8 Money Drainers on Your Website

By on March 30, 2013

8 Money Drainers on Your Website

I see it all the time: Businesses miss opportunities and waste money online. Over the past 20 years of conducting academic research and working with clients in the private sector, I’ve collected tens of thousands of data points that show there are eight areas where most companies misunderstand online consumer behavior. These money drainers cost you visitors, leads, and conversions, but they are fixable.

1) No Baselines or Goals

Take a look at your analytics. From those numbers, create a baseline for metrics, like unique visitors and lead generation, so you know where you’re starting. Then, establish S.M.A.R.T. predictives — that is, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-sensitive goals. What’s your goal for traffic and unique visitors for the coming quarter or year? What about the number of leads?

2) Lack of Distinction:

What are you uniquely qualified to provide, and who are you providing it for? Fill in the blanks of this XYZ statement: We do ____(x)_____ for _______(y)______ so they can ______(z)_____. Now, post this statement on the left side of your homepage above the fold.

3) High Bounce Rate:

When somebody visits a page on your site and immediately leaves without making a single click, that’s a bounce. The typical business website has a bounce rate between 50 and 60 percent. You can track your rate for each page in Google Analytics. Your goal should be 30 percent or less. Getting your XYZ statement right is the first step in reducing bounce rate because you help visitors understand exactly what you can do for them as soon as they arrive.

4) SEO Done Poorly:

You should know by now that SEO isn’t about keyword placement. It’s a much more complex, moving target. If you’ve had an SEO expert work on your site, measure the results by comparing before-and-after analytics. If you don’t see enough improvement, do your research and seek help from someone who can offer predictable, measurable results.

5) Not Knowing Your Customer:

I advise businesses to create a client avatar. Are your typical clients in school? Are they parents or retirees? What are their challenges and fears? What keeps them awake at night? I call my client avatars Sally and Harry. They’re business owners who are ambitious and active learners, but, sometimes, they feel like they don’t know what they’re doing — especially when it comes to digital marketing. They’ve been burned in the past by so-called experts, but they yearn to trust someone who can deliver on promises. Knowing this about my clients has helped me serve them better and tailor my site content to meet their needs.

6) Poor Customer Experience:

You may not even realize that your site is difficult to navigate. What seems clear to you may be confusing to a visitor. Ask yourself what your visitor is looking to do — make a purchase, ask a question, etc. Use easy-to-follow instructions, buttons, and other cues to guide visitors.

7)Too Much Industry Speak:

Your content should sound like it comes from a person. Yes, this should be obvious, but it’s a problem I see far too often. Remember that you’re trying to make an emotional connection with your visitor, not just wow him with facts, stats, or your knowledge of industry jargon.

8) Ambiguous Calls to Action:

Each page of your site should have a clear call to action — along with an easily identifiable step the user can take to move forward.

Of these eight areas, we usually address bounce rate first because it’s the most expensive money drainer, as well as the easiest to fix. Why is it so expensive? Assume you have a typical conversion rate of 2 to 4 percent. If your bounce rate is 50 to 60 percent, you’re losing nearly 42 percent in revenue. For some of my clients, that’s $250,000 a year or more.

In addition to getting your XYZ statement correct, there’s another step you can take to keep visitors on your site long enough to make a purchase: Reduce design clutter. Harvard Business Review recently reported that more choices for consumers lead to inaction. So limit the big points on your page to three, and don’t forget a clear call to action.

By eliminating these eight money drainers from your site, you’ll see improved analytics data — and significant increases in sales.

Stephen Woessner is a digital marketing professional, bestselling author, speaker, and educator. He is founder and president of Predictive ROI. To learn more about Woessner’s patent-pending process for increasing site traffic, visit StephenWoessner.com.

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