The digital age has created a consumer landscape completely different from its counterpart of the past, and marketing tactics that fail to recognize this are doomed to fail miserably. Most purchasing decisions are made online, which makes your company's website an essential tool for increasing profitability. However, it's not enough to simply put up a website -- the key to keeping bounce rates low and conversion rates high is to craft a user experience that keeps visitors interested and wanting to know more. Studies have shown that you've got a matter of seconds to engage the average user before they click away.

Here's how you can make that happen:

Targeted Content and Messages

Old-school business strategies designed to cast as wide a net as possible aren't a good plan in today's global marketplace. Identifying your company's target audience and directing your marketing efforts toward that demographic is far more effective than running blanket campaigns. Defining a target market allows companies to focus their resources on those consumers most likely to purchase specific goods and services, and it's virtually impossible to develop an effective marketing campaign without first identifying a target audience. 

Target market segregations typically include lifestyle, age, location, income, and professional status. For instance, if your product or service is designed to appeal to 20-somethings with extra cash to spend on fashion accessories, your message is lost on senior citizens looking for bargains on travel and dining options. 

Trust and Credibility Badges

One of the essential factors in any business relationship is trust, and first impressions play a huge part in whether or not trust is a part of the picture. First-time visitors to business websites often automatically check for a Security Socket Layer (SSL) certificate on the checkout page before moving forward with purchases. These certificates provide consumers with assurance that you've taken the precaution of implementing safeguards for the purpose of protecting sensitive information such as credit card numbers and passwords. 

Providers of SSL certificates offer trust badges that can be displayed on your business website. Many modern consumers look for these badges and will click away if they don't see them. As an added benefit, websites that display trust badges generally rank higher on Google than their badge-free counterparts. 

Industry badges & certifications

Also, if you have specific industry badges and certifications, make sure that you are showcasing those on your website where users can see them. These badges and certifications instill trust in your users that you are good at what you do and are recognized in your industry for it. Don't forget that certifications and reviews are extremely important to potential customers, as 80% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Streamlined Interfaces

Potential customers are highly likely to click away when faced with too many distractions on a business website. Although your site shouldn't present an amateurish, bare bones appearance, it shouldn't be so crowded with distractions that customers become impatient and decide to go elsewhere. Examples of harmful distractions include overly vague headlines and text that makes readers feel as if they are playing a guessing game  -- customers should know immediately what kinds of products and services your company offers. Headers in particular should be short, descriptive, and on point. 

Adding embedded YouTube videos to their websites is another common error. When you're using embedded videos, YouTube shows other suggested videos after yours has come to an end, and they may be completely unrelated to your business. To keep this from happening, be sure to click the "show more" option when sharing the video instead of just accepting the default, and you'll see a box that says "show suggested videos when this video finishes." Unchecking that box before you copy and paste the embed code onto your website prevents this scenario from occurring. Limiting videos is another way to keep your website distraction-free -- many users quickly navigate away from sites when confronted by video overload.

Big Blocks of Text

Another common distraction on business websites is big blocks of text. The majority of today's consumers scan for relevant points rather than read long paragraphs, so keep content scannable. Paragraphs should be kept to less than 100 words, and the entire page should have plenty of white space. Using bullet points and numbered lists substantially increases scannability. 

Avoid Stock Photos

Investing in professional photography and graphics is also essential to creating a distraction-free website. Good photography in particular has a lasting impact on visitors -- most people remember pictures much better than words. 

Focus on Contact Calls to Action

Your contact information as well as the buttons necessary to navigate the rest of your site should be easily visible. Keep fonts clean and clear -- curlicues, calligraphy, and other fussy embellishments distract the eye. 

On Point Calls to Action

Calls to action (CTA) should be clear, concise, and on point -- although it's fine to use a little creativity when crafting an effective CTA, there is no room at all for vague or mysterious wording. Starting out with a solid command verb conveys a sense of purpose and excitement. Provide visitors with a reason why they should follow through -- if you're selling tropical vacations in winter, for instance, you can say something like "Flee the Freeze and Fly to Fiji." Over the course of time, you can use A/B testing to identify the CTA strategies that work best with your target audience. 

Your CTA should also walk that fine line between so inconspicuous that customers struggle to locate it and being too much in-their-faces. 

Continual A/B Testing 

Making regular A/B testing as part of an ongoing Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) strategy helps identify what inspires visitors to remain on your website and what causes them to click away and continue their search elsewhere. For instance, you can compare the performance of your current CTA with their counterparts of the past and view the results in an analytics dashboard. This arms you with real data that takes the guesswork out of optimizing your website, allowing you to create and maintain fine-tuned marketing strategies that speak directly to your target consumer.

Please contact us at your convenience to learn more about best practices for increasing conversions by creating an optimal user experience with the usability and web development experts at Marcel Digital!