7 Questions You Must Answer Before Choosing a Website Design Company

Choosing a company to design your website has long-lasting ramifications for your business.

While many people choose a website design company based on word of mouth, location, or simply a nice looking website, there’s much more involved.

Before choosing the person or company to design your website, you want to interview them. Get a sense for the feel of the company and the personality of your design team.

In this article, we look at seven questions you must answer before choosing a website design company.

#1: May we see your portfolio? Who have you worked with?

One of the best ways to gauge your future website is to take a look at the website design company’s portfolio.

Your first look at their portfolio might be on their website, but you want to take it a step further during the interview.

Ask to look at their whole portfolio. Quiz them about their favorite sites and the ones that are further down the list. Find out why they liked the best ones and what they thought they could have done better on their not-so favorite sites.

By looking at their portfolio, you can get a general idea about their capabilities and whether or not they can meet your needs. By diving deeper and pushing for more information, you’ll be better able to decide if they can meet your expectations and your business goals.

For example, if you own a company that sells outdoor living supplies, ask them if they’ve ever worked with a company selling similar products. If you own a yoga studio, ask to see designs of sites that might have a similar brand message as yours.

Lastly, ask to see a list of references. While reviewing written testimonials is fine, what you really want is the name and phone number or email of real references. Find a site you like and ask for that one. This way you can get more references than just the ones they want you to have.

With their reviews, you’re trying to rate their trustworthiness. You want to ensure you trust the company, their expertise and their promised results.

Find out if they have any ongoing clients. Their ability to retain clients is a good indicator that you can trust them.

#2: Do you understand web conversion?

With this question, what you really want to know is if they understand how to convert visitors to customers. You want to know if they are capable of creating lead-generating landing pages.

In other words, what results are they willing to provide? If they’re just promising you a pretty site, they aren’t worth your time.

Your website is pivotal to your brand and your marketing strategy. As such, the development of your website must include a plan for generating leads, increasing brand awareness and converting site visitors.

Listen for the following words as they will tell you whether or not the website design company is concerned with the beauty of your site or the lead-generation capabilities of your website.

  • Bounce Rates
  • Repeat Traffic
  • Conversions
  • Lead Generation
  • Google Rankings
  • Keywords
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Calls to Action
  • Lead Generating Forms

Your website is your main marketing channel. You are using it to build your business. So, you want to know that your chosen design company has actually increased the market value of previous websites. Ask for this information and review it carefully.

#3: How can you help me with my marketing strategy?

If they tell you that your site has nothing to do with your marketing strategy, run.

Your website should incorporate elements of your entire marketing strategy. It should be the engine that fuels your business growth and that can take it to the next level.

Find out if they’ll treat your pages as landing pages with conversion goals for each. Ask if each page will include a call to action.

Inquire about incorporating your entire digital strategy into your website – Google Ads, social media and email marketing. Will they design your website to work with your overall marketing picture?

#4: Do you understand my business needs?

If the company you choose designs the most beautiful website for you, but they don’t understand your business, you’ve lost a lot of money and launched a useless website.

Function trumps form when it comes to new websites.

Plus, you want your website to reflect your business and your brand. Ask yourself if they are capable of building a site that encompasses your mission and vision.

#5: How will you optimize my site?

Don’t settle for the answer, “Trust us, we’ll optimize it.”

You want to know how.

Search engine optimization (SEO) has evolved over the past few years. It’s about providing content that is focused on your audiences. It’s about fine-tuning landing pages and honing the images and text.

Your organic search needs must be provided for by your website design company. They must tell you how they’ll target your users and provide for an easily searchable website.

Be sure you are well-versed in their approach to SEO.

#6: Do you understand my customers and the sales process?

If your website design company doesn’t understand your target market, your customers and your sales process, they won’t be able to build you a website with a friendly user experience.

When interviewing a company, ask them about their knowledge in these areas. While they may think they know, it could turn out that your business operates differently than others they’ve worked with.

Ask them if they’re capable of using your brand to build the site. Can they incorporate your look, your tone and your voice?

Before signing the contract, be sure the company fully understands and is capable of meeting your marketing goals through your new website.

#7: Will my website be responsive?

Responsive web design should be one of the buzz words you hear mentioned right off the bat. In fact, if any of the designs in their portfolio aren’t mobile-friendly, this isn’t the website design company for you.

Responsive websites are mobile-friendly. They resize easily from phone to tablet to laptop and desktop. In other words, the customer experience isn’t affected by the device’s screen size.

Google nearly insists on mobile-friendly sites in their search ranking algorithms.

If the website design company doesn’t mention responsive web design, ask about it. This is an absolute must and something they should provide.

Final Thoughts

When you decide to build or redesign a website, choosing a website design company is a critical decision. It’s one you’ll have to live with for many years, especially if you’re putting down a large chunk of money for the build.

Your website is the centerpiece of your marketing strategy.

Whether your marketing involves pay-per-click, email, social media or traditional media such as print and television, you can bet potential customers will make a visit to your website before deciding to do business with you.

Vet your website design company just as your customers are going to vet you. After all, you are entrusting your business and your future success to the website design company.

Are you ready to squeeze more profit out of your website by fine-tuning your landing pages to skyrocket growth among your email subscribers and current customers? That’s terrific! We’re here to help you optimize your website so it works fluidly for your website visitors. In fact, we promise you we’ll do just that.

With our guarantee, you can rest assured we will increase your profits through landing page optimization.

If you’re ready to work with the leader in landing pages and conversion rate optimization, contact us today.We’ll provide you with our FREE site performance analysis so we can work on your landing page conversion rates.

Image: Alejandro Escamilla

5 Ideas For Landing Pages That Turn Email Series Subscribers Into Customers

They signed up for your email list. You’ve sent them a series of emails. Now what?

In this article, we look at three ideas for landing pages that turn email series subscribers into customers.

You might be asking yourself, “What do my landing pages have to do with my automated email series subscribers, and turning them into customers?”

Well, you can leverage your landing pages through links in your email automation to give subscribers a reason to purchase. Here’s how.

#1: The Welcome Sequence

One of the most common types of automated email series is the welcome sequence of emails. These are the first messages you send your customer with the goal of encouraging the sale.

In the welcome email series, you might include any of the following:

  • A simple welcome to our “family” email with no pressure.
  • Another email with a link to a landing page where they can find an exclusive download.
  • A third email that sends them to yet another landing page with a coupon for their first purchase.
  • A fourth email option is a link to one or more of your blog posts that you think your new subscriber will find interesting.

The welcome sequence is your first shot at wooing your customers, catching their interest, encouraging their ongoing engagement and ultimately the purchase.

Let’s look at a possible example of how your email series might send new subscribers to landing pages. Let’s say you, our example company, sells web design services. Your goal is to get people to purchase your services even though they might think they can do it on their own.

Email number one is a welcome email, and that’s it. Email number two gets sent two days after the first email sign up and includes a link to a landing page with several how-to-videos on search engine optimization.

You have email number three set up to go out four days after the initial sign-up, and it includes a link to a landing page with a few tutorials on how to add video to a new website.

Then, on day five, your email sends users to a landing page with a video on optimizing images. On day six, subscribers get sent to a landing page with information on how to protect their websites from hackers.

Finally, on day seven, your new email subscribers get a link to a landing page with a surprise. This page contains a one-time coupon code for an amount off their new website design if they purchase that day.

Because you very gently earned your email subscriber’s trust with links to landing pages with incredibly helpful information, you paved the way for the purchase.

Now that your email subscribers trust you and value your work, they are more apt to purchase your services.

#2: The Webinar Sequence

For this example, let’s say you offer tax preparation services. A user signs up for your email list because you’ve offered a free webinar on tax advice for sole proprietors.

You set them up in a series of automated emails we’ll call the webinar sequence. These are set up to create a sales funnel out of your email subscribers.

Your sequence might look like this:

  • The business person signs up for your webinar.
  • Email number one includes all the information they need to log on to your webinar.
  • You send email number two right before the webinar with a link to the landing page to log on.
  • Right after the webinar, you send an email out that includes a link so they can watch it again at their leisure.
  • A few days later, you send out email number four with a link to a landing page with an educational video with more tax tips.
  • Now, you want them to sign up for your tax services. You send out email number five with a link to a landing page to sign up for your tax services. You might even include a promotional offer on this landing page.

#3: The Lock-Em In Sequence

This automated series is set up to lock your customer in and make them a customer for life.

Once a customer has joined your email list and made their first purchase, your work doesn’t end there. Now, you’ve got to keep them as a customer.

This sequence is to encourage subscribers/customers to go from first purchase to second purchase, and this is a milestone in the world of landing page conversions.

Use your analytics to determine the average customer time lapse between first and second purchases. Look at how many people don’t go on to make another purchase.

Armed with this information, your goal is to shorten the time between first and second purchase or to ensure the repeat purchase.

After your customer makes his first purchase, your email series should start with an email thanking him for the purchase, and it should include a link to a landing page where he can review the product.

Not only do you keep the customer engaged, but you get him right back on your website. On your landing page, after he has left the review or rated the product, offer him several other products he might be interested in.

Your second email in this series might include a how-to video or instructions on how to use the product.

For example, let’s say your customer purchased a blazer. You might send an email with instructions on how to accessorize, while you offer several options like scarves, jewelry, shoes, skirt or pants with click-thrus to landing pages where she could purchase the additional items.

If you sold something like a camera, you might offer how-to videos on how to use the camera. On the landing page you send them to through your automated email, you could offer camera-related accessories to complement their purchase.

Final Thoughts

Now that we’ve talked about your automated email series and how you can turn those subscribers into customers, let’s look at a few statistics.

The DMA (Direct Marketing Association) reported that many markets who segmented their email list and sent target emails, saw an increase of 760% in revenue from these segmented campaigns.

Another study shows that consumers are fed up with content that doesn’t seem to apply to them.

Why do we tell you this?

We want to drive home the purpose and value in email segmentation. Let your email subscribers tell you what they are interested in. Segment them by the pages they visit on your website, the date they sign up, or the purchases they make.

Segmented emails get more opens, clicks and sales because they are more relevant to your subscribers.

Once you’ve segmented your lists, it’s time to create a plan for your email series. Don’t bombard your subscribers.

Take the gentle approach to carefully lead them to your landing pages and nurture them through the first step on their path to converting from subscriber to customer.

Are you ready to squeeze more profit out of your website by fine-tuning your landing pages to skyrocket growth among your email subscribers and current customers? That’s terrific! We’re here to help you optimize your website so it works fluidly for your website visitors. In fact, we promise you we’ll do just that.

With our guarantee, you can rest assured we will increase your profits through landing page optimization.

If you’re ready to work with the leader in landing pages and conversion rate optimization, contact us today.

We’ll provide you with our FREE site performance analysis so we can work on your landing page conversion rates.

Image: Jena Kreuter

5 Design Principles Nearly 95% of Websites Screw Up

Your website is the face of your brand.

Whether you’re advertising online or in traditional media like print and television, nearly everyone visits your website before choosing to do business with you.  One study shows that more than 81% of people conduct online research before buying.

Because your website is so pivotal to the success of your business, we’re going to look at five design principles nearly 95% of websites screw up. Then, we invite you to ponder the question, “Are you?”

#1: Visual Hierarchy

Visual hierarchy is one of the most important principles of good web design, and one that many businesses routinely mess up.

Every website should have a noticeable visual hierarchy. If it doesn’t, it’s hard for your website visitors to know what’s important.

Let’s define the term: visual hierarchy is the arrangement or presentation of elements in a way that implies importance.

For example, different parts of your website and even your individual landing pages point to a notable difference in hierarchy. You want your forms, vital links or calls to action to have more importance, and you show this through your web design.

Think about your menu – are all of the items of equal importance? If not, you might give half of them to a secondary menu.

How can you show visual hierarchy? Here are a few ways:

  • Size
  • Color
  • Typography
  • Layout
  • Spacing
  • Style

Once you’ve chosen how you want to denote visual hierarchy, you want to rank the elements on your landing page according to importance. Before you even start designing, make a list of what’s most important. Rank your elements according to your goals.

For example, let’s say you’re working on your restaurant’s landing page. Your ranking might go like this:

  1. Photo of menu item
  2. Headline
  3. Call to action button – Order Now!
  4. Text description
  5. Your navigation

Once you’ve ranked your items, you can then decide which tool (color, size, etc.) you’ll use to mark them.

#2: Navigation

Unfortunately, many websites break rules when it comes the design of their navigation. Next to visual hierarchy, this is one of the biggest snafus.

Imagine a website visitor comes to your site and can’t find the link to the website sections he wants to view. The links might be there, but he certainly can’t find them. You can bet his departure is quick.

Or, another problem can be multiple drop down menus. If your website visitor clicks on a menu item and expects to be taken to that section, but he has to keep opening multiple levels of your drop down menu, he’ll get frustrated and leave.

Here is what your website visitors expect to find on your website. If you aren’t providing this, you might look at a navigation revamp.

  • A horizontal navigation menu at the top of the page.
  • An additional vertical navigation menu at the left of the page if you are using one.
  • Avoid drop down menus when they aren’t necessary.
  • Your first and last menu items are the most noticeable to visitors. Put an important link first, and reserve the last place for your contact link.

With good navigation, you improve the odds that your website visitors can find what interests them quickly.

Be sure to keep your navigation consistent. Don’t put it on the left on one page and on the right on another page. Divide your categories clearly so they make sense and use one word titles/labels.

If you’re wondering if you should have one navigation bar or two, the answer is that depends. If your navigation is clear, one should be fine.

If your site is particularly content-rich, consider a second level of navigation in the top menu or a sidebar on secondary pages.

Bottom line – create a navigational system that is simple and intuitive.

#3: Non-Responsive Design

Surprisingly, nearly 72% of websites still aren’t mobile friendly in 2016, even after Google’s mobilegeddon.

If your site doesn’t resize for various screen sizes – think desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile – you are missing out because 80% of Internet users use their smartphones to search the web.

So, the first thing you need to do is make sure your site is responsive to screen size. If it’s not, change it as soon as you can.

Next, when creating your website to respond to screen size, you’ll want to pay attention to what comes up first. Think back to the visual hierarchy. One exists on a smartphone, too, but it may be a little different then the desktop.

One thing you want to be sure of is where you place your contact info and phone number. Put your most important items at the top of the page so they show up first on a mobile device.

For example, if you have a restaurant website, most visitors want to know these things right up front:

  • Your location
  • Your phone
  • How to order online or make reservations

#4: Images

The images you choose to use in your website design portray your brand image. This is why it’s so important they be high quality, and you don’t screw this up.

Pixelated images or images that crop out important features go against basic design tenants.

Use high quality photos and optimize them so they don’t take too long to load. Crop them appropriately and upload images that are the right size for your space. Edit any parts of the photo that could use a touch up.

#5: Color Palette and Typography

Your website needs unity to appeal visually to your audience. When it comes to color and font styles, you want them to work with the overall look of your website.

One design principle to take a look at, and not screw up, is the style guide. Before designing your website, decide on your color palette and your fonts. Decide on the color and size of your heading fonts and paragraph styling.

Define how each color and font will be used and stick to it.

Final Thoughts

The purpose of your website is two-fold. First, you want to provide the necessary information to people researching your products or services.

Second, you want the conversion. If your website breaks basic design principles, you’ll blow your chances at turning a visitor into a customer.

The design of your website matters when it comes to your conversion tactics.

Design is more than just how your website looks. Design also includes how your website works, and if it doesn’t work simply for your visitors, you’ll lose them.

When designing or re-designing your website, keep your website user at the forefront of your mind. Know what action you’d like them to take and think about how easy it is for them to get there.

Your web design principles are tied to your profit margin.

Are you ready to squeeze more profit out of your website by fine-tuning your website’s design to skyrocket growth among your current customers? That’s terrific! We’re here to help you optimize your website so it works fluidly for your website visitors. In fact, we promise you we’ll do just that.

 With our guarantee, you can rest assured we will increase your profits through landing page optimization.

If you’re ready to work with the leader in landing pages and conversion rate optimization, contact us today. We’ll provide you with our FREE site performance analysis so we can work on your landing page conversion rates.

Image: Luis Llerna

Email Marketing Guide - How To Have Your Cake And Eat It Too

Have you heard about email automation? Or, have you heard about it, but just the name sounds too intimidating to explore further?

In today’s article, we’re going to look at how automation leads to an increase in customers, growth for your business and improved revenue.

We’ll take some of the mystery out of email workflows and automation so you can get busy with your email marketing.

Here’s your email marketing guide.

Defining Email Automation

Let’s get rid of the mystery. Email automation is the best way to engage your customers because it allows you to send out a string of emails at just the right time.

With email automation, you let your email service provider do the heavy lifting for you. For example, if a customer places several items in their shopping cart and leaves, you can target them and reach out to remind them they left something in their cart.

Often times, this encourages their follow-through.

Email automation allows you to develop a closer relationship with your customers because you can maintain communication and increase brand awareness.

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How To Use Exit Interviews & Surveys To Improve Customer Retention

A lost customer is painful for your business – both for your bottom line and your ego.

The importance of customer retention isn’t to be taken lightly. That’s why, in this article, we take a look at how to use exit interviews and surveys to improve customer retention.

You may be wondering, “What’s the purpose? After all, they’ve already left my company?”

The purpose of conducting exit interviews and sending surveys is to find out what you did wrong, why the customer left the business, and how you can improve so you keep more of your current customer base.

So, let’s get to it.

Customer Retention Stats

According to Score, the following can be said about an unhappy customer:

  • For each one of your customers who complains, 26 remain silent.
  • The average unhappy customer tells eight to 16 people about the bad experience.
  • 91% of unhappy customers will never buy from you again.
  • If you try to resolve a customer’s complaints, 82-95% percent of them will stay with you.
  • It costs you about five times as much to attract a new customer as it does to keep an existing one.

Those are some heavy prices to pay for lost customers. Now, wouldn’t it be nice to know why they are leaving and what you could do differently in the future to prevent such a loss?

The Customer Exit Interview

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