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February 16 2010

Are You Asking For Too Much from Your Visitors?

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I speak with many clients on a daily basis with lead generation sites. Clearly, the most integral component of a lead generation site is obtaining leads. This typically occurs through an online form, which should qualify the visitor as well as possible. For example: Which specific service is your visitor interested in learning more about?

One of the biggest mistakes I see (unfortunately way too often) is an online form that has an excessive number of fields, which can be downright overwhelming. This is bad enough; however, some forms take it a step further and require that all of the fields be filled out before visitors can click to submit the form. This is a huge no no. You want your form to be brief, user friendly and with as few required fields as possible. If you require too many fields, you may lose potential leads. Reason being, the average person will not take a liking to being forced to tell you their entire life story (I am exaggerating a bit here) in order to obtain the requested information.

So what should the required fields be? Well, every company is different and it depends on the specific action item you are asking your visitor to take. I can give you my 2 cents….With a Newsletter signup, the only requirement I would have is a valid email address. You can then reach out to thank the visitor for their interest and see if they would like to speak with someone from your organization in more detail. For a Whitepaper download, you will want to know which particular whitepaper they are interested in; a drop down menu usually achieves this task. On our Website, one of the action items is to request a Free Search Engine Visibility Report. In order for our team to complete the requested report, we must have a website. Therefore, that is field is a requirement.

I encourage you to take a look at your online forms. Are they clean and professional looking with as little required fields as possible? If the answer is no, now is the time to make some modifications to improve your overall intake of leads.

February 3 2010

Do You Really Need a Mobile Site?

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There’s been a lot of hype recently with regard to making sure your website has a mobile friendly version available for Blackberry, iPhone, Android etc. users. How important is it really? Think about it this way. The vast majority of your site visitors have a mobile device, right? Well, the number of those mobile devices with internet capabilities is growing quickly and will continue to climb. You ought to ensure that you have a mobile site that represents your business well and can be easily accessed and viewed from any mobile phone.

That being said, have you ever looked at your website on a Blackberry or iPhone? If not, I encourage you to do so. Once you finally get it to load, how does it look? If you do not have a mobile version of your website, my guess is not so good. Oh wait, scroll to the left, now to the right, then all the way down. Get my drift? The purpose of having a mobile site is to present a simplified (yet still aesthetically pleasing) version of your website on a handheld device. The site should be no more than 4 to 5 pages of branded/informational content and should include components that a mobile phone visitor would want or need. So what would they want or need? Mobile searchers tend to be impatient; they want to find what they are looking for quickly and easily. Some examples include:

Directions – This is absolutely critical if you are a brick and mortar business. Think about how many people will use their phone to find directions if they are lost!
Contact Us – No matter what type of business you are, you want your visitors to easily be able to reach you.
Request More Information – This could be a brochure, or simply a request to have someone call or email them back.
Newsletter Sign Up — An excellent lead generator!
Services — What exactly do you offer?
Social Media — If you are participating in Facebook, Twitter, etc. you can include links and logos on your mobile site.
Also, don’t forget to include a link to your home page for those who wish to view the site in its entirety.

At the end of the day, for a relatively low cost, you can create a mobile friendly version of your site. It doesn’t require any of the functionality of your main website and can become an excellent branding tool. Why wouldn’t you have one?

January 19 2010

What is Bounce Rate and How Important is it?

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Google Analytics defines bounce rate as “the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page.” Wikipedia defines it as “the percentage of initial visitors to a site who bounce away to a different site, rather than continue on to other pages within the same site.”

Both of these above definitions basically say the same thing. What a marketer needs to know is that the lower the bounce rate, the better. So what is considered a good bounce rate? There are actually many different opinions on this. Some experts say that 50% is average and anything lower is considered above average. Others say that a number below 30% is what you should be striving for.

Monitoring your bounce rate can be a very valuable tool, but also a bit misleading and therefore should definitely not be the only way you are measuring your performance. A high bounce rate typically translates into a visitor that was not sufficiently engaged and left your site without so much as visiting a second page. A high bounce rate is also an indication that your visitor was not as qualified as you had hoped for.

That being said, this may not always hold true for lead generation sites. Think about it this way…lets say that you’re running a Pay per Click (PPC) Campaign, you have a lead generation site and you are sending visitors directly to your form page. If a visitor fills out the form and your website is not configured correctly (in other words, the URL does not change when the form is filled out), this could result in a “bounce” when in actuality, your searcher completed the desired action item. This often occurs with blogs, as well. Visitors will reach your blog, read all of the way through and then exit when done. For this reason, blogs tend to have a high bounce rate, as well.

While I encourage you to pay attention to your bounce rate, as it can be a useful way to gauge progress, other factors should also considered, such as time on site, landing page quality, percentage of new visitors, etc.

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