When writing a homepage, above all focus on clarity and simplicity. Help people understand quickly what the site is about and enable them to find what they are looking for without having to work hard to find it. A well designed and organised homepage will allow your visitors to feel comfortable and confident that they have come to the right place.

 

If you think your homepage needs some refurbishing, but are unsure where to start, contact our Digital Manager, Veronica Nobbs. She’ll be happy suggest some tips and tricks to get your website running on all cylinders. p: 950 2143

Ally SEO and PPC for some seriously stunning CTR

The key to any successful SEO and SEM campaign is utilising data to make the right decisions. The focus here isn’t to pit SEO against PPC, but rather to establish when and where the two can (and should) be used in partnership with each other.

By using data from both of these traffic sources, you will be able to fill information gaps, creating a broader picture of the factors that affect your website’s visibility in the search engine results page (SERP). And now that Google is limiting data more and more, providing it to only paying advertisers, using both these disciplines has become critical to our digital strategies.

How can SEO and SEM work together on a click-through-rate basis?

In a recent AdWords ‘paid and organic’ dimension report, the data suggests that CTR substantially increases when both paid and organic ads are shown together. SEER Interactive recently implemented this report for six of their clients and found that when paid ads were shown alone, they achieved a CTR of 5.66% and similarly, organic results shown alone got 6.15%. Now here’s the kicker — when paid and organic listing were shown together the CTR for paid results increased to 18.06% and organic results to a whopping 38.26%! This impressive data strongly indicates that SEO and PPC support each other, and having both on the SERPs is going to generate synergy and make a bigger impression on the searcher.

Run AdWords first

First, properly set up an optimised AdWords account with clearly defined campaigns, ad groups that are tightly knit to keywords and relevant ads that direct to relevant landing pages. A well thought out and implemented AdWords campaign will be strongly beneficial in the beginning because:

Budget: Small to medium sized businesses probably don’t have the budget to smash out on something like SEO. In today’s world, optimising your site properly can be very costly, not to mention results can take up to three months to start realising — that’s a whole three months with potentially no gain on your company’s targets! By running a PPC campaign, you’ll bring visitors to your site and you only pay when someone clicks through. This way, you will be getting some kind of return and, if it produces any mount of profit, it can be put towards your future SEO campaign.

Awareness & CRO: Don’t stress if your AdWords campaign isn’t producing the profits you were hoping for in the beginning, the value is still there. You continue to bring visitors to your site, which not only increases awareness to your searchers, but provides you with extremely important data. You’ll learn how visitors interact with your site, which pages convert better and the keywords that perform best on each individual page.

SEO Learnings: Google AdWords provides a wealth of knowledge when it comes to how search engines appraise your website. Not only will you be able to see how Google judges your page, but how your visitors do too (i.e. bounce rates, exit rates, time on page). You’ll also be able to see which pages and keywords have better quality scores.

Once you’ve gathered enough data through AdWords, you can start focusing on your SEO. Two metrics that are especially useful are quality score (QS) and cost-per-click (CPC). By looking at the QS and CPC for inbound keywords on specific pages, we can gather important information that Google themselves use when decision making. Based on this data we can build a fairly decent idea of:

  1. How relevant Google deems a keyword to a landing page (QS)
  2. How competitive a specific keyword is to target (CPC)

Once you have this keyword information you can actively decide which keywords to target.

So in the end, SEO and SEM are two traffic sources cut from the same cloth. They complement each other in SERP and cooperate to provide you a better overall CTR, and by employing AdWords in the beginning, you’ll be able to retrieve data that, when later applied will give you a winning SEO strategy.

Ignite sales by rekindling the meta description flame

In simplistic terms, meta descriptions are HTML attributes that provide concise explanations of the contents of web pages. Meta description tags, while not important to search engine rankings, are extremely vital in gaining user click-through from search engine result pages (SERPs). We’ve all seen them before, they look like this:

 

 

 

 

As SEO best practices constantly evolve and change, it is easy to take our focus off our meta descriptions, after all they don’t immediately affect our rankings, so why exhaust our energies here?

Well, it’s high time we rekindled the relationship with our forgotten friend. As mentioned before, meta descriptions directly effects traffic volume. It serves as your ad copy, and therefore needs to be compelling, relevant and include a call to action.So while the lowly meta description may not get your page ranking at the number one spot, it will drive sales.

Getting back on good terms with your meta description

1. Solve a problem

Web users are generally searching for an answer to a problem. This is applicable to online retail as well. Say a user is looking to put in an above-ground swimming pool for the summer. They’re looking for one that is the best quality, price, warranty, installation service, etc. and the meta description needs to address this.

2. Stand Out

Google Adwords does not allow you to use capitalisation for emphasis in paid advertisements, however nothing is stopping you in the meta description. Used sparingly it can really capture the attention and draw the eye of the reader. Similarly, numbers can attract attention where words may fail (e.g 50% off or Fortune 500 Company).

3. Key Facts

Include the most important facts that are relevant to your audience. Whether it is size, model or same day delivery, list it clearly and concisely in your description. Keep this up-to-date. Nothing will scare off a sale faster than archaic, obsolete products.

4. Talk Up Yourself/ Use Superlatives

You’ve only got a few sentences to draw a user in — so show off. If you can name drop or boast any accolade you’ve received, do it now. Furthermore, superlatives will help sell yourself and your page content, e.g. “Check out our stunning, top-of-the line [product and/or service]!”

5. CTAs

Calls to action are used in every other form of advertisements so why would you leave them out of your meta description? Encourage the user to take the next step of clicking-through to your site.

A few last words on the subject: meta descriptions should employ your keywords intelligently, but also sell your company and product offer. Make sure your description is compelling with direct relevance to the page. Each page’s meta description should be unique and ideally be between 150-160 characters.

It’s high time to welcome the meta description back into our SEO friendship circle. The more we put into our descriptions, they more we get back. Putting the love back into the metadescriptionrelationship canonly benefit us — the better the description is, the higher the click-through rate will be, ultimately bringing more traffic to your site.

If you want help producing dynamite meta descriptions and amp your click-through rates, or if you are looking to revamp your entire SEO campaign, talk to us.Our Digital Manager Veronica Nobbs will get you on the road to optimisation in no time!

e: veronica@ballantynetaylor.co.nz

 

 

Social media has the insight to modernise our marketing strategies

The emergence of social media and the decline of mass media are the two biggest marketing stories of the decade. Both print circulation and television viewership have been falling consistently since the turn of the century. TV viewership is down almost 50% since 2002, however, social media has experienced astronomical gains since its humble MySpace beginnings. In fact, social media usage among U.S. adults is up a whopping 800% in the past eight years alone.

These dying forms of traditional media are taking our conventional marketing techniques with them. Today’s connected consumer is inundated with choice the minute they enter the ever-expanding world wide web. In order for companies to win business, their message has to stand out among the rest and the hard truth is, singular-message emails or banner ads meant for a massive audience just aren’t cuttin’ the mustard anymore.

While it may be hard to ditch some of the time-honoured marketing techniques of yore, the rapid transition from mass to social media is actually presenting marketers with the opportunity of a lifetime. Information collected from social media allows us to create impactful, relevant messages and personalise our marketing approach — which is not only more effective, but more cost efficient and scalable.

3 Step Personalised Marketing Process

Data Collection: The first step to gathering user data is to implement social login. Social login is a form of single sign-on which uses existing information from a social networking site (we’ve all been prompted to “login using Facebook,” “login using Twitter,” etc) to sign into a third party website.  By using social login, your business can collect and interpret data information to better understand their customers.

Data Segmentation: Determining meaning from raw data is a crucial next step when personalising the marketing process. Once the data is retrieved it needs to be broken down and analysed to determine customer identity and behaviour.

Data Conversion: After data is segmented, it needs to be converted into actionable insight. Companies can tie collected and analysed data into the marketing platforms they are using, i.e. CRM software, email marketing platforms and advertising networks.

The implementation of personalised marketing allows marketers to collect information from their audience using social data. Targeting smaller audiences is made possible for marketers simply by examining a group of user’s behaviour data and social profile. Messages that are tailored to appeal to niche audiences have higher relevancy and consequently, effect on a group.

If you are looking to improve your conversion rate, our Digital Manager, Veronica Nobbs, can help you turn social data into a targeted, personalised marketing strategy. Contact her at: veronica@ballantynetaylor.co.nz

Optimise your website through the science of A/B Testing

A/B tests can be a valuable component to any brand’s marketing strategy — when used properly. Not only does it provide insight into your target audience, but will yield better conversion rates and ultimately, improve sales. A/B testing takes the guesswork out of website optimisation and provides measureable data to validate whether or not any new change or addition will improve a website. And while this practice is becoming more commonplace, many still don’t incorporate it into their strategy. Whether you don’t understand what A/B testing is, are unsure of the benefits it can have for your company or believe you are an omniscient, marketing god among us (blasphemer!), it might be time that someone took you back to school.

A/B testing belongs to a category of Scientific Optimisation techniques in which statistics are used to increase the odds that your site-visitors see the best performing version of a page possible. Now before I scare you off, this is a pretty basic method of testing. Take a trip down memory lane to your “Introduction to Science” class. Remember the experiment where you tested various substances on plants to see which best supported their growth? Each was subjected to a different condition apart from one (the control), which had no additives, and, in the end, the difference in height proved which substance, if any, performed the best.

A/B testing (often called split-testing) is very similar. You have two designs of a website, A and B. Let’s say website A is the original version, or the control. Website B is then created and the two are split amongst your website traffic and their performance is then measured using whatever metrics you care about (conversion rate, sales, bounce rate, etc.). Whichever version rates the highest in the end, becomes the new control.

 

Seems easy, but it is still possible to oversimplify a simple concept. If you are creating two pages to test and, for example, only change the colour of the heading, button or the title text of one, you are not capitalising on all the benefits split testing has to offer. Chris Lema of Emphasys Software helps to put the theory of A/B testing into perspective, “The best way to create alternative designs is to create alternative theories of the prospect, which is why I think of split testing as hypotheses testing.”

 

Imagine you are designing a landing page for a cruise line. You might have a few different hypotheses about how to attract a potential client:

 

1. The client cares most about price. They want a deal.

2. The client cares most about destination. They’re looking for something exotic.

3. The client can only travel at a specific time and wants to know what is available.

 

Three different landing pages are designed based on each hypothesis. One highlighting deals or promotions on offer, one showcasing distant and exotic ports of call and one focused around an active calendar displaying what packages are available and when. Now we split these page variations amongst your website traffic which will show the percentage of conversions garnered from each one. Based on the results derived from your experiment, you can easily pick the optimal page to launch with.

So you see, A/B testing can be incredibly profitable for any company or business. You can use split testing on websites, or email campaigns to increase product sales, generate more leads or ensure your audience solves their technical support issues faster. Class dismissed!

If you are looking to fine-tune your website and want some expert advice, contact us! p: 09 950 2140

Stalk your customers online with Google Remarketing

Like a jilted lover, eCommerce merchants have long waited, helplessly, with the hope that their fickle consumers, who abandoned their site without completing an action, see the err of their ways and return to them, faithful and true. Well proprietors, behold! Step out of the shadows of blind faith for a new day has dawned! An era in which you can safely stalk your capricious deserter by subtly reminding them that only you possess the good or service they truly cannot live without. Welcome to the Age of Remarketing.

Remarketing (sometimes referred to as “retargeting”) is a form of pay per click advertising which allows eCommerce entrepreneurs to show banner advertisements to users who previously visited their site as they browse the rest of the web.

Here’s how it works:

1. A prospect user enters your site

2. A tracking cookie is dropped on their browser

3. Prospect user leaves your site without converting or taking the desired action

4. You display banner ads to that user as they continue to browse other websites

5. Ads entice the user to come back to your website and complete desired action

Basically, a persistent little voice saying, “Hey. Hey, you. Remember me? Don’t waste your time endlessly searching for other products– I’m right here!”

Getting previous visitors to return to your site is an obvious perk of using remarketing, however, that isn’t the only benefit.

Improve ROI on marketing budgets

For businesses that are already spending money on driving traffic to a website, remarketing can extend the conversion funnel to your most qualified visitors.

Increase Brand Awareness

Re-displaying ads to new prospects increases the likelihood of brand retention and awareness.

Granular retargeting capabilities

Which means, advertisers can use tailored messaging and incentives based on a user’s browsing behaviour. For instance, if you have just purchased a tent for an upcoming camping trip, you might be a good target to promote sleeping bags.

 

If you decide to go the route of Google Dynamic Remarketing, you have further options to target visitor groups and choose which ones you want your ads to show up for.

All visitors:  Everyone who views your site

General visitors:  Those who visited your site but did not view any specific product. The dynamic ad will include the most popular products from your website

Product views:  People who viewed specific product pages but did not add them to a shopping cart. Here, the dynamic ad will show the viewed products alongside some recommended products

Shopping cart abandoners:  People who viewed specific items, added them to their shopping cart, but did not complete the purchase. Items will prioritise items added to the cart and will mix in other viewed products as well as recommended ones

Past buyers:  The dynamic ad will show related products to those previously purchased and items that were often bought together

So after reading this, you are probably thinking, “I need to incorporate remarketing into my digital strategy so I don’t turn out to be the sad, lonely peddler in the introductory analogy…” Great! Here are a few recommended practices to help get you from zero to hero in a flash.

Establish granular marketing lists

The more targeted the original traffic, the better the remarketing response

Avoid overexposure

Use frequency capping and ad scheduling to avoid harassing your audience, not to mention cut down on ad spend

Test, Analyse, Optimise

Overtime, begin to strike out the negatively performing placements and reward the positives

 

Whether you are an online retailer, a goods or service provider or a B2B marketer looking to improve your ROI, we can help introduce remarketing into your digital strategy alongside a wealth of tools to cultivate your brand.

 

Talk to Managing Director, Steve Ballantyne. e:  steve@ballantynetaylor.co.nz

 

 

Death to CAPTCHAs or risk killing your conversion rate

While CAPTCHAs have their admirable qualities in principle, the vast majority of the internet-using populous sees them as detestable, unreadable road-blocks that almost no one can decipher. Theoretically, a CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) protects virginal, doe-eyed users from the villainous clutches of bots hell-bent on spamming civilisation into oblivion; however, most of us would quietly take our chances if it meant we could finally rid the web-world of obscured, distorted letters and words challenging us to prove our human authenticity.

Courtesy of 9Gag

CAPTCHAs are widespread and often used to prevent comment spam and the automated submission of web forms, contact details, online polls or registrations. It seems like these barriers may be a necessary precaution for webmasters, but the hard truth is that the use of CAPTCHAs could be killing your conversion rate.

By including CAPTCHA in your website, you’re setting obstacles between you and your customers. It creates friction at the climax of the user’s site experience which, in turn, results in a percentage of users prematurely abandoning their task.

In 2009, Casey Henry, a web developer out of Seattle, conducted an independent case study over the 50 pages he either managed or had access to. He concluded that the sites with CAPTCHA turned off saw up to a 3.2% increase of their conversion rates, which is a fairly big potential gain for a lot of companies.

So why do conversion rates dwindle in the presence of anti-bots? Well for one, they are incredibly difficult to read. Illegible letter and number combinations (is that a zero or the letter ‘O’?) often take several attempts to pass. And what about those with limited vision or dyslexia? An audio CAPTCHA is sometimes provided but, according to a Stanford University large-scale evaluation, audio CAPTCHA on average takes 28.4 seconds to hear and solve and have a 50% give-up rate. And with software becoming increasingly more sophisticated, it becomes just a matter of time before a CAPTCHA can be cracked. The result? Tests that become even more difficult.

So what can be done? CAPTCHA may be unavoidable for some sites, but there are some really simple solutions that can help reduce the amount of spam you are plagued with, without interfering with user experience.

Askimet

Askimet provides an effective defense without having any effect on users. It comes as a variety of plug-ins and is generally fairly easy to implement on your site. Askimet monitors millions of sites, regularly learning new methods to combat comment spam.

The Honeypot Technique

Essentially, this technique hides a designated field on a form from the human user. Machines will still detect the hidden field and will mark it. If a rogue form is submitted with the invisible field marked, it will be discarded.

Confirmation Page

As the user enters his information on one page and submits it, he will be taken to the next page and prompted to confirm the previously entered information. This prevents robots from successfully entering information as they typically focus only on the page containing blank fields.

Interested in discussing other ways your website can boost your conversion rate, give us a bell on +64 9 950 2140 and find out why we’re so confident that we can boost your bottom line!

 

How your mobile browser experience affects your SEO

Search engine optimisation can be a tricky procedure for any business — especially on mobile. But as we live in the now, a world of tablet computers and smarter smart phones, we must accept the decline of the desktop in favour of something more portable and accessible. In the end, mobile is the future. While we cannot predict when mobile search will overpower desktop, it is inevitable. And to help ease us through the transition, Google has ordained and established a few suggestions.

 

 

Responsive Design — This is Google’s recommended configuration

Responsive design crafts sites to provide an optimal viewing experience — easy reading and navigation with minimal scrolling and re-sizing. And isn’t that what it’s all about? This type of web design adapts the layout to the viewing environment, which is great for mobile, tablet, and desktop devices! If you want to play it safe and smart, consider using this type of design for your next site (will also save you the headache of having to code both mobile and desktop sites).

 

Mobile Redirects

Mobile redirects are particularly essential to an eCommerce site with a variety of products. For example, if a person searches for “soccer ball” from a mobile device and a result is returned by say, Rebel Sport, that result must be directed to the mobile version of that page. In the event that only a portion of this site is optimised for mobile (home page, checkout, About page), it is recommended that the user is taken to a specific page, and not one which is a mobile-optimised home page.

 

Stay away from Flash!

Attempting to load a web page from a mobile device, only to find that is uses Flash, generates mounting frustrations as you unwillingly lower the proverbial anchor on any thought of further page navigation. Using embedded video that has been developed in HTML 5 will be accessible to all users. This way, if someone does happen to access your desktop site from a mobile device, the video will work seamlessly, and any attempt to view your product or service will not be thwarted by inflexible Flash.

 

404’s are a sure fire way to kill the mood

When Google says, “All pages should be optimised for mobile,” Google means it. If your site is mobile-friendly, but redirects users to a desktop 404 page, you’re still not quite hitting the mark. It is essential to confirm that your mobile 404 page is, in fact, formatted for mobile. Bear in mind that mobile 404 pages can be interesting and interactive for your users. Perhaps a game or a quiz?