5 Lessons from the Road: Address Your Audience!
Whew! Just got back from a whirlwind wedding, honeymoon and road trip combo – and of course, being the web junkie that I am, I couldn’t help but think about work. (Bad Tara, bad!) Here are some lessons from the road on how to address your online audience!
5. If they want X, they’ll probably want Y. One thing that really impressed me about our honeymoon cruise to Ensenada was how well our cruise liner had thought of everything we could possibly want to do (or spend money on). For example, they plan on doing a formal night on the cruise, which is great for fools like me who like to make anything romantic. Then, as you make your way to your formal dinner, feeling dressed to the nines, there’s a staff of professional photographers waiting to take your portrait. I couldn’t turn them down! Even with the $20/print pricetag.
You can take this lesson and apply it to your website by really thinking about which services or products your clients will want in addition to what they’re offering on the page. For example, a cosmetic surgeon’s page on liposuction might be a great place to put a Call-to-Action for brachioplasty (arm lift) or buttock augmentation. This helps your bounce rate, time on site and helps convert visitors to patients.
4. Make them feel special, even if they aren’t. One thing our cruise director did that kinda creeped me out, but was totally effective, was demand that the entire staff knows you and addresses you by name. Even though I know that they did it to everyone, it still made me feel like the staff had taken a special interest in our happiness. It encouraged me to tip better (even though the cruise line automatically deducts tips for most things) and I was generally more friendly with the staff than I might have been otherwise.
You can use this lesson by adding little personalized touches to your interactions and responses to potential clients or customers. Set up an auto-respond email that not only addresses the emailer by name, but includes the products or services they were interested in. It’s also a good idea to make sure the staff answering the phone is making the caller feel comfortable and welcomed. Some phone tracking companies offer conversation recordings and keyword analysis, which can be really handy in determining if your reception or secretary staff is making the phone call feel personalized and sincere.
3. Make smart partners. For the stay surrounding the wedding, we stayed at a Mariott. For those of you who don’t know, Mariott hotels use Bath & Body Works’ Aromatherapy shampoos and conditioners. I know of several women that prefer to stay at Mariott because of this fact alone. I also used to work at B&BW, and several women each month would straggle into our stores with a tiny empty bottle from the hotel wanting to buy the big one for $20 a pop. Talk about a brilliant partnership! The hotel gets preference because of someone else’s established brand loyalty, and that “someone else” gets a few thousand extra sales every year because of it.
You can apply this to your website with your link building strategy. Got a great cosmetic surgery website? I know a great cosmetic surgery compression garment company you might want to make friends with. Practice personal injury law? Why not make friends with a few brain and spine injury rehabilitation centers? The possibilities are endless. Ask yourself, who can I help who can help me in return? It may be your local church or governmental organization, if nothing else.
2. Hold their hand, every step of the way. When I look back on my wedding planning, it’s amazing how many little things sculpted which services I wound up using. Your spa doesn’t have a website? Sorry, not interested. Your florist doesn’t know if jasmines are in season? There are 20 other florists who probably do. Your restaurant is named Valhalla? I don’t even care what you serve, my husband wants to say he ate at Valhalla the day of his wedding.
I once read a really great article (and I’m devastated that I cannot find it now) that outlines the entire process from internet browser to customer for e-commerce sites. Since our clients primarily offer services, I’ll try and do it from our potential visitors’ point of view.
- Search Google for what I’m interested in.
- Check out the services that show up in the Google Places box at the top.
- Maybe call a few of those services.
- Start checking out some websites.
- Look for all the information about the services I’m interested in on the website. Does this person know their stuff?
- Look for before and after photos, testimonials, ratings in Google Places and local sites, anything to give me an idea of how well this guy does what he does.
- Look for some information about the person offering the services. Do I feel comfortable choosing this person?
- Submit a contact form or call them (if I haven’t already).
Alright, now here’s all the ways you might lose a visitor (based on the above).
- Did you show up on Google for what they’re interested in? At all?
- Did you show up in the Google Places box? This is as far as some web visitors ever get. That’s right, you could lose them before they even get to your website.
- Did you have a phone number on your listing? Does it work? Lots of Google Places listings get out of date… don’t let it happen to you!
- Do you have a website? Please tell me you do. Even if you do have a website, make sure the name and description of your site is inviting and informative (think: Valhalla).
- Do you have information on the services they’re looking for? Is it better than your competitors’?
- Do you offer B&A photos and or testimonials? This is a big must for the majority of your visitors. Having a listing on several reliable local sites (Yelp, YellowPages, Best of the Web) is a really good idea for this reason.
- What about information on yourself, including a photo? Would you find yourself likeable, if someone read the page about you and your office?
- Small-but-big question: does your contact form work? Does the thanks page that it redirects to look nice?
1. Know your audience. Look for clues. This one was the lesson from my trip that struck me the most. Imagine walking down a crowded dirty street in Ensenada (the one pictured, near La Bufadora) with shopkeepers hollering at you left and right, trying to get your attention. Nothing startled me more than when a few of the vendors shouted out something along the lines of, “Hey! You, Honeymooners! You, the Broncos fans!” Troy and I both looked at each other, dumbfounded, until we thought about it for a second. We were young. We were holding hands. We both had really shiny rings on. Troy was holding a Broncos serape (although it was impressive that they could tell what it was through the shopping bag). It sure got our attention!
Those Mexican street vendors taught me a valuable lesson about internet marketing. (How often has that sentence been written, I wonder?) If you want to get someone’s attention… learn something about them! There are numerous ways to do this on your website. The ones that I suggest can be done with Google Analytics:
- Check out which service pages your visitors visit more often.
- Install a search bar and track queries.
- Add Event Tracking to CTAs and Videos to see how often they get clicked on.
- Compare your site’s top keywords to results in tools like Google Insights for Search. Is that keyword on the rise, or decline? You can also use Google’s Wonder Wheel to come up with some related keyword ideas to target.
- Set up Goal Tracking and see if you notice a pattern on when visitors are more interested in your services (so you can take advantage of it!)