Keeping us clothed is a $1.5 trillion industry that consumes a lot of resources and casts a large environmental footprint.FULL STORY
Build Your Business: Management
How to Make Your Website Into a Prospect Magnet
As we enter 2014, nearly everyone has a website. It’s part of doing business today. According to a recent Google survey of online search and presence, 92% of consumers will start their search for a local vendor online. More importantly, 74% of those searching for information online will eventually make a purchase locally. Unfortunately, nearly every website I see fails to deliver the critical elements necessary to book orders. Our industry is comprised primarily of small, local businesses serving local customers. The traditional methods of promotion and selling have focused primarily on word-of-mouth referrals. While more and more people are making Internet purchases, the majority wishes to do business locally if the local business can be competitive.
This is great, but it’s unreliable in the sense that we can’t control the flow or when we need those referrals. Consequently, it’s common to see shops with big peaks and valleys in their sales and production, which leads to difficulty in managing cash flow and production hours. The referral market also is difficult to track and measure. You never know who’ll refer you, how long it will take to get a referral or the value of it. The things we’d like to measure are the direct relationship between the referral and the person doing the referring, the number of referrals from a source and how long it has been since we did business with that person.
Lastly, many of our referrals come from friends, acquaintances, colleagues and business associates. Traditional networking via chambers of commerce, service organizations and school groups are the typical ways people hear about us. All of these methods rely on our messages reaching the people who can make a difference for us and remaining at the top of their minds when it comes to decorated apparel. This is no small challenge.
First, it’s important to distinguish the difference between digital and traditional (or analog) marketing. In a nutshell, traditional marketing is called “push” marketing because we’re constantly pushing our messages out to the world and traditional media is broadcasting them far and wide while we cross our fingers hoping enough people will see or hear them and take action. It’s not very efficient. Digital marketing is known as “pull” marketing because we’re attracting our audience. Unlike push marketing, messaging is all about customers and their problems. They are searching for solutions to those problem and we want to be the option they find and select.
TEST NO. 1
Look at your website and count how many times you find “we,” “our” or “I” in the copy. Pay particular attention to your “About” page. Personal pronouns signal that the message is all about you, not the prospect. Consider rewriting the content from the viewer’s perspective. What’s in it for them? When everything you do is about your potential clients, they’re much more attracted to you.
While you care a lot about your equipment, capabilities, location, skills, awards and so on, you viewer has seen it all before. The October 2013 Neilsen Online Trust survey reveals that marketers’ messages and claims are trusted only 13% of the time. To attract and engage viewers, the messaging needs to be about their problems and how you can solve them.
TEST NO. 2
How do you capture user contact information? Do you ask for a name and email? This should be on every page. If you have no way to collecting this information, how can you stay in contact with your site viewers?
Every website needs two things to be successful: qualified traffic and high conversion of the traffic to your list. Visitors who land on your site, look at one page, and then head somewhere else are called “bounces.” Google penalizes your site if you have a high bounce rate. It’s typical to see non-optimized sites with bounce rates of 60%-90%. This means that six to nine of the 10 people who land on your page abandon it before they’ve had a chance to become engaged with it.
TEST NO. 3
Do you have Google Analytics installed on your website? This tool measures very important information, like the number of visitors (both unique and returning,) where they came from, keywords they used to find you, conversion path, conversion percentages, etc. There is a wealth of information and it’s free for the taking.
TEST NO. 4
Do you send traffic to your homepage or to specific, targeted landing pages? One of the most common mistakes is sending visitors to a generic landing page. They almost never want general information; rather, they are searching for more specific, specialized information. When you build specific pages based on their interests, engagement increases and bounce rates decrease. Both are good for you.
The kinds of pages you will be making are determined by the analytics information you gather. By looking at the keywords being searched and how your prospects arrived at your site, you can craft specific pages that are highly relevant to them. Examples include contract printing, events printing, school apparel programs, fund-raising T-shirt programs and so on.
One of the fastest ways to be found in your local market is to pair your city with the keyword being searched. This becomes the name of the specific webpage. For example, if your company is ABC Printing.com. The page might be abcprinting.com/contract_screenprinting_albanyny. If someone in Albany is searching for contract screen printing, the search engine will give you preference if the person searching lives in the Albany area. It compares the IP address of the computer to results in that area. This is called “geotargeting” and is quite effective.
TEST NO. 5
Do you have calls to action (CTA) on every page? These are specific offers you make to engage the visitor. Some people call them lead magnets or lead bait. It means you give something away for free in exchange for a visitor’s name and email address.
I have given away a free report called “Top Ten Quick Start Secrets to Printing Better Halftones” from my halftonesecrets.com website. This is a free PDF e-book that’s been downloaded more than 6,000 times to date. I’ve built a list of the people who downloaded it, and many of them have become customers or have purchased educational programs or training from me.
This is a relatively easy technique and can be very effective with the right offer. For my own custom T-shirt site, the free report is “The Consumers Guide to Custom Printed T-Shirts.” It is very helpful in educating visitors on what makes a great printed T-shirt or T-shirt program. It reduces the time you need to spend with them when they visit your shop and educates them with the right questions to ask as they are shopping.
TEST NO. 6
Do you have a Facebook fan page? This is where the engagement really comes in. Everyone’s somewhat familiar with social media, but like websites, it’s nearly always used improperly or underused.
Facebook is the most powerful marketing tool I’ve ever seen. Not only will your page engage your market, but it can dramatically grow your prospect list both in your local community and outside of it. You can have multiple fan pages just like you can have multiple landing pages.
For example, Biker T-shirts’ fan page has recently exploded in popularity. At the time I captured the image shown in this article, the company had 243,641 “Likes” and 49,998 “People Talking About This Page.” That is enormous. Those Likes equate to individual users and as a marketer on Facebook, you have access to each them. Can you imagine having a list of 243,641 potential buyers? What makes this page so stunning are the nearly 50,000 people who are posting on, commenting on and sharing this page daily. This means nearly 25% of the list is actively engaging with the page daily.
Think of your own situation. What kinds of websites or businesses do you want to receive information from? How frequently do you want to receive it? What makes that information valuable to you? Consider these things when taking a look at your own website and poise your site for success.
Mark A. Coudray is a respected and well-known industry innovator and strategist. His works have been published in more than 400 papers, columns, features and articles in major publications in the U.S. and abroad. Coudray has been an active member of the Academy of Screen Printing and Digital Technology since 1989 and has written for Impressions since 1978. For more information or to contact Mark, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit coudray.com. Hear Mark speak on digital marketing at a workshop at the Atlantic City Imprinted Sportswear Shows. All-day workshops are just $99 if you pre-register: issshows.com.
More Build Your Business
If you’re busy, does that mean you’re making money? Or are you so focused on getting work—any work—you’re no longer paying attention to your bottom line?FULL STORY
Taking out a loan or leasing to increase production capacity can help grow your embroidery, screen-printing or heat-pressing business, but do your homework first.FULL STORY