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Archive for the ‘Conversion Optimization & Usability’ Category

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Tag – Your Website’s It!

By | August 1, 2013

tagline

Have any of you ever experienced the oddly existential situation of visiting a website for the first time and having no idea what the website is about—and for that matter, what the business behind the website is about? We see it occasionally here, and rest assured, we deal with it for our clients as soon as possible.

There are several reasons why smart and successful companies can fall into the trap of ambiguity with their Home Page. Sometimes, a business has a very specific, niche market using industry-specific terminology that the rest of us just don’t understand. Or the company uses bland or generic keywords that can mean many different things, such as solutions, applications, services or tools. Quite often, the people designing the website and content forget to write for new customers—they themselves understand their business, so it just does not occur to them that others might not be so discerning.

For all these scenarios, taglines are one of the easiest ways to help prevent the problem.

Taglines, normally placed at the top of pages beneath company logos, help to communicate the value proposition of a business to new readers. Offering the Latest in Medical Devices at Discount Prices is a good example of such a tagline.

Then you have taglines that are designed to convey the character or history of a company. 50 Years in the Recycling Business and Going Strong is one such tagline.

You can even use taglines to enhance SEO efforts, as your crafted phrase will appear on every site page and will be indexed by search engines as long as it is implemented in HTML and is not just a graphic. Bioinformatics Software for Research Today is an example of a keyword-rich tagline.

Although this all sounds stunningly simple, you’d be surprised how many companies forget to incorporate a tagline on their website, which is why I turned a tip from a blog post a few months back into a full-fledged post.

Make use of well-crafted and thought-out taglines. Your new visitors will thank you for the effort, often by giving you their business.

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Using CTAs to “Direct” Your Website Visitors

By | June 13, 2013

maze

By now most marketers have heard about personas, buying cycles and lead nurturing strategies to nourish your potential customers as they search and decide whom to buy from, and when. There’s some psychology involved, and some content marketing involved as well. There’s also some good old-fashioned product innovation required in order to really stand-out from your competitors, and some branding never hurt either.

Assuming that your business website holds all the information necessary to convince and elicit a sale from a potential customer, are you getting your site visitors to that information appropriately? This is not a trick question, and this is not a test either, but rather a simple way to look at what can become a complex problem for online sales – are you providing convincing and compelling content at the right stage of the game to engage and meet the needs of your potential customers? CTAs – not the Chicago Transit Authority but rather calls-to-action – can help mightily.

As a great friend in the online marketing business used to say to me regularly, “this isn’t rocket science.” In other words, it’s not Einsteinian and it does not require a super-brain to figure out what to do with a website to make it a great selling tool.  First you help folks to find it (SEO) and then you provide the content they need in order to understand the value of your product or service (Content Marketing)and then you get them to engage with the website now or later (CRO). We always use CTAs as a way to get readers to engage with the site, but here’s a novel idea – use CTAs to direct your visitors to an appropriate page on the site to provide them with the information they need.

For example, let’s say your website sells discount cards for car washes – the value proposition being that buying a car wash card will let you pay for multiple car washes more cheaply than if you don’t have the card. On your Home Page you probably don’t want the CTA to be “Buy Now” and link to the Payment page – there’s still too much information that your potential customers need in order to be convinced that your car wash card is a good deal. Instead, how about a CTA like “How It Works” that links to an explanatory page on your car wash process? Or a CTA that reads, “What Our Users Say,” that links to a page of testimonials describing customer joy at the money they’re saving while they’re keeping their automobiles shiny and clean.

And then of course on those two pages mentioned you can place a CTA that reads “Buy A Trial Card Now” that leads to a payment page.

See, it’s really NOT rocket science at all, but strategies like well-placed and intentional CTAs can make your website shinier and more productive. A website-washing service….hmmm?

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4 Quick, Effective Ways to Market Your Nonprofit Online Today

By | May 13, 2013

Nonprofit Summit 2By now, you’ve heard a lot about how Fathom gives back to the community, including through May 3rd’s first annual Nonprofit Marketing Summit.  I was incredibly proud of my fellow Fathomites that day for putting in tremendous thought and effort into their presentations, and the way we made online marketing accessible to the non-technical Marketing Directors and Development Directors in attendance. If you haven’t flipped through the slides yet, never fear – I’m going to give you some tangible, quick ways to make a big impact, based on what we reviewed on Friday. If you want more details, the links will take you to the presentations so you can dive deeply into each subject.

1. Take advantage of Google

They’re a $289 billion company, so you’re darn right they should be giving back to humanity, and they do. If your nonprofit isn’t getting its $10,000 in free online marketing dollars, then what are you waiting for? Get your Google Grant application in today! One of my clients, ARZU Studio Hope, uses its Google Grant to drive thousands of paid clicks to its website, leading to donations and purchases of their handmade rugs. Moreover, familiarize yourself with Google for Nonprofits, as there are some nice perks in there that can help spread your organization’s message. Finally, ask your website developer to set up Google Analytics (totally free) so you can start understanding the behavior of people on your website, set up goals that you can easily measure, and much more. These days, I live and breathe Google Analytics, and I can’t believe I spent 12 years working in nonprofits without having used this helpful and insightful tool.

Nonprofit Summit 32. Start thinking about content marketing and SEO

Without getting too technical, what you write influences how you rank in search results; how you rank influences how much traffic you draw; and how much traffic you draw directly correlates to how many donations you’ll receive, volunteers you’ll engage, and supporters you will speak to. When it comes to SEO, start small – pick 30 keywords relevant to your mission that you want to focus on, and then direct all your content creation to include those 30 keywords. You can use this free tool to set your baseline rankings, and then try to see them improve over the next 12 months. My suggestion is to ask your entire staff to write one blog per month, and then you – the savvy Internet marketer that you are – can go through their posts and “optimize” them by inserting those target keywords.

3. Conduct a “Poor Man’s Conversion Analysis”

As my colleague Mike Perla is the first to say, “Drive all the traffic you want to your website, it is worthless if it doesn’t convert.” To understand how conversion works on your website, sit down with someone who has never been to your site before, but who represents your target audience. Ask them what they’re feeling throughout their experience. Focus on readability, usability, and easing the person’s flow through the site. One tangible example – when my nonprofit switched our online giving tool from the cumbersome PayPal to the more streamlined JotForm, we saw our online giving shoot up overnight. Most importantly, know what actions you want your audience to take – donate, volunteer, advocate, etc – and have clear, concise calls to action that will engage them. Want to go deeper, or have a tech-savvy volunteer? Set them up with Visual Website Optimizer (also a free trial) to A/B test different messaging, formats, and calls to action so you can better understand what resonates with your audience.

4. Embrace New MediaNonprofit Summit 1

Social media and video are here to stay, so you better get used to them. You don’t have to do it all yourself – these are the perfect
activities where interns can pitch in for volunteer hours or class credit. When I was a Development Director, I sent emails to all the local universities and design schools begging for video interns; pretty soon, I was inundated with amazing students doing fantastic videos (this one even led to us winning a $100,000 national competition!). I’ve also been impressed by ThunderClap, an easy-to-use platform for spreading the word quickly through social media. So whether we’re talking about charity:water’s mini-documentaries or just Gangnam Style, video is incredibly powerful, and it spreads like wildfire through social media. Leveraging these tools to spread your message will take your nonprofit’s digital marketing from good to great.

So I know what you’re thinking – there’s no way you can fit this into your already-packed days, or you don’t have the knowledge or skills to do these things. Don’t despair! Online marketing is a marathon, not a race. Construct a marketing plan and stick to it; try to spend one hour a day working on these activities over the course of many months, and you will see results.

Even more important, think about these tasks as your own professional development, an investment in your own professional future. By building your knowledge of Internet marketing, you are building knowledge and skills that are critical to the 21st century workforce. And who knows? Maybe it will be you teaching at the Second Annual Nonprofit Summit!

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How To Convert More Through Email Marketing [White Paper]

By | March 5, 2013

OK, so you’re great at creating email newsletters. You always offer interesting information, and the templates are pretty. Enough people like them that you have a significant subscriber base (let’s say 50,000 for example).

But here’s the big question: How much are you converting?

If your conversion rate is on par with the  industry average, you could actually be earning up to 9X below what you’d earn with superior conversion. “How do you attain superior conversion,” you ask?

Download Fathom’s new white paper to find out:

5 Facets of Superior Email Conversion.”

Some of the secrets Fathom’s Chris Nichols, Director of Email Template & Landing Page Conversion, shares:

  • The power of continuity
  • Designing email templates for conversion
  • Designing landing pages for conversion
  • Macro- vs. micro-conversions
  • The importance of thank-you page

Boost your email conversion prowess by following 5 Fathom guidelines.

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Fathom Wins Gold at Which Test Won’s 2013 Online Testing Awards

By | February 26, 2013

Fathom’s talented conversion rate optimization team, led by Mike Perla, brought home the gold ribbon at Which Test Won’s 2013 Online Testing Awards for their form testing work with Gemm Learning. Approximately 200 entries from more than 150 companies competed for these awards internationally. (Also see our news release.)

This month judges reviewed the entries and chose tests that would be inspirational for the marketing, analytics and web design communities. Judges based their winning selections by a variety of criteria, including technical and tactical basics, measurements used, results data (including counter-intuitive results), and applicability.  In the end, they selected only 32 winners in 13 different categories.

The winning Gemm Learning case study is now inducted into the WhichTestWon.com Hall of Fame. This case study explains how Fathom was able to increase completed form submissions by 36.92% at a 99.9% confidence rate. Awards judge Dan Slagen stated, “The obvious changes are around general aesthetics as the landing page transformed from mundane to captivating.”

Mike Perla’s team has previously received recognition from Which Test Won, having won multiple “Tests of the Week” for a variety of clients, including a radical form redesign for IXACT Contact and lead gen test for Talbott Recovery. To view all of the 2013 Online Testing Awards winners, visit WhichTestWon.com.  While you’re there, vote for which version you think increased form submissions for Gemm Learning.

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