Ask Amy Africa--the Web usability surveyor and president of Eight By Eight, which consults for such B-to-B catalogers as VWR, S&S Worldwide and Hello Direct--and she’ll tell you there are really only a handful of things that matter when it comes to online marketing. During her keynote address at the recent MeritDirect Business Mailer’s Co-op Conference in White Plains, N.Y., she outlined the following pieces of online marketing that matter.
Landing/entry page: Armed with her own survey findings, Africa said that 80 percent to 90 percent of people leave landing pages (upon coming from search engine sites) within five pages of the landing pages. “Landing pages are like a toddler,” she said. “Someone comes to your page, finds it interesting, goes to two or three other pages, then comes back to the first page they landed on. The landing page is a safety gauge, and the [viewer] says to Mommy, ‘Can I go here?’ Mommy says, ‘Sure, but come back’. And if the landing page is [returned to] two or three times, you’ll have a higher conversion rate.”
On-demand e-mail program: Send e-mails to reward users when they do the right or wrong things, Africa suggested. For instance, when prospects sign up [online] to receive a catalog, they should get an e-mail. When they abandon your site, they should get another e-mail from the site. “Anything they do, they’re rewarded for” with an e-mail, she said. “It’s very effective online, but many companies don’t use it.”
Know what your users expect from you: She noted that people go online, as opposed to shopping in a store or via catalog, for several reasons:
-It’s faster and easier;
-They can do this themselves:
-They want and need verification of companies’ existence.
And when consumers go online, they’re more goal-oriented, more color blind, and they require evidence to satisfy them. Everything that goes wrong is your responsibility. “If they’re incompetent, it’s your fault,” she pointed out.