THE 7 STEPS TO A MARKETING-FOCUSED WEBSITE [VIDEO]

When we founded Rock Paper Simple, we decided we wanted to approach websites differently… from a standpoint of treating them like web-based marketing platforms and to ensure we provided something uniquely powerful to every client, we developed our own unique methodology, The 7 Steps to a Marketing-Focused Website. Watch Scott and Joshua go over these 7 steps in a quick overview.

7 Steps

Call-to-Actions and How to Make Them Effective

We all can name a website or two that doesn’t do much more than take up memory in cyberspace. It doesn’t engage visitors, and it doesn’t generate leads. It’s possible your current website isn’t rocking the web like it should either.

The majority of our clients at Rock Paper Simple need a website that’s designed to impress and drive results. One of the many ways we help our clients generate leads and create conversions is through effective call-to-actions on their website. Some websites don’t use call-to-actions, and if they do, they aren’t effective. All of our websites are designed with results in mind, which means more leads, conversions and sales for you. Would your business benefit from that? We thought so too!

What is a Call-to-Action?

A call-to-action is a line of text, usually placed in an image that prompts visitors to take action. The action you want the visitor to take could be anything – “Click here to schedule your 30-minute consultation now,” “Download our free e-book,” or “Get started today!”

Call-to-actions can also be placed in e-mails, at the end of a blog or a social media post.  Of course in the non-web world, call to actions are also used on just about any type of media advertisement including printed pieces, radio, TV and more.

Five Tips for Effective Call to Actions

Writing a call-to-action that compels your web visitor to action doesn’t have to be this long, overwhelming process. In fact, these five tips will simplify the process and allow your website to kick your business into overdrive.

1. Alignment/Relevancy

Have you ever clicked on a call-to-action only for it to lead to the wrong page? How does that affect business? If you’re depending on your website to bring you leads, a disconnect will have the visitor more likely to leave than become a lead.

The call-to-action must align with the page it lives on and where it redirects. We have a call-to-action at the bottom of our web design page encouraging visitors to schedule their 30-minute consultation. Since this page educates the visitor about our services, this call-to action fits the page by giving them the option to find out more about our web design services, ultimately creating a visitor into a lead. However, if that particular call-to-action lived on “The Simple Team” page, the visitor may feel that we are pushing our services too soon.

2. Clear and Compelling Message

Before a visitor clicks on a call-to-action, they have to be convinced they will get value out of doing so. One way to communicate value is through a clear and compelling message that creates a sense of urgency.

First, every call-to-action created needs to answer what you want the visitor to do and why. No one is going to click on a call-to-action that doesn’t communicate the benefits up front. When writing a call-to-action, plan for results that will not only accomplish your goal but also the visitors.

3. Use Them-Centric Copy

The majority of your website’s copy, including call-to-actions, should be solid, benefit-based content that speaks to your target demographic. It’s likely your customer is visiting your website to learn how a product will benefit them. Vague descriptions, fluffy words and industry jargon are too hard for visitors to understand and should be avoided.

Here at Rock Paper Simple, we practice what we teach. Using them-centric copy is one of our seven steps to building a marketing-focused website. Our webpage has call-to-actions and messaging that speak directly to our clients and their needs.

4. Visibility

Seems kind of obvious, but if your call-to-action isn’t visible, it’s pointless. Whether the call-to-action is placed above the fold or below, we found that as long as it’s near strong, supporting information, conversions will take place. Size and design are also important elements to consider. Visitors won’t notice your call-to-action if it falls flat and blends in with the page. By changing the button’s design to a complementary color (we call this an action color) and an appropriate size, it’s likely the visitor will notice and take action.

5. Keep It Simple

One of our company’s favorite phrases is “Keep It Simple.” Too often, we see businesses over-complicate their websites and marketing strategies to get a lead, when in reality, they end up pushing consumers away. Simplicity is what consumers want. Focus on delivering compelling content that concentrates on the user’s benefit and interests. Keep it simple, and they will engage.

Call-to-actions are one of the many ways Rock Paper Simple helps your website work for you and kick your business into overdrive. Would your business benefit from increased engagement? Click here to schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation now!

5 Call-to-Action Examples That Are Rockin’ It Right Now

Call to Actions can be a simple button placed after some text, or they can be a more elaborately designed button that stands alone. You have them sprinkled into social media posts and they’ve been written into your content, but are your CTAs the best they can be? If you aren’t seeing a whole lot of conversion from your current strategies, take a look at these Call to Action examples that we think have great technique.

The Balancing Act:

Check out Spotify’s homepage. They have two Call to Action Buttons because they’re targeting two different types of listener, and they’re a great example of why simple often prevails over flashy, especially when you have more than one CTA. While the pink and purple colors of their site definitely catch our attention first (what happened to the green?!), the contrasting and bold white text is really what dominates our focus. Their design works because they kept text to a minimum, they showcase their product through a subtle background of playlist cover art, and their CTAs are highly visible to both types of listeners which maximizes their opportunity for new sign-ups. Spotify made a great decision to have their Call to Actions side by side with only a slight difference between them; the darker hue that backs “Get Spotify Free” almost blends in at first glance, bringing our attention first to the button they’d prefer us to choose- “Get Spotify Premium.”

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Being Socially Savvy:

Implementing good strategy by utilizing Ad opportunities on any social media platform will help boost your business. With the right verbiage, imagery, and intent, you can connect with your target audience and start to build a customer relationship that leads to conversion. Currently there are now many options to choose from across a variety of platforms, but the most popular option has become the Ads that appear integrated into user “Home” feeds. Advertising on Social Media lets you briefly showcase the highlights of your business or brand identity, and by using amazing graphics, offering sneak peaks, and bringing quality content to followers, you can lead potential clients to your website (and convert ‘em!). So if your marketing goals are to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your site, or expand target reach and grow your customer base, then social media CTAs are for you. Here’s a fine example of a CTA on a feed-style Ad from NatureBox on Facebook:

Surprising Humor:

This pop-up from Good Housekeeping abruptly stops us from reading whatever article we clicked on by taking up the entire browser window, but the bright colors and fun language keep us from getting too frustrated. Through clever verbiage, simple design, and bright colors, this refreshing pop-up effectively gains email subscriptions because it has us admitting that we could use a little help keeping things clean around here. Even if you aren’t interested in giving GH your email address now, the lighthearted jest of the exit link appeals to clean freaks and reluctant scrubbers alike, and encourages them to click through the site and read other articles- and thus gaining followers.

 

Embracing Window Shoppers:

Prezi has a very minimal homepage with a lot of whitespace surrounding their text and Call to Actions, which draws a visitor’s attention to the video banner and colored CTA buttons. Similar to Spotify, Prezi balances two main CTAs side by side (for individuals vs. business), however underneath those there’s a CTA that draws even more attention. Prezi encourages visitors to “See the Science,” embracing the fact that most people want evidence of success before they invest in something. The iconography and colors that are used draws our eyes down the page, and they pave the way for even more visual aids on the linked page. This CTA clearly illustrates that Prezi has research relating to the effectiveness of their product and that they want to share it with us. This refreshing Call to Action method encourages people to make an informed decision by learning something before they sign up, and “See the Science” is definitely a unique take on the traditional About page.screen-shot-2016-09-20-at-12-03-40-pm

The Doorstop:

The final plea to users, an exit CTA is a pop-up window that most websites set to appear around the average exit time of that page. These CTAs traditionally offer a discount or incentive, and then provide two options- stay or go. They can sometimes be seen as a nuisance, but if designed correctly, doorstops can be a very effective method for keeping users on-site, capturing leads, and getting visitors to convert to buyers. Take a look at this example from Copyhackers. The colors are positive, the layout is clean, and the language is relaxed. Instead of expressing urgency, the tone of this exit CTA says “Hey, your stuff is probably already great but before you go, here’s an opportunity to be even better at what you do…do you want this resource?” It uses buzzwords like share, success, and steps, which leads us into thinking, “Hmm, maybe I want to at least skim through this ebook after all.”

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Call to Actions are a super important part of marketing strategy, and hopefully you’ve already incorporated some that are working for you. We just wanted to give you guys a bit of reference for CTA techniques that are working really well right now for these businesses, to help you get the creative juices following for your next site upgrade or campaign push. It’s always a good idea to collect examples of website features, CTAs, or other digital marketing aspects that inspire you to make changes for your business. This way we can help you make those adjustments and strategize with you on how to meet your new goals!

Five Ways to Stay True to Your Brand on Social Media

Today, social media is the fastest way to expose a brand, so it’s essential that it’s represented and communicated accurately. A brand is anchored by its values, and there’s no better place to let those values shine than in the social realm. Whether you’re just getting started in social or have been a pro for years, here are a few ways to ensure that you’re staying true to the brand you’ve worked so hard to build.

 

1. Know Your Social Personality

Before you can stay true to your brand in the social media world, you have to know what your personality is. Social media creates space for your brand to reveal its authenticity and give a great picture of what you’re about. While some brands may default to humor, it’s not the only way to be personal. Maybe your brand is warm and caring, or maybe it’s more direct and serious – whatever it is, be sure that the tone of your posts shows the personality you wish to convey. The best way to establish your personality is to outline your brand’s values and identify your audience.

 

2. Be Creative but Consistent

You can’t have creativity without some consistency. Once you’ve landed on what your brand personality is, ensure that the majority of your content follows that voice and embodies your values in every post. So you’ve decided you want to up your creativity with #WisdomWednesday? Go for it – but make sure the content stays in line with your brand personality and is posted consistently each week.

It may feel constraining, but as with many lessons in marketing, some rules are meant to be broken – as long as they’re executed strategically. Say you have a fairly “serious” voice in the social realm, but every once in a while, you want to infuse a sense of fun with your audience. Feel free to stray from the norm, but make sure it’s executed thoughtfully and is appropriate for your target audience.

 

3. Be Visual

Whether your business is finance or fashion design, the best way to reveal your personality is through imagery. Never has a picture been more worth a thousand words than on social media. Social Media Examiner found that photos are the most engaging type of content on Facebook, with a staggering 87 percent interaction rate from fans. Whenever possible, opt for utilizing photos and videos to communicate your values and showcase your personality.

 

4. Stick to a Story

Every brand has a story – whether it’s the story of how the company was built or the stories of who it impacts on a daily basis. Story matters, and on social media, it can be one of your greatest tools. The strongest connection a consumer, donor, or partner of a brand can make is to hear from someone just like them. Utilize your staff and customers to share their own stories and use them in the social realm.

 

5. Be Responsive

You may have noticed that some Facebook fan pages have started displaying response rates to messages and inquiries if more than 90 percent of them are answered in less than five minutes. More and more, consumers are trying to connect with brands via social media rather than the contact form on their website. Whether through messages or comments, each post gives you the opportunity to connect with your audience directly, so take advantage of it and invest time in responding efficiently.

Along those same lines, take this opportunity to show authenticity with your brand. If someone uses your page to post problems or complaints, respond quickly and graciously. This will show that you’re not only determined to help in any way, but also that you’re paying attention.

 

Want to better understand your unique brand personality? Click here to connect with our team!

Experiences Sell!

experiences-sellEvery product or service has some sort of experience attached to it. Everything from the initial contact, to the way the sales person talks to you, to how the ordering or purchase process takes place, to how the product or service is delivered, to how the company follows up with you and everything in between is all part of the experience.

Ever purchased a great product, but had a bad experience around it? Ever purchased a product or service, and had such a great experience it almost didn’t matter how good the product was?

I’m sure you’ve experienced both.

Apple is a great example of a company that has built an experience around their products. Buying an Apple product, an iPad, an iPhone, an iMac… it’s just plain FUN! The Apple store is different and exciting, their reps are friendly and helpful and the packaging is designed so it’s even fun to open the darn thing! The support, setup and followup is also a pleasure. Most people I use this example on are smiling at this point and saying they want to go to the Apple store now.

I have an iPad and I love my iPad, but I’m of the firm belief (uh, oh, I’m about to start a fight aren’t I?), that the Apple products aren’t proportionately better in quality than their counterparts, yet they get away with a higher price and create fanatics, in part, by the great experience tied directly into every aspect of their brand.

When it is all said and done and the product or service has been provided, what do people remember most? How they were treated… how the experience was. Take a look at the average review left for a product or service and you will find many references to the experience provided. If there any bad experiences with staff or the process, you are bound to hear about it.

Long afterwards, you remember the experience. How it made you feel and if you enjoyed it or not. I hear many many stories from people about their experiences with products or services. Some good, some bad… but overall, people talk about their experiences because that is what they remember. The trinket they bought might be long-broken and gone, but they remember how much fun it was to buy it and how friendly that woman was at the counter.

Does your client or customer have a great experience when they buy from you? What will they remember from the experience of working with you or buying one of your products? Was it enjoyable? Were you friendly? Professional? Was there something unique about the process that made it memorable? Did they have fun or learn something?

You will always sell more, retain more existing clients and get better word of mouth if you create an experience around your product. Experiences sell!

If you have not taken a look at your experience, give it a look and make sure it is memorable… in a good way! It doesn’t need to be rocket science or cost you an arm and a leg… but it does need to be different and memorable and it does need to be a process or system that you put into place and make policy.

 

For example…

Here at Rock Paper Simple, we strive to make every new website an experience that our clients will enjoy and remember. It’s something that one might think might be boring or disinteresting for one of our clients, but we found creative ways to keep them engaged and on-board.

We start with our energetic welcome email that takes the new client to their “Development HQ” where they are greeted with exciting copy and directed to very clear steps detailing what they can expect next so we dispel any fears, confusion or apprehension right away. We provide them with an online questionnaire form, a form to send us files directly and a scheduler to schedule phone meetings with one of our staff. We also include links to easily share that they are getting a new website on major social media platforms and graphics for them to use to share the excitement as well.

We schedule an initial planning call where we strategize about their website and how to present their messaging, call to actions and lead capture methods. We explore their brand and unique offerings to find the best way to build their website. And of course, we are always personable and pleasant.

They also continue to receive educational and fun emails from our system through-out the development process so they stay connected, learn alot and have fun even when they are waiting for us to send the next revision.

When the project is over and we deliver, we ensure everything is just right and double check they are pleased with their website. We follow up with a thank you and a small gift and finally we send them some cool business cards with their website address on them too.

We know that people remember experiences and they will pay for good experiences… so we do more than just sell websites; we sell an experience as well.

 

How can you make experiences sell for you?

So how can you build an experience around your brand; your product or service? Can you add some fun or education? Can you improve the pleasantness of initial contact or continued contact? Can you add a followup policy? Perhaps you can setup a series of email autoresponders? Is your website easy to use? Do you have a customer login or dashboard that makes it easy for them to engage and stay updated?

Ultimately you need to make sure the client or customer feels engaged and cared about and has a unique and enjoyable experience. If you can do that… you’ve got a happy customer who will tell others and probably buy from you again.

 

A final thought

One final thought on the experience you are offering your clients. How is the user experience on your website? For some of your prospects and clients, your website is where the experience with your company begins. The experience should be a good one. How does your website make people feel? Is it easy to use? Is the navigation clear and concise and can they find what they are looking for quickly? Does everything on the website work properly?

If you deliver your product or service directly through your website, it becomes even more critical that your website is designed and developed with the user experience in mind. So many parts of the customer experience are directly related to the web presence and some of the great ideas we have seen for customer experience can be creatively accomplished via an enhanced website.

Remember… experiences sell!

The Top 10 Website Pitfalls to Avoid #10 – No Traffic Strategy

The Top 10 Website Pitfalls to Avoid Rock Paper Simple 10Oh yea… we made it! We’ve gotten through all 10 pitfalls and with plenty of time to spare… and here’s #10! 

This one doesn’t really have anything to do with your actual website at all… but it is just as important as all the others, because if you have no strategy to drive traffic to your website, there really is no point in having it!

This is one of those questions we ask our clients. “How will people be coming to your website?” This really should be determined before even building your website, as it can greatly affect how it should be laid out.

Many companies have great websites with fantastic visual and call to actions, but they are not seeing the results they expected? Why not? Because there is simply no traffic going to the website! A website can only convert traffic that it receives. So how are people finding your website?

Without some sort of marketing to drive people to your site, your website would be like a billboard put out in the middle of the Sahara desert, wouldn’t it? It would be completely worthless and it won’t be seen by anyone… except the random gerbil and gazelle (yes, I used gazelle as an example on purpose and yes, they live in the Sahara desert).

So make sure you come up with a strategy to drive traffic to your site. It can be any number of marketing techniques including internet marketing. You could try search engine optimization, pay per clicks, social media marketing, content marketing, blogging, postcard mailings, speaking engagements, networking, radio and any other number of methods.

Just make sure you don’t have any of the other major pitfalls on your site once you do drive traffic to it!

Download our FREE eBook that includes the other 9 reasons!

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