Council Post: Diagnosing Your Marketing Health, Part One: M…


We all have the experience on occasion where we feel vaguely unwell — somewhere in that gray area between TGIF-contented and take-the-day-off sick. When that happens, there’s only one proper thing to do: Go to WebMD, search through the list of symptoms, learn that we’re probably going to die in two weeks and fall into a panic.

As the saying goes, a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. People who aren’t trained medical professionals often run into all sorts of confusion when they try to figure out what’s ailing them. That principle also applies to internet marketing. Too many businesses have only a partial understanding of their marketing fitness — they know something isn’t quite right, but they’re not sure what. That’s why their attempts to make a proper diagnosis usually lead them astray.

To help businesses boost their marketing health, let’s analyze some common disorders that interfere with their ability to thrive online. In part one of this series, we’ll begin with an area that causes pain and discomfort for many e-commerce companies: mobile search.

Symptom: Changes Or Fluctuations In Site Traffic

Is your business experiencing sudden changes or fluctuations in web traffic? Don’t worry — it happens, and it’s probably based on the different ways mobile users are searching for you.

Prescription: Optimize Your Mobile Search Strategy

Search engines like Google can offer your business mobile-first indexing solutions so that your website ranks higher in search results. Not only will this help you drive web traffic, but also it will increase your odds of bringing users back to your site. Mobile-first indexing offers you powerful tools that include analyzing:

• Metadata

• Hreflang Annotations

• XML and Media Sitemaps

• Search Console Verification

But even if your company ranks high on Google, customers will leave in droves if your mobile search speed is substandard.

The simple fact is that no one wants to visit a slow site. According to research by Google, 53% of users exit a mobile page if it takes more than three seconds to load. By using metrics such as speed index or time to interactive, you can measure how long it takes for your mobile page to load. Overlooking the functionality of your mobile page is detrimental to your visitors’ experience with your site and the overall potency of your mobile marketing strategy.

Symptom: High Bounce Rate

You’re getting a lot of traffic, but people are leaving quickly without delving further into your website.

Prescription: Make Content ‘Scrollable’

You succeed in drawing traffic to your site, but nothing really comes of it. Your potential customers fail to engage with your site content. Now you know what anglers must feel like when that huge marlin on their reel gets away from them. It’s certainly a maddening experience.

High bounce rates can be caused by any number of things, but some of these negative factors are more widely recognized than others. One of the more underappreciated factors is the increasing emphasis on “infinite” scrolling pages, a feature that will likely become more and more common as the popularity of mobile browsing continues to rise.

Scrolling isn’t necessarily bad — people have gotten accustomed to thumbing their way down a webpage. Frequently, these types of pages effectively force people to spend a lot of time trying to get past sections of the page that aren’t relevant or interesting. That’s when they “bounce.”

How can you address this problem? Bidirectional scrolling provides one possible avenue. Instead of having one long scroll, you can divide the page into several sections that can be accessed by scrolling side-to-side. The arrangement of content on your page will then resemble a skyscraper: long and thin. Visitors will still be able to scroll vertically as they’re used to doing, but the horizontal scrolling capability enables you to arrange content more effectively. Giving users this optimized mobile experience can help increase the likelihood that they will remain on your site.

Symptom: Low Conversions

Visitors are spending a significant amount of time on your site, but they’re leaving without converting.

Prescription: Implement Better Calls To Action 

Remember, getting a conversion isn’t necessarily the same as making a sale. A successful conversion can mean getting a site visitor to create an account, sign up for a newsletter or otherwise engage with your site in a way that could lead to financial gain for you down the road. Those kinds of interactions can be facilitated with a call-to-action (CTA) button.

It’s not enough to plant CTAs here and there in a random fashion. For optimal results, you must put them in the right places. But where?

This is a topic that has been hotly debated by internet marketing pros, and there are no hard-and-fast rules. However, we do have some suggestions for designing mobile-friendly CTAs:

• Eliminate clutter. Your CTA should be isolated from other elements on the page (e.g., text, other links). This enables it to stand out, while also saving your site visitors from the annoying experience of hitting the wrong link.

• Avoid excessive scrolling. Don’t make people travel way down the page before they get to a CTA. That doesn’t mean you necessarily have to place it “above the fold” — users will scroll if you have compelling content — but be sure the CTA appears sooner rather than later.

• Consider the user’s hands. Most people use their mobile devices in the vertical orientation. Research has also shown that they’re more likely to hold it with their right hand than their left and tend to use their thumb to click buttons on the page. That means CTAs on the top-left portion of the screen, for instance, are hard to reach, so make those buttons easy to see and easy to click.

To maintain a healthy internet presence, it’s vital to bear in mind that mobile usage is skyrocketing among the general population. Failure to keep pace with this trend will likely cause you serious headaches — or worse. But these home remedies can help.

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