10 Essential Tips for Ecommerce Web Design

When selling your products online, the design of your e-commerce website can greatly impact your online sales. The design of your e-store has gone from a convenience to a significant strategy element for businesses. It can help a business establish their identity, develop its brand, and make its products stand out from the competition. However, you need to tread carefully when designing your site. The wrong web design could cost you potential income and have an overall negative impact on your business. But, there is a silver lining to this cloud, following these tips will get you on to a better user experience and improved sales numbers.

Are You Mobile Friendly?

It’s 2015, a responsive, mobile friendly e-store is no longer a competitive advantage or customer convenience, it’s a necessity for doing business online. With ComScore releasing a recent report that mobile internet use has now surpassed desktop use, being mobile-friendly is needed to keep up with your competitors. This change from desktop to mobile shopping will impact B2C and B2B customers alike.

A Professional and Polished Logo

The logo is one of the most important parts of your brand. It’s the watermark that sticks in people’s memories when confronted with something you sell. Make sure it is clean and fits your brand image. When placing it on your site, make sure that it is a high-resolution image and it’s prominently featured. Usually this is done by placing it in the upper left hand corner of the site. Additionally, you’re going to want to link the image back to the home page so that customers can easily navigate to it.

Keep Pages Clean

It’s very easy these days for a customer to have a visual overload when they go to a website and they leave because of too much choice. To keep visitors on your site, make sure to not have competing calls to action or lots of visual clutter (i.e. images, videos, etc) that would draw the customer’s eyes away from what is important.

Don’t Be Afraid Of White Space

Controlling white space through design is a great way to keep uses focused on the content. Creating this space in-between your text and images gives some “breathing space” for customers to digest information before continuing on their journey. With visuals becoming more and more the focus of competition for user’s attention on the web, less is more. Controlling what you do with white space will help improve the user experience, and increase returns for your e-store.

Use Color To Stand Out

When using colors for your website, the rule of thumb is to use a mostly neutral color palette which will help you project an elegant and modern experience. Using small dashes of colors for headlines and key graphics can draw the user to the most important information. Additionally, make sure that the color that you do use complements your logo and is consistent with your other marketing materials.

Don’t Use Generic Photos Found On The Web

Today’s consumer is extremely savvy, and can sniff out generic stock photos quicker than you can say Getty. When visitors see generic photos on your site for your services or products, they’re pulled out of the experience, and will gain a generic impression of your company. Investing in professional photographs of your products or investing in professional stock photos can really make the difference. Good photographs will catch the eye and can invoke an emotional response to the written content.

Button, Button, Where’s The Button?

The submit button is usually considered the ugliest part of a website. To help change this you could do it a number of ways. Make the button interactive, when you hover or click it, have it change color. You can also change the text so that it doesn’t say ‘submit.’ No one wants to submit to anything, so take a different approach and change it to something fun or related to the product.

The Dinosaurs Called They Want Their Flash Plug-in Back

The days of Flash have come to a close. While it was a great innovator for rich media on websites, today, there are many more alternatives that are site and user-friendly. One of the most popular options is using HTML5. With search-engine friendly text and the ability to function on practically all mobile operating systems without a plug-in, it really is the way to go if you plan on having embedded videos  or other rich media on your website.

Make Reading Easy On The Eyes

When choosing fonts for your website, keep in mind, most people are going to be on the site from a mobile device. Some large scale fonts, might read well on a computer screen, but when scaled down for the mobile screen, they lose the desired look and feel, and in the worst case scenario end up being unreadable. To get around this, it is recommended that you choose a universal font, and make sure to pick one that can be easily read at 11pts or less.

Don’t Forget To Test The Design

Finally, whenever you are changing around a current design, or planning on implementing a re-design, always make sure to test the changes. In actuality, all design decisions are really a hypothesis waiting to be tested. By using different testing methods such as A/B testing and user testing, your customers can help you improve your designs by providing feedback from real people on your different design experiments.

By using these tips, you can help bring your website to the fore and help it become an even greater revenue generator for your business. Need help designing a new website, or is your e-commerce platform caught behind the times? Feel free to drop us a line or shoot us an email, we would be happy to help your business reach even greater heights.

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8 Simple Tips For Improving Landing Pages

There’s no question about it, landing pages and the forms that come with them, are two of the most important elements when it comes to lead generation. Without them, your marketing department would be extremely limited in how they could convert website visitors into leads, and eventually potential conversions. Landing pages help us direct site visitors to pages that have the ability to capture leads more successfully than forms on other web pages. Additionally, they help focus visitors on one specific offer or product, eliminating the distractions of everything else on your website.

However, converting visitors into leads, even with landing pages, is easier said than done. There are quite a few best practices when it comes to setting up and optimizing landing pages. So here’s a few tips to help improve better converting landing pages.

 Make Sure All Critical Elements Are Included

Landing pages are used to convert visitors into prospects. This is done mainly by having them complete a transaction or collecting contact information. In order for either of these to occur, you need to include these critical elements.

  • A headline
  • Sub-headline (optional)
  • At least one supporting image
  • A form to capture the visitors’ information **Very Important**

Remove the Main Navigation

Once you have a visitor arrive at a landing page, it’s your job to make sure they stay there. So if there is anything to distract them, this can lead to them abandoning the landing page before they even convert! One of the best ways to make sure that the customer has nothing to distract them is to remove the navigation bar from your landing pages. This will help them focus on the page because there’s no place else for them to go.

Keep Your Message Consistent

What we mean by this is, make sure your call-to-action is the same as your headline of the landing page. If people click on a CTA for something you market as free only to find out that there’s a catch, they’ll immediately lose trust in you. Additionally, if the headline reads differently than what the CTA is, the customer might become confused and think that the call to action was linked to the wrong page. You can eliminate both of these issues by making sure your landing page is consistent in its messaging.

Less Is More

All of us probably remember the KISS method from high school and college, “Keep It Simple Stupid.” That same philosophy should apply to your landing pages. A cluttered landing page with lots of text and information will result in your visitors being confused, distracted, and (even worse) overwhelmed. Instead, keep the page very simple by using just enough text and imagery to get your point across.

Encourage Social Sharing

Don’t forget to include social sharing buttons that would enable your prospects to become brand ambassadors for your products. To limit clutter on your landing page, only include social buttons that you know your audience would use. Additionally, make sure to always include an email option because some people have different sharing preferences than others.

More Landing Pages = More Leads

This is pretty simple, the more content, offers, and landing pages you create, the more opportunities you have to generate leads for your business. More landing pages also means more targeted content towards your different buyer personas, which can also help increase your conversion rates.

Reduce Fear With Proof Of Protection

In today’s world, people are more protective of their personal information than ever before. No one wants to be the victim of identity theft, and websites that seem completely safe and legitimate might be hiding a dastardly bug or exploit in their system that leaks this sensitive information. Luckily, there are a few different features you can add to your landing pages that would help reduce this anxiety.

  • Adding a privacy message that indicates visitors’ information will never be shared or sold.
  • If your form requires sensitive information, include security seals, your BBB rating, or certifications so visitors know their information is safe with you.
  • Adding testimonials or customer logos is a great way to assuage your customers by showing that other companies/individuals have trusted you with their information

Short and Simple

Sometimes when people see a long form, they don’t fill it out because it looks like it could be time consuming. If your form requires a lot of fields, make it look as short as possible. Reducing the spacing in-between fields and aligning the titles to the left of each field instead of above it makes the form seem shorter.

What tips do you have for better conversions with landing pages? Let us know in the comments below!

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The Essentials of Video Marketing for Ecommerce

Video marketing has successfully insinuated itself in almost every online experience and provides the perfect complement to content marketing. Regardless if the video is informative, comedic, or somewhere in between, videos are going to play a vital role in any brand’s future marketing strategy.

Demand Metric recently released a report that 70 percent of marketers are now using videos as part of their marketing strategies. Additionally, 82 percent of marketers surveyed indicated that video content marketing has proven successful when implemented. Given these figures, there is plenty of reasons to consider implementing video content marketing in your current marketing strategy. If you need any more proof of how essential video marketing has become to your marketing strategy, just check out the infographic below.

Video Marketing Infographic

Whether you’re going to implement video marketing in your current strategy or in the future, make sure to follow these essentials to make sure your video marketing achieves optimal success.

Identify Your Goals

Before you shoot your first take, begin by thinking about what you want to accomplish with your videos. Are you looking to boost awareness of one of your products or services? Are you trying to use the video to recruit talent? Or, are you trying to increase your brand awareness?

Whatever your goals are, make sure you define them so that you can accurately measure to see if your video marketing efforts have succeeded. Along with your goals you’re going to have to define what counts as a success? Is it how many times your video has been viewed? Or will it be based on an increased number of subscribers to your video channel?

Is It Relevant To Your Audience?

To ensure that your video is relevant, think about the audience you wish to reach when you’re developing your marketing strategy. Don’t overlook the opportunity to get creative in order to reach your audience.

It’s All About The Experience

Consider for a moment, that you’ve been confronted with something you’ve never heard of. Let’s say, you’re making a dish and it requires you to temper an egg. A cooking site or blog is your best friend right? Absolutely, but a video can really show you what the technique is used for and how to do it properly without scrambling the egg.

As Michael Litt, founder of VidYard says, “video is the next best thing to being in person.” That’s because it provides us with the feeling of being there and experiencing something first hand, even if, it’s still just a virtual experience.

Have A CTA

Regardless of how well your video is acted and produced, it may fail to yield the expected results if you don’t include a CTA (call-to-action). Think about the goals you defined for your video marketing strategy, how do you plan to achieve those goals? In order to achieve the most impact with your videos and in the process meeting your goals, including a call-to-action can help you maximize that impact. Make sure you include both a visual and audible call to action to help achieve this.

Distributing Your Video Marketing

Finally, when distributing your video, make sure to distribute it to the networks that will reach your target audience the best. Additionally, make sure that you don’t overlook social media, even B2B customers use YouTube and other social media platforms when doing research on products or services. Additionally, make sure the video is optimized for mobile viewing, as over 50 percent of internet traffic now comes from a mobile source.

What do you feel is essential to making your video marketing efforts a success? Need help getting your video marketing off the ground? Shoot us an email or give us a call, we’d be glad to discuss with you how to achieve your video marketing goals.

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PPC Crash Course for E-Commerce Part 3

Continuing from the last two weeks, we’ve covered what platforms could be a good fit for your business along with researching the best keywords for your products. Then, we went over how to structure your account and set up budgets for your ads. Today, in our final part, we’re going to go over global campaign settings and how to set up split testing for your ads. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Location, Location, Location

The old real-estate adage applies to PPC in a very big way. When you upload your campaigns and ad groups, your campaign settings will automatically be set to the default settings in AdWords. So, before you set anything to live, you’re going to want to review and customize those settings to make sure that your ads are being displayed to the right people in the right places.

The first thing you’re going to want to review is the geographic locations that you want to show your ad in. You can determine how limited you want to show your ad in case you only ship to a few different places outside of the US. If you’re not limited by that, the best way to start is by including the countries that you know you receive a lot of orders from. If you plan on targeting different languages you can do this at this point as well. Additionally, you can fine-tune this feature to target specific regions or cities within the other countries and make the search as granular as you’d like (see examples below).

Country Targeting in Google AdWords

Country Targeting in Google AdWords

City Targeting in Google AdWords

City Targeting in Google AdWords

It’s All About The Networking

In addition to choosing where geographically your ads show, you can also choose where on Google’s network the ads will show. Well, outside of the ads being served on the search results, you can choose to have the ads served with Google’s search partners as well. For example if you put together a text ad, this ad could appear on non-Google websites, such as AOL search (yes, it still exists), Ask.com, in addition to other Google sites such as Google Maps, YouTube, and other parts of the Google-verse. This setting is just as granular as the geo-targeting setting above. You can pick and choose where your ad will display and whom it will display with. If there is a site or Google product that you don’t want displaying your ad, this is where you can include or exclude specific partners and sites.

Additionally, once you get some AdWords experience under your belt, there’s a whole other network known as the Google Display Network, that showcases your ads on additional sites outside of Google’s search partner network. For example, if you ever wondered how a Google AdWords ad appeared in a banner ad on The Weather Channel’s website, this is how. However, I wouldn’t recommend tooling around with this until you get some campaigns under your belt. However, if you’re feeling particularly confident in your AdWord abilities, you can find out more information on it here.

Also, you can choose if you want to include or exclude mobile devices and tablets. However, if you sell something online I would highly recommend that you advertise on these devices. Especially now that more than 50% of internet users are accessing stores and websites from a mobile device.

Ad Testing – Making Sure The Ad Brings Your “A” Game

Ad testing is very important, as it lets you find which ad is the best one for your keywords. Ads are the way you showcase your product to the world with PPC so you want to make sure you get the ad right the first time. Where E-Commerce is concerned, ad testing is all about your product segmentation. Having your ads be relevant to your keyword lists that is associated with that ad group is where your ads will shine and make sure it has a high quality score. To sum up what quality score is, is a way provided by Google to help you pay less for your ads.

Let’s take the knitting supply store we’ve been using for this series, and they want their ad to showcase their stainless steel knitting needles. If the keyword is, “stainless steel knitting needles” then they should call that out in their ad. With split testing, you want to set up two ads per ad group to test against each other to see which is running better, however, both still need to be calling out the product within the ads. What you’re testing is different benefits and features that the customer might be looking for, different destination URLs that are linked to the ads, display URLs, call-to-actions, and dynamic keyword insertion. So, this is how one of their ads could read:

Stainless Steel Knitting Needles
Our Products Are Top Notch!
Get Your Stainless Steel Knitting Needles Today!

And the other ad could read:

Industrial Strength Knitting Needles
High-Quality Stainless Steel Knitting Needles On Sale.
Get 15% Off Your First Purchase!

From these two ads, you’ll be able to track through the AdWords platform which one is being received and converting better.

Well, that’s it for our crash course! Now you’re all ready to set up and start your first ad campaign with PPC! While this outline gives you the important first steps, there is a lot of other things that can affect your campaigns after they’re launched. However, if you’re curious about what else you can do to analyze and track your AdWords campaign, you can check out Google’s own guide which goes into great detail on how everything works and how you can effectively track and use the product to your advantage.

Take care and Happy Ad Hunting!

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