Every digital marketer who's worth his salt should know that content is king.
While this phrase has certainly been used in excess, it's not often clear how marketers can take advantage of content to increase their bottom line. In this three part series of articles I'd like to take a look at a specific microcosm of the almighty content, namely your sites copy, and you can utilize it to nudge users toward a conversion.
On any given webpage, copy can take multiple forms, from article summaries to call-to-actions. All of this text is crucial to achieving your conversion goals and strengthening your brand, and every written word on your website is an opportunity to reinforce your message.
While your own individual content needs may vary greatly depending on your vertical, here are some examples that you can apply to any ecommerce site in order to make the most out of your copy and convert more visitors to purchasers.
Goals Are For More Than Just Soccer
No matter what type of website you have, you (hopefully) have some sort of conversion goal in mind for your visitors. Whether it is to get them to sign up for your email list, download an eBook, or purchase a product, there should be some sort of ultimate objective for every individual page you create.
For the majority of ecommerce sites, you"ll have three main types of pages that address these goals:
- Your Homepage
- Category Pages
- Product Pages
Lets take a look at some general aims to keep in mind for each one:
Your home page is the hub of your website. The main purposes of this page should be to establish your brand, direct visitors to the most important pages on your site, and convey trust and authority.
Once a visitor clicks through to one of your category pages, your main goals should be to distinguish yourself from the competition by introducing your unique value and to drive users to your best sellers or most profitable products.
For your individual product pages, there should be one goal alone in your mind — to get the customer to add the item into their cart and convert to a sale!
Part 1. The Homepage: How the Big Boys (Just) Do It
The screenshot above is taken from nike.com, arguably one of the most successful brands in history. The first thing you see when you visit their homepage is an image slider that features their most important initiatives and products. Image sliders are comparable to window display cases for brick and mortar stores. Any visitor will be able to see your best wares within the first thirty seconds of their visit.
The first slide showcases their latest innovation, the Fuelband, and as you can see the copy (shown on the right) does a great job of illustrating the benefit that you'll get from wearing it. There is a strong headline that conveys a sense of urgency (make it count.) followed by a tagline that sets up the exact benefit the product provides; that you'll see how active you are and get motivated to move more. Since Nikes target audience for this product is made up of generally athletic, health-conscious people, this is a benefit statement that the majority of them will relate to.
- Use an image slider to show off all your best products
- Know your audience and speak directly to them in your copy
- Convey a sense of urgency in your messaging
- Clearly define the benefit of your product or service
Calling Everyone to Action
It's also interesting to note that for all of these image slides Nike utilizes two separate calls to action. In this case the first one (learn more) is intended for customers that show up on the site and are unaware of the Fuelband and what it does, whereas the second CTA (shop now) is for qualified leads that come to the site with the intention of purchasing. For the first type of visitor, it may not be the best experience for a user to go directly to the purchase page if they are unsure of what the product even does or why they would want it. Instead, it's better to send them to a page that's set up specifically to pitch the product to them, giving them the option of whether or not they'd like to take the next step and add it to their cart. In the second example, when you're dealing with someone who's interested in purchasing and already understands the product, it's better to take one step out of the funnel and push him or her directly to the product page because shorter funnels tend to convert better. By offering two separate CTAs for each slider image Nike is maximizing their chance at conversion by offering the best type of experience for both qualified and unqualified leads!
- Don't just rely on one type of call to action for your homepage. By offering two or more, you're marketing to a much broader audience than with just a single CTA.
Branding and Trust
Another thing that a homepage must do is establish trust in your brand. In the case of Nike, their brand is already known worldwide but this doesn't stop them from peppering their logo and just do it slogan all over their homepage.
In this example Nike uses dynamic CSS that changes from images to text when you hover over it. These images are taken directly from their various social campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. What a great way to combine your branding and marketing messages! When you hover over the second image, the text changes to a tweet that they published back in August: all because you took that extra little step. #justdoit. In this way they're able to seamlessly combine all of their social platforms with their website and urge visitors to convert into followers all at once.
- Showing social proof on your homepage instils trust in your brand and is also a great way to gain leads for your Social Media campaigns
Use Text, Not Images for Your Copy!
While only indirectly related to conversions, another important thing to note about Nikes great site design is that all of the copy is composed of search engine friendly, crawl-able text that is laid over their images. By using this technique they're able to optimize their design elements with images, and also maximize their SEO potential by essentially telling the search engines what the images are about in actual text that their spiders can crawl. If you have a very image-intensive homepage you should consider this approach to help your site rank higher in the SERPs.
- Since search engines can only decipher what a site is about by analyzing text, consider using dynamic CSS to hide text under images until the cursor hovers over them
Those are just some of the ways you can use the copy on your site to nudge users towards whatever goal you have in mind for your homepage. Part 2 of this series will deal with conversion goals for ecommerce category pages and part 3 will talk about how you can convert more sales on your individual product pages.