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The End of the Road

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Donovan Cronkhite
President, RjM

Posted On December 13, 2005

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Search Engine Optimization

You've just clicked the final button on the beginning of your Google AdWords campaign. If you've selected the right keywords, traffic is starting to see your ad and click through to your web site. In a matter of days, you can see the difference the AdWords campaign has on your web site's traffic logs. Success, right? Well, maybe.

Stopping the Traffic

Often, the traffic to your web site is too easily compressed into neat little numbers. Visitors are reduced to a path, an elapsed time or a browser name. Too often we forget that visitors are actual customers. Their experience on your web site should be just as pleasurable, if not more so, than their experience in your actual building.

Take a look around your building. If a customer walked through the front door, would they know where to go to find what they're looking for? Would they know what your company does or what's on sale this week? Could they find someone to answer any questions that they might have? In almost every case, the answer to these questions is a resounding 'yes'. Now, ask the same questions about your web site. Is your answer still 'yes'?

To effectively turn the traffic created by your Google AdWords campaign into sales, you need to employ some of these tactics on web sites. This will stop the traffic being sent to your site from moving on to another. It will also compel visitors to act in some manner.

Using an Example

The Google AdWords campaign that RJ Michaels, Inc. started in August was effective in all but one manner.

"When we started this campaign, visitors were being directed to a web site that was over three years old," says Bob Michaels, President of RJ Michaels, Inc.

Having been designed in an era where the web was relatively new, the site lacked the very basic essentials that are needed to stop traffic and entice someone to act.

"Starting at the front page, we missed some of the key elements at stopping traffic. We definitely slowed them down some, but most just kept on moving," remarked Donovan Cronkhite, web developer for RJ Michaels, Inc.

Directing Traffic

Your web site, like most businesses, should require signage of some sort to direct people to the correct department. This can be done by using effective navigation, and will show people where to find the information that they care looking for.

"Visitors to your site must find a directional arrow, of sorts, to what they're looking for - and quickly," says Cronkhite. "Most web site visitors won't stick around a site with poor navigation for more than a few seconds."

Your navigation should be clearly labeled and kept in a consistent location.

"Many sites still use a process that we call 'mystery meat navigation'," remarks Cronkhite. "It's navigation that uses symbols instead of words. We call it that because when you click on an icon, you're never sure what you're going to get. It's one of the quickest ways to make people leave."

Getting Help

Most traditional storefronts are built on the premise of letting the customer find what they are looking for, but always needing someone available to help finish the transaction. Cronkhite relates this principal directly to the web.

"Even if you can't find what you're looking for in a store, there's generally someone around to help. If not, the chance of you spending money there is quite slim. You absolutely must translate this to the web. How easy is it to contact your business from the web site?"

This was one area that the RJ Michaels, Inc. website failed to take advantage of.

"Our copy might have been driving a real interest in our services," says Michaels. "But the only way to get in contact with anyone in our office from the site was a small text e-mail link on the very first page."

The redeveloped RJ Michaels, Inc. site takes care of this problem.

"We've programmed a full contact form in the web site," Cronkhite explains. "You can find it in our main navigation. It's like putting up a large sign in a store that says 'Sales Help'."

The new site also takes a queue from some of its clients’ sites. "With our clients that list inventory on their web sites, we've seen a large increase in the number of contacts when you put a contact form directly on the page of an individual product," says Cronkhite. "We made sure that every page of the site has a link to contact us to stop people when they have that immediate interest."

Interacting with Your Visitors

While e-mail contact is one of the easiest ways to establish a connection with your customers, it's not the only one.

"Your web site should always be looked at from a marketing angle," says Michaels. "You are constantly marketing your product on a web site, because if your visitor isn't ready for your services yet, they may be tomorrow."

Interactive elements stop traffic by engaging the visitor in an action.

"This engagement can be as simple as offering something to download," explains Michaels. "Now, not only are they visiting your web site, but they have added something of yours to their personal computer. It can be as simple as a flyer or a desktop image with your logo and web site address on it."

When the RJ Michaels, Inc. web site was redesigned, visitors were asked to engage in several ways.

"The old web site didn't offer any of our work on the site," says Cronkhite. "We wanted to have visitors look through our work, to see for themselves. So we added a portfolio section to every page that allows visitors to flip through and browse our work in every category of work."

Downloadable information was also provided.

"We offer a section of presentations we have made or articles that we have written on the site," explains Michaels. "They can be read on the web site or downloaded in PDF form."

Heading Forward

From Podcasting to RSS, the face of the Internet is constantly changing.

“How you use a website to your advantage ends only at your own imagination," says Cronkhite.

However, RJ Michaels, Inc. is there to help.

"We always look forward to bringing solutions to your clients through the latest technology. We hope we've provided an insight into one of the ways you can market online through Google in this series of articles," adds Michaels.


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