Guiding Website Visitors To Action
In my last post, I spoke about writing customer focused website content. In this post, I will focus on the path your visitors take through the website to reach the end goal via the calls to action found in and around your content. OK, let’s get down to business.
First, let’s assume that you have well written, clear, customer driven content. When customers read your content they get excited about your product or solution and can identify with the problem of need that it addresses. If this is the case, great! If not then go back, read my last post and get writing! Our next step is now going to be to plan the path that our visitor is going to take and present the options in a clear and easy to understand way.
Paving The Path Of Persuasion
The first thing we need to do is identify what the purpose of each page is and whether or not it is enough to convince a visitor to convert on its own. To do this, I always start by making a few assumptions:
1) This is the first page that the visitor has viewed
2) They probably won’t read every single word on the page (visitors typically skim)
3) They know nothing about me, my products or my services
With these 3 things in mind we can now start to build the various actions that will be found in and around our content.
1) What primary page or pages are essential for the client to read in order to convert?
2) What secondary pages might the visitor need to read to gain further knowledge on what we have to offer?
3) What is the final, ultimate conversion action? Email, phone call, buying a product etc.
For example, while the “About Us” page often provides some fantastic information to build credibility and trust in our company, it still doesn’t answer the most important question that our visitors are asking, “What’s in it for me?” This page then, is unlikely to persuade visitors into a direct conversion. We need to provide them with the other information needed to convert.
Adding Hard And Soft Calls To Action
Now that we have identified and prioritized the different paths our visitor may take next, we need to put up our road signs. There are a couple different ways that we’ll be doing this.
1) Adding links in a featured way, directly telling visitors that they need to click and learn. This is a hard call-to-action. For example:
2) Look for keywords and phrases in the content that refer to the secondary pages and make those words links to those pages. This has both an SEO and a directional benefit. When a visitor sees mention of the topic, such as search engine optimization, they get curious and click on the word to learn more about it. Ensuring that we have a couple of these (don’t overdo it) on each page will help guide visitors through our website without pushing too hard. This is a soft call-to-action.
3) Providing a loud and clear call to the final conversion. If the visitor has read other pages, they may already be close to converting. We need to make sure that we provide that conversion action in a clear way on every single page of our website. A visitor should never have to hunt for your Contact Us link in the navigation. That’s out going to cut it! This action can be a quick contact form (such as the one on the left side of every page of our website) or a featured product. Make sure that it is located above the fold so that it’s easy to find. We don’t want our visitors to have to scroll and search to find it.
To Sum Up
What we’re trying to do here is guide our visitors on two levels. We’re offering various paths all branching off each other throughout the website while always keeping a direct line to the end goal available. If we simply put up a bunch of pages with information and a contact page, our visitors are not going to take the initiative to find that page and contact us. This is probably one of the most common misconceptions out there so I’ll say it again. Visitors will not take it upon themselves to contact you. You need to hold their hand and show them where to go. We always want to be dangling the carrot of conversion in front of their nose. Hopefully, if we’ve done our job right, they’ll bite!