Spring is here!

And with a lousy joke to welcome it, we’ve completely re-written our site, taking advantage of the many components now available for the common open-source (i.e. free to use) Content Management Systems. more “Spring is here!”

Whither Twitter?

Dead_TwitterWhat’s happened to the Twitter feed on my website?

Ah yes – the deafening question from millions of frustrated website owners. The simple (maybe a bit harsh) answer is that Twitter gone broke it. They’ve changed the authorisation needed to collect the Twitter timeline feed, such that the simple method previously employed not longer works. Feeling geeky? There’s more technical information here:

Grrr! What do I do about it

Ok. The answer to that is there is now the need to build an ‘App’ to access your Twitter feed, using a number of authorisation ‘keys’ Frankly this is all a bit of a pain, since the timeline is public access anyway, but, “their house, their rules”, so we’re stuck with it. Yet more geeky information here:

The simplest solution, really, is get us to fix it for you. This would be an ideal opportunity to look at the wider opportunity to check your website maintenance arrangements, since there are going to be changes out of your control such as this cropping up frequently. The more connected we are, the more those connections can fail on us.

Lead-Generating Websites

This is something of a speciality field – most websites are created to provide information to a target user and to create opportunities to advance the sales process. Lead Pages are a different model: in this, the page is promoted via advertising, SEO, maybe Adwords, and is intended simply to create a sign-up for the ‘Golden Carrot’ – a report, free gift, information, trial or whatever is needed to motivate and qualify the prospect.

The entire objective is simply to build a list. Once you have permission to contact QUALIFIED prospects, you can then provide additional benefits, building the relationship until, when the prospect is making a buying decision, your service is the first one they think of, and you are already in a positive relationship.  There are many other aspects to the process – some designed to incline the prospect to make a small purchase immediately (say, a printed book), and then add options (perhaps a CD set, a DVD video version, or a short course).

The ultimate aim is to create a ‘Sales Pipeline’ of products increasing in value, leading up to a product which may be £10,000s. Over time, you will be able to work out the percentage of Golden Carrot’ sign-ups that convert to the full package. The task then is to refine the process so that your conversions are maximised. Tracking of leads to conversions is essential, and it is this feature that is missing from so many websites,leading to a complete failure to demonstrate positive ROI.

The Lead Pages themselves look quite unconventional, but there is a strategy behind this, and the page elements have a particular purpose:

1. Domain

Create a domain specifically for each campaign, and use something that relates to the offer. It will gain some small advantage in SEO, but mainly it allows precise tracking of the campaign response.

2. Pre-head

This sets up the offer, and provides a ‘reason to act’ – time-sensitive, limited quantity etc.

3. Headline

This is the most powerful feature and should be tested with many variants to see which is the most compelling.

4. Body

This outlines the ‘Golden Carrot’ and qualifies the prospect for the offer. It should contain validation, benefits, authority and a call to action.

5. Signature

Essential, and should be in Navy Blue.

6. Hero Shot

Either of the author, or the product. Don’t use a library shot, as this will simply appear false.

7. Response Form

As simple as is necessary to capture relevant information. Don’t ask for a phone no. unless you are promising, say, a telephone consultancy. Don’t ask for an address unless you are sending a package.

8. Response mechanism

Probably a button, but test different colours, shapes, text etc. “Submit” will always get a lower response than, say, “ Send me my Gift”

9. Testimonial

Videos are great, or use quotations from genuine clients (the more identification detail the better. Use facts & dates as supporting evidence, rather than a vague and feeble “I would recommend…”

10. Footer

Include privacy information, any Terms and Conditions that may apply, and in the UK, a ‘real’ address, phone no (this can be a Virtual PS service) and your company registration number. The more you can indicate that you are a ‘proper’ company with a genuine offer, the better the response.