Your Marketing is Killing Your Sales

By Shaun Tinney
4 minute read | Last Updated: March 31, 2016

When a brand’s website marketing isn’t aligned with the customer’s reason to visit the site, then the marketing is doing more harm than good.

Customers do not come to brand websites to read social feeds, watch a homepage banner rotate, or enter their email address into a homepage takeover signup form. They don’t want to take a survey or sign up for a newsletter. And they aren’t going to be interested in the latest soccer shoes if they’re looking for a basketball hoop.

So what are people doing on your site? It’s simple. They are looking to improve their lives—and if they are on your site it is safe to say they are looking to see if your brand can help. The key to success is to find out what they’re after and then help them get it.

A Customer Service department with a shopping cart

When your site attempts to compel customers to take interest in things that aren’t related to their goal, it actually ends up creating obstacles to the sale.

You might be able to sell a complimentary product or get someone to choose a higher priced version of the product they were already interested in, but there is virtually no chance that pushing customers to consume content they don’t care about will result in any sale.

Understanding that you cannot successfully hijack the original agenda of the website visitor is the first step to higher conversions (and happier customers).

The next step is to realize customers aren’t on your site for the reasons you want them to be. Let’s face it, your customers aren’t interested in news about your brand, unless it directly and immediately impacts them.

So unless you’ve issued a product recall or your company is going public or shutting down, your customers will not care. While it may be important internally to have a news section, most of what appears there won’t matter to your customers and may even be complicating site maintenance and navigation.

Forget about integrating social

Contrary to popular belief, social does not need to be integrated into your brand website. Social is just fine where it is.

Saying, “we need to integrate social,” is like saying, “we need to integrate radio.” The reason nobody can think of a good way to do it is because there is no good way to do it. It doesn’t belong.

Much like singing Karaoke, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Stop trying to centralize the conversation. Instead, find out where it is happening organically, and be there.

Forget about participation

This includes surveys. We’re especially concerned about the epidemic of survey pop-ups that occur seconds after customers arrive on sites. Instead of drawing the visitor into the site, this interruption immediately derails their attempt to find what they are looking for. Instead of being helpful, the first thing customers experience is an obstacle—one your brand purposely created.

Additionally, no one wants to engage with your brand. People will talk about what they already care about with people they already know and interact. You will have to go where they are to participate in the conversations your customers are already having about your brand.

Finally, the last thing anybody wants is another account, another email list to unsubscribe from, another huge form to fill out. Web customers have incredibly short attention spans. When they land on your site, it has to serve up what they’re looking for quickly or they will leave in search of another site that will.

Don’t be annoying

The battle for hearts and minds in the active lifestyle brand world is one of association. Whatever feelings your customers associate with your brand determine the stories they tell themselves and their friends about your products.

According to recent research, customers who encounter a poorly performing website (or mobile app) associate the following negative feelings with the brand:

  • Annoyance (75%)
  • Frustration (69%)
  • Distrust (19%)
  • Anger (13%)
  • Disrespect (12%)

To spare your brand the damage of customer frustration and disrespect, invest in a website that performs well, and then take the time to create the content your customers are looking for.

Take the time to create the content your customers are looking for. Click To Tweet

Help them get what they want

Web visitors are on your site because they are trying in some way to improve their lives. They are checking to see if the things your brand stands for align with their values, qualities they admire, and hear the experiences others have had with your brand and customer service.

Help customers do these, and not only will they buy, they’ll find and talk about your brand on social and everywhere else, all on their own.

Is your website being effective? Learn how you can improve your site in five key areas with our free Stuck Score™ assessment.

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