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Essential Web Development Practices – Vol. 2

Essential Web Development Practices – Vol. 2

Your website is important.

How important? Well, let’s see.

According to Sweor, 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website. Could you blame them? 

Think about it, what is the first thing you want to do when someone recommends something new to you? How about when you see an ad and want to learn more about a company? More often than not, you go straight to their website. 

Because with a website, companies have the chance to showcase themselves. As mentioned in Volume 1 of this topic, first impressions matter. Having a well-developed website can improve the trust and quality of your brand just from the appearance alone. We will learn more about that in a bit.

Here are some of the best practices seen in web development to ensure your website is where it needs to be. 

Personalization

Let’s start by defining what ‘personalization’ really means. Personalization is the process of creating a customized experience for individual visitors when accessing your website. Rather than providing a broad experience for everyone, personalization allows firms to present unique and specific information tailored to a customer’s needs and desires. 

So how can you start implementing a personal experience on your web page? 

Smart Content

Websites that display smart content or “adaptive” content have aspects of web pages, emails, ads, or landing pages that change based on the interests or past behavior of the viewer. In other words, smart content is an experience that is created specifically to that viewer in a given moment. 

Factors such as location, language, device, and demographics all should go into consideration when creating your smart content.

Take Amazon for example.

Let’s say you shop with Amazon on a weekly basis. Each time you revisit their website, you can expect to see tabs like, “previous purchases,” and “recommended for you.” Amazon is offering unique and relevant content to different users based on past experiences — a great way to demonstrate personalization and the use of smart content. 

Another great benefit of smart personalization with B2B websites is it makes the buying process a lot easier. A study from Evergage found that 77% of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid for a brand that provides a personalized shopping experience.

What does this mean? 

People like to be acknowledged and cared for. When leads visit your page and are greeted with their name or relevant content, they’ll feel more comfortable, which will likely increase the chances of them becoming a customer.

Gartner research predicts that by 2020, smart personalization will be in search engines everywhere and will enable businesses to increase profits by more than 15%!

Want to learn more about smart content and how to use it today? Click here!

Chatbots

B2B website chatbot

Many B2B companies aren’t making the most out of the traffic to their websites. In 2018 alone, Drift conducted a study of over 500 companies and noticed a 58% no response rate to inquiries from leads–not the best course of action if you ask me. 

That’s where Chatbots come in.

Chatbots are one of the easiest ways you can deliver a personalized experience by offering a real-time tool to communicate with visitors as soon as they visit your website. This means when visitors have questions, they can be answered immediately 24 hours a day.

Although research supports that consumers would rather speak with live help when possible, allowing them to get fast answers via a chatbot is certainly better than having nothing at all!

Website personalization is more than just providing personalized content on your site, it’s understanding where and how your customers can be reached at any point in the buying process. Employing the use of a 24-hour chatbot serves this need, and definitively fills one gap that you may be experiencing.

Strong CTAs

The two main goals of a website are to attract and educate your visitors about what you have to offer. Your website needs to cover these basic website fundamentals. The final goal, however, should be some type of strong action for your visitors to take. It can be subscribing to a newsletter or blog, downloading a playbook, or setting up a consultation.

The point is, when someone reads your blog or visits your site, you should make it easy for them to take action if they choose to. The button that the visitor would click is called a CTA, or “click-through action”. Some examples of what a CTA may look like are: “Sign up here,” “Learn more,” “Subscribe,” and “Get Started”.

Website CTA

With B2B sites especially, CTAs are crucial and a must-have, not an option. You must offer actionable steps to these leads as they look around your site, otherwise, how are you going to get them to stay interested in you? For more examples of CTAs and where they can be placed on your page, click here.

Fast Loading Time

Did you know that a one-second delay in your page’s loading time can result in a 7% reduction in conversions? Wall Street’s Neil Patel also found that 40% of people will abandon a website if it doesn’t load in the first 3 seconds. That’s about the amount of time it took you to read that sentence! 

Today, websites are getting larger with more and more content being displayed, but the amount of time people are willing to wait for this content is lessening. Here are some ways to ensure your site is loading fast enough to keep visitors on your page longer. 

Image Size

Cutting down the size of your images can save a lot of time when trying to load your website. Studies show that 80% of people remember what they see more than what they read. You probably already know that images and videos are imperative to your site. What companies don’t know, however, is how much extra time these images take to load. Use tools and applications such as ImageOptim before posting photos to your website to help save bandwidth and reduce the size without affecting the quality of your images. 

Enable Caching 

A cache is a software component that stores website data so that future visits load much faster. This improves performance on your page by lowering load time since the content is already prepared and available without having to be fetched from the servers. For example, if you visit a site that is cache enabled, the server stores this HTML file so the next time someone visits that page, it is already processed and ready to open. 

Use a Content Delivery Network  

Utilizing a Content Delivery Network (CDN) is the most effective way you can speed up your website loading time. A CDN is a worldwide network of servers that store information relative to the location of where it was searched. For example, hosting your website on a U.S-only network will provide longer wait times for those trying to access your content internationally. With a CDN, the content is provided much faster from a local server relative to their location instead of going across the world.

Recap

Your number one goal as a business stakeholder is to scale your business in a sustainable, cutting-edge way. One essential practice you must embark on is optimizing your website for your specific buyers. 

To ensure you’re doing this, personalize your website with smart content, employ the use of chatbots, litter your website with relevant CTAs, and reduce load times. If you’re able to do any (or all) of these things, you’re already positioning yourself for success down the road.

For more tips and strategies to improve your website check out “Essential Web Development Practices Vol.1” or click here to get in touch! 

Essential Web Development Practices – Vol. 1

Essential Web Development Practices – Vol. 1

According to Sweor, 75% of consumers judge the credibility and trustworthiness of a company based on their website design. It takes less than half a second for users to form an opinion about a website and whether they stay or not. 

What does this mean? 

First impressions matter!

Think about a time you wanted to try a new restaurant. You walk in to see a menu and notice a bad aroma. While looking around, you also notice nothing looks clean. 

You probably didn’t end up staying there very long, did you? That’s because the first impression deterred you away. 

Even if the food was good, you were never going to give it a chance. The same theory applies to your website.

Losing sight of the primary function of your website can be detrimental to your business. Your site needs good aesthetics, relevant content, and accessibility across multiple devices to prove to your customer base that you can be trusted. 

Here are some of the best practices seen in web development. 

White Space

According to a study from Human Factors International, proper use of white space increases comprehension by 20%. However, that balance of white space to content can be tricky. Have too little, the page will look cluttered. Have too much, the page will seem empty and your message will get lost.

The key to white space is balance. Look for symmetry and consistency with your page so it provides a clear and functional way for readers to view your content. The DailyEgg found that 65% of people are visual learners. Therefore, it is imperative that each of your visitors can see and understand your content clutter-free. 

Let’s look at an example.

The difference between white space and not having white space

Source: Digital Ink

See the difference? 

Minor changes to a page layout can significantly impact the reader’s experience on your website. The layout on the left is an eyesore and may prohibit a reader from even attempting to skim the material. The closer you can get your content to mimic the clarity of the page on the right, the more likely you are to keep the reader’s interest from the beginning.

Mobile Integration 

Mobile integration for B2B websites

Source: Oodles Studio 

Users are on their mobile devices more than ever. 

According to StoneTemple research, 58% of website visits are from a mobile device. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that if your site isn’t mobile integrated, you’re already falling behind.

Mobile integration is the act of transforming your website to fit the screen of mobile devices, such as a cell phone or tablet. A properly integrated site will have layouts specifically designed for various screen sizes and will react appropriately to the dimensions of the browser. 

Fully functional and responsive sites are a must in today’s digital landscape. This also applies to applications — an app that enhances the user experience from a mobile device will only lend your brand more credibility (as long as the design is up to par). Applications are great because they allow greater accessibility to the user. For instance, take a look at your cell phone. The apps you’ve downloaded most likely correlate to the websites you visit most often on a desktop.

Your favorite brands are already focused on enhancing your mobile experience. It’s time for you to do the same.

Video

People love video. In fact, HubSpot found 54% of consumers wish they saw more video content from businesses and brands they support. 

Why? 

Because videos are engaging. They capture attention more effectively than any other form of media. According to a study from SearchEngineWatch, videos have a 41% higher click-through rate than plain text. As a result, your traffic to MQL conversion rates will increase, resulting in a trickle-down effect that should impact the bottom line!

The more you cater to consumers’ desired forms of content, the better experience they have. In other words, videos will help implement a more effective Inbound Marketing Strategy

Final Thoughts 

Your website is a pivotal component of your brand. There are millions of websites available to viewers. How can you stand out from the rest?

Proper use of white space, mobile integration, and the incorporation of videos on your website will enhance the user experience. When done successfully, your target market will connect better with your brand, getting you one step closer to hitting your next big goal.

For more helpful tips and strategies, check out our blog or contact us today

Why No One Is Opening Your Emails

Why No One Is Opening Your Emails

A marketer’s worst nightmare:

You spent valuable time building a piece of content for your subscribers, maybe multiple pieces, only to realize how few are reading it. The good news is that email marketing is still the number one channel for advertising. In fact, Digital Agency Network found it is 40 times more effective than methods such as social media! 

So what’s the bad news? Convincing people to OPEN these emails is not easy.  

According to Campaign Monitor, the average office worker receives 121 emails per day, but only opens 17% of them…Those are tough odds to overcome. 

Take this inbox for example: 

 

It may even be similar to how your inbox looks right now. People are too busy to read 100+ emails every day. They’ll focus on the ones that are of interest and which capture their attention from the start. Since you can’t change how people’s inboxes look, you’ll have to play the game and find a way to rise above the competition.

But how?!?

Better Subject Lines

A good subject line dramatically increases the likelihood of your emails being opened. In fact, Convince & Convert found a 35% increase in open rates from relevant subject lines alone. While it may be just one component of the email, it’s the first thing recipients see. 

For marketers, subject lines are an opportunity to stand out above the rest, so don’t rush them. Some characteristics of a good subject line include writing with a personalized tone and staying short and sweet. 

For more examples and tips on creating the perfect subject line, click here.

Send Fewer Emails 

Don’t get trigger-happy with the ‘send’ button. A study from HubSpot found that 69% of email users have unsubscribed from a business because the organization sends too many emails (I know I have). When people sign up for a newsletter or subscription, make sure they know what they are getting themselves into. 

Be clear in the intro email about the communication cadence so they have an idea of what to expect. Is this a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly newsletter? Without addressing this, you run the risk of becoming a nuisance–leading people right to that ‘unsubscribe’ button. Don’t become a spammer.

Wait, how do I know how many is “too many”? Glad you asked! 

Segment your list of contacts and test different frequencies. For example, consider using A/B testing. A/B testing can be used to try different techniques within a small sample size of your target market.

Source: Split Metrics

In this case, let’s say you have 1,000 contacts in your database. Take a small sample, maybe 300 or so, and split them in half. Send one-half a higher frequency of emails than the other. From there, you can look at the open rates and click-through rates to see which frequency has higher engagement. 

Another quick way to offer a better experience to your audience is by asking them what they want. For instance, let them decide how often they want to hear from you. This can be done within the intro email by giving them an option to choose from: once a day, once a week, twice a month, etc. 

This allows the reader to dictate your relationship with them and provides a more personalized experience as a whole.

Overcome Triggered Spam Alerts

Emails can be sent to spam without having the recipient manually ‘mark as spam.’ Email accounts such as Gmail are becoming smarter as technology continues to grow. As a result, spam detection is becoming more prominent and sensitive to emails originating outside the organization.

A study from Propeller CRM found that 45% of all emails get triggered as some type of spam. 

Yes, you read that correctly! 

Nowadays, email software is designed to detect certain words that are most often found in SPAM. These are known as trigger words. If you use enough of these trigger words, your message will be sent to spam. That’s why it is imperative you understand how sensitive these systems are, and how to avoid overusing trigger words.

Here a few examples of common trigger words, and how to work around them:

Try to avoid using a word like “Free.” This extends to the subject line, title, and body of the email. Instead, try using words like “complementary,” or “at no charge.” Doing so allows you to avoid spam detection while still getting your point across. Other common trigger words include “Guaranteed,” “100% FREE,” “Act Now,” “Attention!,” or any repetitive use of CAPS or character symbols. 

Understanding these trigger words and strategizing around them will keep your emails away from the SPAM folder and give you a better chance to be seen.

Looking Ahead

As mentioned earlier, email is still the most useful tactic for marketers. Experiencing low open rates can be frustrating, but you can use it as an opportunity to step back and assess your strategy.  

Continue to optimize your subject lines, frequency of sends, and keep track of potential trigger words, and you will have a better foundation to analyze your current email strategy to see where improvements can be made.

Interested in more business tips like these? Subscribe to our blog or contact us today to let us help strategize and increase your inbound leads.