In online marketing, clicks are a currency. We bank on making it happen and we’re busted when it doesn’t. This thing many call the sales funnel or buying cycle is often largely a series of pick, point and click decisions. It stands to reason, becoming a more effective online marketer calls for getting our heads around reasons why people click links and buttons.
Let’s examine the critical clickable items your prospects will come across on your site and interaction points around the web. I’ll share examples where online marketers demonstrate a keen understanding of “clickology” and offer pointers to help you increase click-to-convert responses.
As you know, a vast majority of the time, the online relationship begins on Google. Obviously, understanding how to rank in searches and how your results are presented is all-important. On the other hand, these are not easy tasks. Google is a perpetually moving target and, for obvious reasons, doesn’t reveal the secrets of search—just general guidelines.
Here we have a search engine result for a web page authored by WordStream founder Larry Kim. I don’t want to get into SEO deeply, however it is mostly the execution of search principles that makes this listing so compelling.
SERP perfection. I clicked. Follow these guidelines and I’ll be clicking your listing too.
While the ratio of clicks on organic search vs. paid is roughly 4:1, for most short keyword phrases there’s plenty of searches to go around. Therefore paying for visibility on a SERP via an advertising program such as Google AdWords can be very effective.
In many instances, for many product categories, those that click paid ads are more prone to converting. While it’s still common web surfers are unaware of the difference between organic and paid search, those that knowingly click on an PPC ad tend to be in shopping mode and are more likely to break out the credit card.
Another benefit of PPC advertising is it allows you to rank high immediately. The same obviously cannot be said for organic search no matter how SEO savvy you may be.
Here’s the “top of the page” variety of two AdWords PPC ads (as opposed to the right sidebar) that were served as a result of searching for “Newport Beach Hotel.”
So, you’ve been discovered. A visitor arrives at your website. Next, we could go over the usual sections visitors expect to find such as “about” and “services,” but I want to focus on a section they usually don’t.
Have you ever sold anything to anybody without asking what it costs? And what about when you’re the buyer?
A great website allows the visitor to easily find what they’re looking for, which is primarily answers to their questions. Among their questions, of course, will be “what will this cost me?” You might call this “rates” or “fees” or “plans” or “pricing,” as my friends at Time for Cake have done at their website.
Far too many websites do not offer information about prices. Big mistake. You’ll lose a lot of prospects this way. Or, what may be worse, if you offer a premium priced service or product, you’ll waste far too much time dealing with those that can’t afford you.
Of course, for many businesses, mine included, it’s usually not feasible to put a specific price tag on a specific product type, but that doesn’t mean I can’t provide the visitor the info he’s come to find out: what my prices are based on, and how they compare. Time for Cake’s done exactly that by publishing ballpark prices for the various types of websites and marketing programs they most often provide. That’ll due just fine.
Your visitors are going to find the answers to their price questions. If they can’t find them at your site, they’ll find them at your competitor’s.
Smart online marketers deliver valuable information with a lead nurturing email marketing program to those who opt-in. How do you make this happen?
You’re looking at the email form from my website. It’s done well for these reasons:
Please tell me your website features some offers, free gifts. There’s no better way to kickstart the relationship.
Copyblogger CMO Sonia Simone calls them “cookies”—free enticements offered in exchange for your contact information. Conveniently, the example I grabbed here is for a baking cookbook. I suspect this cookie has worked out sweet for “The Prepared Pantry” and its website.
This offer really cooks. I’m thinking maybe you want to see for yourself or snag the book. I’ll send you to the site if you send me some baked goods… > How to Bake: The Art and Science of Baking
Your contact form doesn’t have to be fancy (though this one is).
I love this form page.
Here’s another excellent contact form. It actually does have some qualification fields, but the light touch don’t deter me at all. Bonus points for the red button and social media links.
Let’s make this simple and say “follow” is universal to social medie even if a fancier verb goes in its place. The idea is simple too: you’re choosing to subscribe to the author’s updates. Why would you do that?
Of course, in the context of this lesson on online marketing, “follow” and “share” are both actions you take with social media, but they’re different.
The idea here is you want readers to share your content, be it a blog post, statistic, news update, photo, video, etc. Getting this to happen consistently will boost your online marketing success in many ways.
Of course, it starts with a click, but will often continue with a comment, question, endorsement, or thanks. So why might someone tweet, like, +1, share, pin, social bookmark or click one of those little green omni-share buttons that invokes long lists of websites and services?
Play means watch…
And play means listen..
And if you’re extending your digital footprint with additional media such as video and podcasts, clearly you want people to find it, tune in, subscribe and share—all of which, starts with a click.
Heidi Joubert (video of above) of CajonBox.com is a percussionist who offers free and paid resources for learning how to play cajon. Why do I click her videos?
The podcast above is mine, the third episode in a new series, “The Point – In Your Ear.” So what have I done to encourage you to click?
Here we are at payday, the grandest of all clicks and therefore typically the result of doing well with the tactics we’ve covered here. This first example is actually a free trial. No financial transaction is required. However, to the growing universe of electronically delivered products and services, a trial is the objective (because sales should follow).
What do I like about the FreshBooks trial (or why click “Create Your Account”?)
The following is a catalog page. No freebies, but a lot of click magnets.
We’re not quite done. The online marketing and sales cycle often does not have a happy ending. Here’s one of the most commonly clicked buttons of them all.
Why are visitors so compelled to click the back button, type another URL, switch to another tab or just bail? Suffice to say, they didn’t find what they were looking for on your website or you stumbled somehow, somewhere. I hope the tips and observations I offered help you reduce backbuttonitis and foster more click to convert action on your site.