The Key to Successful Internet Marketing

Process Optimisation Leads the Way

To make the most of your on-line presence it is no use focusing on just one or two areas, such as Search Engine Optimisation or Social Media. You need to develop an internet marketing strategy that is all inclusive and make improvements to every aspect of your this strategy, in order to generate increased brand awareness, customer loyalty and sales. This is where Process optimisation comes in. Process Optimisation is all about making improvements to the whole process.

So how do I start? Put yourself in the shoes of your customer and start at the very beginning of their search all the way through to the final purchase.

Let's take as an example, someone looking for a specific product/service.
 
1. They type in the name of that product in their internet browser and up pops pages and pages of websites advertising that product/service for sale, as well as pay per click advertising.

2. They have to choose which website to click on - your's or one of your competitors.

3. Once they have clicked on your site, they arrive at the web page selling the product - your landing page.

4. They click on the purchase button and add the item to their shopping cart.

5. Next they proceed to the checkout page where, assuming they are not a returning customer, they will need to complete the delivery and billing form information and buy the product.

6. Then, the confirmation of order page thanks them for their order, advises them that they will receive an email confirming the order and the anticipated or pre-agreed delivery options including date.

7. They receive the confirmation email.

That's the end of the online part of the sale but the process is not complete as far as the customer is concerned until they have taken possession of the product. So Product Delivery and Handover of the goods are all part of the process and will impact on a customer's decision on whether to buy products from you again. After all, as with any business, customer loyalty is the holy grail of internet shopping.

Optimisation of the whole process is needed in order to gain repeat business.

Let's take all these separate stages in turn and focus on how to optimise the process.

1. Search Engine Rankings/Pay per Click Advertising

Whilst Search Engine Optimisation still helps get your website pages to the top of the rankings these days it is great content that is liked which tends to get you noticed more. Your choice of Keywords or key phrases are still crucial, particularly if you are selling a common product that many other sites are also selling but they must be relevant to content on the page.

Pay Per Click Advertising can help get your site noticed by placing you on that all important first page of the search results. However, be careful in your choice of paid keywords, as you need to make sure that those who find your site are actually looking for that particular product and not something else which had the same name or achronym. Otherwise you could find yourself spending a fortune on PPC advertising with little return. On the other hand say on average 200 people click on a Google Ad every day and 5% of those proceed to the checkout and click the submit button. That's 10 sales.

2. Getting Customers to Click on your Site or your Google Ad

While good SEO and mentions on Social Media sites will help get your website noticed by placing you towards the top of the listings, what will encourage them to click on your site or your Pay Per Click Advert rather than a competitors? Look to optimise the following:

  • The Page Title - make sure it contains the relevant keyword or Key phrase is unique and is less than 65 characters
  • The metadata description - This should be relevant to the page and contain information about the product including price. This is what is displayed underneath the Title page of your website by the search engines. So make sure you get this right. Make it stand out from your competitors to encourage customers to click on your website link.
  • The headline of your Ad - make it eye-catching but relevant
  • The copy of your Ad - keep it short but sweet - people tend to scan copy far more on the internet than they do printed text.
  • The display URL in the Ad - again make it short, so as not to detract from the product you are trying to sell.

3. The Landing Page

Make sure the landing page takes them to the relevant section of your website. Having done a Google search for a particular item they don't want to end up on your home page, only to have to start the search all over again. That is frustrating. They may have already clicked on several competitors' sites trying to find the product they are after and for one reason or another decided not to proceed with them. Usually, this all boils down to a lack of trust. If a visitor to your site doesn’t trust you, there is virtually no chance they’ll become customers. If your link takes them direct to the product they are after you are more likely to gain a sale, as they will be grateful that you have directed them straight to the product and have more trust in your website and in your company. Consider the following:

  • Headline of the Landing Page - make it clear and concise, so they know they are on the right page
  • The Copy on the page - keep it relevant and to the point.
  • The font and colours used on the page - if you have a branding style, font, colours then stick to them. If not make sure the colours and font type and style are attractive and consistent.
  • Pictures and Graphics - make use of pictures and graphics but make sure these are of good quality and have been optimised for the web. Depending on the product, options to view a short video or 360 degree visuals can be informative and help clinch that all important sale. Make the first 10 seconds of any video count. Include a 'call for action' at the end of the video or 360 degree visual. Predictions are that content will be more visual moving forward during 2014, so the case for great design has never been stronger.
  • The actual offer - including price and any special offers
  • The Shopping Cart is instantly visible.

4. The Purchase Button

Make sure with your purchase button, the following are all consistent throughout your website

  • The Placing of the button on the page
  • The size and shape
  • The wording
  • The colour
  • The font type and style

5. The Checkout Page

Look to optimise the Checkout Page by reviewing the following:

  • The wording at the top of the checkout page
  • The Layout of the checkout page
  • Ease of use of the checkout page - it should be easy for customers to increase or decrease the number of their items they are ordering at this stage, as well as having the option to delete an item or continue shopping.
  • The use of testimonials on the checkout page - this can give, particularly first time customers, added confidence to press the confirmation button.
  • The placing, wording, size, shape etc of the confirmation button
  • The delivery and billing forms - make these clear and concise, with auto fill and save for next time options to speed up the process.

6. The Confirmation of Order Page

Points to consider in order to improve the experience for your customers are:

  • Keep the confirmation of order page as short as possible
  • Options for printing, saving or emailing to a friend a copy of their order.
  • Don't forget to thank them for the order
  • Give an indication of the delivery schedule,
  • Include customer service contact details and order tracking information.
  • Try including a special offer code, as an incentive to come back and place another order at a later date, or include details of some other special offer.
  • The positioning and wording of the special offer on the page.

7. The Confirmation Email

The confirmation email should contain all the relevant information from the confirmation of order page in an easily readable format about the product(s) ordered. Try:

  • Including additional purchase offer details or a special discount code.
  • Including delivery tracking links in the confirmation email, where applicable.

8. Delivery

Keep the customer informed of when the item has been dispatched and when they can expect delivery. Alternatively, your carrier may provide the option of a tracking service, which the customer can access for themselves. Provide a contact number so that the customer can contact you in case of a delivery problem. Make sure any issues are resolved promptly. Don't forget that how your carrier performs will have an impact on your customer's experience and will influence their decision on whether they become your repeat customer.

Follow up the delivery with an email offering additional promotional items and the option to sign up to receive regular special offers. Think about including a link to enable them to download a your Mobile App for free. Remember, content marketing is king. Studies show that 68% of consumers read content from brands they like. Also consider including in this follow up email an optional quick customer satisfaction survey.

The points mentioned above are just a few examples of the things that you should be working on to achieve optimisation. Some will be a matter of trial and error until you find what works best. But don't forget, to achieve real success with internet marketing, process optimisation is an ongoing task of testing and improving every small part within the sales chain. However, don't change everything at once otherwise you won't know has had the biggest impact. It's far better to test the changes out one at a time and see what the impact is. At least this way you can tell what works and what doesn't.

Finally, make sure everything is optimised for mobile users.

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