Is Ugly Better? Why a Direct Response Website is actually a thing of Beauty…

By Haydn Rowe

Creating a website can often be an extraordinarily confusing process. Everyone gets to have a say (it seems) and often what looks good gets picked over what “works good.”

The result is painful – a good looking website, often with decent (even high) levels of traffic – but NO leads, NO prospects and NO new database contacts.

The reason for such failure is simple – you end up with an online brochure (a bad one at that) rather then a direct response-marketing website.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

There are some very straightforward things you can do to turn a brochure website into a direct response website and in doing this transform your business by getting more phone calls, emails and database signups.

They are…

1) Developing a Keyword Plan

Choosing the right keywords for the landing pages on your site helps search engines ‘understand’ and therefore index the pages of your site.

This will result in your site ranking higher on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) when the relevant keyword is used as a search query.

Furthermore, it will enhance the performance of your PPC (Pay Per Click) campaigns, resulting in more traffic – often for less money.

2) Simple Design and Navigation

People don’t come to your site to be impressed with your company’s creative graphic design and creative page layout ideas.

They want information, solutions to problems, inspiration – so give it to them. Make the content high quality and use a design and navigation that makes accessing the information easy and straightforward. No one should have to pause and think to try and figure out how to move around your website.

3) Compelling Copy

Visitors to your website want relevant, high quality information and they want it right now.

If you don’t present them with the information they are looking for, then they’ll hit the back browser button and your hard won visitor just “bounced” right off your site and out of your life.

Great headlines, well written and compelling copy, good use of sub headlines, images and captions all contribute to keeping visitors on your site.

4) Ask for the Order

If you had a salesperson who spoke to lots of potential customers but never asked for the order, or never ushered the customer down the next step in the sales funnel, the chances are you’d fire them. Websites should be viewed in the same way.

Visitors, on average, will look at between 3 and 8 pages on your site. They pick those pages at their discretion, leaving you with no idea at which point they will become ‘sold’ on taking some action.

Make sure you have a ‘call to action’ on every page. This should be in the form of sidebar banners for your ‘visual’ browsers, in the masthead banner for immediate impact, and, especially important, text based ‘call to actions’ in the copy so visitors with ‘banner blindness’ will still be enticed into taking an ‘action’.

5) Create Packaged Information offers

Some of the people who visit your website are in an early research stage. Don’t let them come, browse and then leave your site without trying to persuade them to take some form of action.

Create a must-have buyers guide, valuable white paper or unique special report which you offer on the website.

Visitors then complete a form requesting your guide, and in the process complete their first transaction with you.

Although no money has changed hands – they got a valuable (to them) package of information, and you got their valuable (to you) contact details.

Now you can start to communicate with them and develop a relationship that means when they become ‘open to buying’ and your chances of getting the deal are high.

6) Newsletter Sign Up

At the very least, ask visitors to sign up to your newsletter in exchange for special offers, the latest new products and services and invitations to special events.

Get these things in place and you’ll transform the performance of your website.

What’s the downside?

Well – you have to think more.

You have set clear objectives, and use them to guide the development process. You have to be clear about who you are targeting. You have to create better content and you even have to be prepared to mess up your shiny new website a bit.

By that I mean – you have to create more forms, more links, repeat your call to actions and have more copy and content. Some people would cut these down (or out) because they certainly don’t create a ‘clean’ website.

You could even say they make websites uglier.

Now I don’t think you have to have ugly – but ugly and high performance can, and often do, go together (take a quick look at www.amazon.co.uk if you don’t believe me – pretty ugly, but the highest selling website on the planet).

If it came down to a choice between beautiful and no leads or ugly and a phone that rings off the hook, a steady stream of email enquiries and a fast growing database – I’d take ugly any day.

Your Website

We build direct response websites. Our team of web developers, search engine experts, graphic designers, copywriters and marketers create “built in” direct response websites by default.

It is so strongly engrained in our ethos, thinking and creative process that you could be accused of thinking that we have some special direct response website DNA genetically engineered into each and every one of us.

To discuss how we can create a brand new, direct response website for your business call us now on 01536 747310 or send me an email now.

If you want to find out how we can fix your current website (not everyone needs a new site) you can request a free Website MOT here.

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