Written by PIJAC Canada Member and Guest Author
Stephanie Dumont, Founder & Creative Director of StreetDog Marketing
Visit the StreetDog Marketing Blog HERE.
A website is an integral part of any pet business, and yet, so many websites fail to capture and convert audiences.
Aside from design and layout, how you use your website to promote your business and win leads has more to do with your marketing than you might think! And, because your website can say so much about your pet business, optimizing your website should always be at the top of your marketing priority list.
We’re going to break down a few ways you can optimize your own website so that customers understand who you are, what you offer, and what they can expect from your brand when shopping with you.
Does your website design help or hurt your business?
Whether we like it or not, a poorly designed website can have a huge impact on a business’s ability to win leads and close sales. And a lot of the flaws in a poorly designed site come down to UX.
UX, otherwise known as ‘user experience’, refers to the emotions and attitudes of users when they use or interact with a product or system. In this case, UX would refer to how people feel when they use your website.
You may love your website’s design, but does your end-user?
It’s important to think of every end-user (or site visitor) as a potential customer, where a positive user experience can yield website conversion rates of up to 400%.
Think about the last time you went on a brand’s website to purchase a product or learn more information about a specific service. Were you able to easily find what you were looking for? Was the website easy to navigate? Was it difficult to purchase a product, or inquire about a service?
Chances are, if you had all of those troubles (or more) with a website, you closed your browser out of frustration or confusion. And if users are having a similar experience with your website, that could mean losing out on potential sales.
Optimize your design
To help optimize your design so it’s more user friendly, do a quick site audit and update the following if it needs a revamp:
- Make your main navigation easy to find and follow (don’t bury the lead here)
- Shorten contact or inquiry forms so that users don’t have to answer more than 3-5 questions in order to contact you
- Remove as many barriers as possible from your online checkout, if you have an e-commerce site
- Be strategic about where you show pop-ups; don’t put them on every page of your site
Remember, customers who have positive user experiences on your website are more likely to tell others about it, so use your site as an opportunity to draw people in!
Is your website confusing?
People rarely visit a website just to look at photo or video collateral. They want information, resources, and help in understanding what your business offers and how your product or service will benefit them.
For pet brands, your website is likely used for this and to drive sales through e-commerce. So, if users (site visitors) can’t easily figure out what you offer, and who you are, they’ll move on.
There are two goals with your website: to position your brand as better than your competitors and give users direction on what to do next.
But a confusing website causes friction between your user experience and converting visitors into customers.
Optimize your copy
To help site visitors better understand your brand, try the following:
- Rewrite your site copy to remove any flowery or complicated language. Keep your writing clear and to the point so people can easily understand who you are and what you do
- Keep web copy minimal – your goal isn’t to write a novel about your brand but to tell people what you do, why you’re better than the competition, and how site visitors can become clients or customers
- Make your call-to-actions clear! Whether you use buttons or text, make it clear what direction you want site visitors to take. For example, a button prompting people to shop your online catalogue should say “Shop Now” instead of “Discover our products” because “Shop Now” is more actionable and directed towards a specific action the user can easily understand and recognize
Is your offering clear to your customers?
In marketing, there’s a concept called “burying the lead” (and you’ll see this in journalism, too). The idea is that you should put the most important thing first, and everything else that follows will flesh it out.
From a website perspective, you want to make it obvious to site visitors right away what it is you do or offer. For example, if you sell dog treats, your home page (and the first thing site visitors see when they land on it) should be one or a few of your products, or a product feature with tid bits of information about the product.
If you were to leave any mention of your products at the bottom of a web page, they get buried. But you want to lead with what you offer, so burying that doesn’t make sense for you or your customers.
Optimize your offering
One of the easiest ways to optimize your website so that visitors see your offering first, and don’t get lost among other information or ‘noise’, is to put your most important information above the fold.
‘Above the fold’ simply means putting the most important information you need visitors to see in the top portion of your website that’s visible without having to scroll. Any information or details that site visitors have to scroll through a page to see after that is considered ‘below the fold’.
From an e-commerce perspective, you’d want a call-to-action that directs people to shop or buy products to be included in the section above the fold where you put your most engaging or important information, too.
Is your website mobile friendly?
Everyone has heard by now that mobile functionality is crucial to a website being effective and engaging, but did you know that 80% of users will abandon a mobile site when they have a poor user experience?
If your website isn’t mobile friendly, or takes too long to load on mobile, users can and will quickly abandon your site (in fact, 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if a site takes longer than 3 seconds to load on mobile).
Optimize for mobile
To help make your site more mobile friendly, test out your own site using your mobile device and record how long it takes to load and what the main issues are that cause frustration. Do images take too long to load? Is your mobile site navigation hard to find or follow? Is it difficult to make a purchase on your site while on mobile?
You can make your site more friendly for mobile use by:
- Compressing images – before you load images into your site, compress them so they take less time to load on mobile
- Editing your site navigation – make sure your site navigation is visible at all times while on your website on mobile
- Refining your online shop – eliminate any unnecessary ‘hoops’ people have to jump through on mobile to make a purchase on your website
You can also try this handy tool from Google where you can get information about the speed of your website, along with tips for improving your load time on mobile and desktop
Are you trying content marketing?
Content marketing is all the rage these days, but there’s a reason so many brands and businesses are practicing this form of marketing.
And the most popular form of content marketing? Blogging!
Blogging is among the top forms of media brands use in marketing strategies today, which is really no surprise given 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing to help scale businesses.
Content marketing seems pretty scary when you read into it, but the reality is that content marketing takes time, and the best place to start is on your website. You can use content for SEO and website traffic, but you can also use it to educate and help customers, building trust by offering free value through informative blog content.
Optimize your content marketing
If you want to try your hand at content marketing or revamp your existing strategy, you can do it without having to put in a lot of man-hours creating unreal content. You can start out slow and build a foundation that you work on over time!
Here are a few of our top content marketing tips:
- Make your content about your customers, not your brand – the key is to acknowledge their main challenges and create content that helps solve them
- Use headlines to attract readers to your site – get your content seen by site visitors and people using search to find articles on topics you’re already an expert in by optimizing your headlines (here’s a free tool to help you do that)
- Distribute your content – never forget to share your content (like blog articles) with your audiences, whether it’s on social media, through newsletters, or on platforms like LinkedIn!
Your ultimate goal with your website should always be to position your brand or business as the go-to solution for your customer’s pain point or challenge. By optimizing your website using tips and tricks like those we’ve mentioned throughout our article, you can offer your customers a better user experience and use your website as a valuable tool to drive sales.