Is Your ‘About’ Page Ruining Your Chances of Getting a Referral?

Your ‘About’ Page - Duct Tape Marketing

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Every business has a website, right?

It is your shop window; the place where people learn about you, your brand and the products or services that you’re selling.

And due to our heavy online usage habits, it’s also the place that dictates the sustainability of a company.

You see, every business needs to be liked.

According to the New York Times, 65% of new business comes from referrals.

Meaning that almost two thirds of consumers make a purchase because someone they know has recommended a particular product or service.

On your website, there’s one page that’s more important to securing referrals than all the others.

It’s your ‘about’ page.

In this post, I’ll tell explain exactly why this page is so important.

I’ll give you some simple pointers that’ll help you create a killer piece of content to sit in this area of your site.

[Content that will win you business both now and in the future.]

And finally, I’ll also reveal how to tell if your ‘about’ page is failing you.

The ‘about’ page – what’s the big deal?

This is where your prospective customers get to know you – the place where they form those all-important first impressions.

And it’s these very impressions that will make or break your chances of getting a referral.

It’s a question of pure logic.

As consumers, we use the extra details that we learn about a brand on this page as backup in case we’re undecided about whether to buy something.

A good ‘about’ page pushes a lead further down a sales funnel, either consciously or sub-consciously.

If we’ve subsequently given our prospect a great service, we build on those good early impressions (again, either consciously or sub-consciously).

Then, it’s only now, at the end of the customer journey, that we potentially reap the ultimate reward: the referral.

As you surely know, this is the best and most powerful form of marketing there is.

And it’s all thanks to the first step: the ‘about’ page.

However, creating a quality piece of content in this area clearly isn’t straightforward, otherwise more businesses would do it.

Despite the importance of the ‘about’ page, this is the section of a website where a company traditionally drones on about how many years they’ve been operating.

Or how many offices they have scattered across the world.

A good ‘about’ page will empower your brand and make you memorable.

It’s funny.

For many business owners who are tasked with creating content for their websites, the ‘about’ page is usually given low priority status.

Yet this is a huge mistake – it’s ignoring one of the oldest clichés in the book: that people buy from people.

An ‘about’ page is critical to a website’s success.

It’s your chance to step away from the boardroom and reveal the people behind your brand.

But an ‘about’ page is about much more than just providing an opportunity for chitter-chatter.

This is about creating copy that will help establish some of the main pillars that people need to see and feel before they part with their hard-earned cash.

We’re talking about factors such as trust, integrity, authenticity, personality and morality.

In summary, your ‘about’ page needs to ‘wow’ visitors and impel them to recommend you to the people in their lives.

After all, referrals are how you create a memorable brand; one that will enjoy a stable future.

So, what can you do about your page?

For starters, don’t be self-obsessed.

You have to put yourself in a visitor’s shoes.

Suppose that you’ve just landed on a website.

What do you need to hear in order to convince you to make a transaction?

Which brands do you admire?

Which businesses do you trust, admire and respect?

Chances are, they’ve convinced you through having a clear and consistent content strategy.

To that end, ironically, your ‘about’ page is more about ‘them’ than it is about you.

Take time to establish your core values.

Think about your customer pain points (why are they even considering buying from you in the first place?).

Then map out your content and make sure that everything you’re saying is relevant to the customer.

With all due respect, all things being equal, they don’t care whether you’ve been trading for 10 years or 10 minutes.

They don’t care about industry awards they’ve never heard of.

All they care about is what they can get out of their time on your site.

Can they get what they want?

To that end, what you have to say about your business isn’t really the point.

By contrast, you should actually focus on what your visitors need to get out of their time on this section of your website.

Are you leaving money on the table?

Here’s a quick X-step process to find out whether you could do a better job with your ‘about’ page.

[Hint: you’ll need Google Analytics set up with your website.]

Step 1:Your ‘About’ Page - Duct Tape Marketing

After opening up your Google Analytics account, click on Behavior.

 

Your ‘About’ Page - Duct Tape MarketingStep 2:

Now click on All Content.

Step 3:

You should automatically land on the first option: All Pages.

What you’re looking at is a breakdown of what people are doing on each of the pages on your website.

Now find your ‘about’ page.

Most businesses will see this in one of the top 10 most-visited pages on their website, but if it’s not there, then go through the other pages until you find it.

Step 4:

Once you’ve found the stats for your page, look at the column under bounce rate.

Step 5 [the analysis]:

As you may or may not know, your bounce rate reveals how many people are leaving a certain page without taking any other action.

In other words, they’re either not finding what want or aren’t liking what they see.

Clearly, the lower the bounce rate is for your ‘about’ page, the better the job it’s doing.

If your bounce rate for your ‘about’ page was 100%, everyone’s leaving after reading your copy and you’re doing terrible.

If it’s 0%, your ‘about’ page has definitely piqued their interest and you’re doing great.

But those examples aren’t that helpful.

They’re too extreme.

So the big question is, what bounce rate should you be aiming for?

In truth, there’s no clear right or wrong answer.

Having said that, research does tend to indicate that a bounce rate of 25-30% is very good (and probably as good as it’ll get).

Most businesses will probably see a bounce rate in the region of 55-85%.

And it’s those companies, the vast majority, who can improve their ‘about’ page.

All the top entrepreneurs always say that it’s the little details that yield the big results.

So surely it’s worth putting some effort into your ‘about’ page?

Matt PressMatt Press is an experienced copywriter who has written for some of the UK’s biggest brands, such as Sky, Three and Vodafone. He now runs his own content marketing agency, Splash Copywriters.

The Art of the Ask: How to Ask for a Referral

The Art of the Ask: How to Ask for a Referral - Duct Tape Marketing

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The main source of new orders for many small businesses is referrals. The reason is clear. When people are happy with a service or product, they tell others about it and new orders result. Referrals are a strong form of advertising because they carry an independent assessment from a user that your product or service is worth buying.

As a result, referrals should occupy a prime place in your business plan. So many people share their thoughts online these days that we are neglecting a prime source of sales if we are not able to reach out to satisfied customers by asking for a referral.

But how to ask for a referral can be a challenge. How do we do so without embarrassing customers? Here’s how. Check out these examples of asking for referrals that can serve your business well.

Looking for solutions

A common form of referral occurs when a person asks friends or family members whether they have solutions for a problem or suggestions for a service they would like to use. Their friends and family respond by recommending certain products or services. Today many of these discussions occur in online chat rooms rather than directly person to person, which gives them a much wider reach.

You can suggest to your satisfied customers that they respond to these questions by mentioning your business where it is relevant. Drop the hint through an email or even a telephone call if you feel confident about asking customers for referrals in that way. Customers who are happy with your service will usually be prepared to provide a direct response; sometimes all it takes is to encourage them to do so.

Spreading the word

Another type of referral is a testimonial. Someone reviews your product or service, explaining why they like it so much. They are, in effect, referring you to other people who could be interested in your business. Potential clients can see the testimonials on the site on which the review appears, such as Yelp or Amazon, and they will be favorably disposed to buy the product or service.

We need not be afraid to ask for such testimonials. When someone lets you know they are happy with your product or service, you might tell them that others would like to know about it and suggest that they write a favorable review about your business.

Another way to encourage referrals is to provide an incentive for customers to refer your service or product to others. Let them know that if they refer two or three people to your service or product you will send them a coupon or a discount as a reward. Of course, make sure you track the referrals correctly and award them in a reasonable time to avoid disappointing your clients.

You can also make these referrals work harder for you. You can place extracts from these favorable reviews on your website or in your email messages. In that way the reviews will be seen by a wider audience than those who visit the site on which they originally appeared. Of course, extracts from two or three favorable reviews would work better than just one.

Add buttons

Add share buttons to your website so that people are able to refer others to your business simply by tapping or clicking on a link. Say something like, “Did you enjoy this service? Share your experience with others.” Invite them to enter the email address of friends or colleagues.

Should you have a blog on your website, you might want to have visitors to your website punch a “share” button to send the blog to others. That way, you increase your exposure and so are asking for referrals.

With so many people “liking” items on Facebook these days, it does not take much effort to turn your facebook fans into your customers. Soon all their friends will know about your product or service.

Expand reach of webinars and workshops

When you hold a webinar or online workshop ask those who register to forward the information to colleagues, friends or business associates who would also benefit from the information provided in the event.

When the event is over, send them an email and ask them to rate the workshop or webinar. If they give you a good rating, you will be able to publish that on your website as a testimonial.

Use emails

Another way to encourage referrals is to ask at the end of your emails whether your clients know of anyone else who needs assistance with the problem that you solve. Provide them with a link to your website that they can use as a referral.

For example, at the end of an email newsletter, send a message that is similar to the following, “Thank you for subscribing! Do you know someone who would also benefit from this information? Please forward this link so they can sign up too.” Then, you can offer an incentive for referrals as a thank you.

Link with others

Consider including businesses that are complementary to yours to extend your reach. Customers of another business that is close to yours might like to know what you can offer their clients. Together you can reach more people than individually.

Take notice of complaints

Listen to what people say about your business. Even when your clients have complaints, check to see how you could have changed their experience into a pleasant one. Make those changes to avoid future complaints. Continue to do that until you start to receive those favorable referrals.

Look further

Check whether there are any places on your websites, in your emails or other communications where you are not asking for referrals from satisfied customers. When you find them, make sure you include a way to encourage referrals in a pleasant way.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the best way to obtain referrals is to earn them in the first place. When your business does something extraordinary the chances are that your clients will tell others about their experience. When they tell their friends and business associates online what you have done for them, your business is bound to benefit.

When that happens, extend those referrals into other avenues, and make sure you are asking customers for referrals in the ways we have outlined.

Now you know that asking for a referral does not have to be intimidating, there’s every reason to start doing so now.

Delan CooperDelan Cooper is a writer with years of experience in marketing communication. He enjoys meeting new people and reading more books to get inspired for his own book. Connect with him on on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.

Building Trust for Online Referral Marketing Campaigns

Building Trust for Online Referral Marketing Campaigns - Duct Tape Marketing

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Running an online business can be difficult and expensive; you have to worry about managing ad campaigns and monitoring your budget. If this is not done properly, your business could fail. Having a referral marketing program is a great way to reduce marketing costs and increase the profitability of your business. Referral marketing involves your customers telling their friends and family how much they enjoyed your service. Not only does this gain exposure for your business, but it also inspires trust, which increases the likelihood of generating more sales. This article will teach you how to do referral marketing.

Why Referrals?

When a potential customer visits your website for the first time, they likely have no idea who you are or how dependable your business is. This lack of trust makes them hesitant to buy from you. But people trust the opinions of those they respect, such as friends and family members. When a customer refers their friends to you, the referral is going to trust you more than if they had found your website on their own. But nobody will refer their friends to you unless you inspire trust and respect.

Professional Website

Your website is the first impression potential clients have of you and your business. If your customers don’t think you put much effort into it, they will likely believe you handle all areas of your business carelessly. Having a professional website inspires trust and credibility, which will increase your sales and referrals. You must have a clean design and quickly fix any broken links. Sometimes, setting up a professional website requires training and experience; it is also time-consuming. If you don’t know how to do it yourself, it’s vital to have a professional web designer; this ensures your website is professional and inviting.

Managing Bad Reviews

It does not matter how great your product or service is, every company gets bad reviews on occasion. Bad reviews don’t matter as much as how you handle them. Many companies make the mistake of trying to hide their negative reviews, which is a mistake. Trying to cover up negative comments makes it seem you have something to hide; this is damaging to your reputation and will result in losing the trust of potential customers.

Instead, use bad reviews to improve your reputation and inspire trust and credibility. Respond to each negative review with complete openness and honesty. If you made a mistake, be honest and admit it. But vow to do better in the future. Being open about your flaws, mistakes, and shortcomings will show your customers that you have nothing to hide, thus inspiring trust.

Branding

If you want to be truly successful, you need to be more than remembered; you need to become a household name, which is accomplished with a successful branding strategy. This means your company, product, and mission statement become one in the mind of your customers. If you want to successfully brand your product or service, it is vital you provide quality service and live up to a powerful mission statement. Don’t expect branding to be done overnight; it is a long-term process. But when done properly, it gives you a major competitive advantage over others in your industry.

Building Trust for Online Referral Marketing Campaigns - Duct Tape Marketing

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Offer Gifts

Many companies make the mistake of only considering how they can get their customers to hand over their money, which is a critical mistake. Internet users are bombarded with advertisements every day, and if you only come at them with more ads, they will tune you out. You will lose their trust, business, and referrals. If you want to avoid this, offer your loyal customers small, unannounced gifts. This is not charity; it’s an investment. Receiving gifts will make your customers like and trust you, and the gifts don’t have to be expensive. In fact, you can simply offer gift cards or store credit. If you want to give more valuable gifts away, you can do a monthly drawing. By offering gifts to your customers, they will feel appreciated and valued.

Relationship building

Relationship building is another way to build and inspire trust. Some companies make the mistake of selling to each customer once and letting them walk away, but doing this is leaving money on the table. A customer who buys from you is demonstrating they are interested in your product or service, which means they will likely buy from you again. However, you can’t sit around and hope they will come to your website again. You need to actively remarket to them. This can be achieved by emailing them special offers and promotions. Now, it’s important to never come across too strong in your emails. You want to frame the conversation as you doing them a favor, which can be done by offering discount and loyalty rewards.

Trust Building Overtime

You must know how to build trust, which is not all or nothing; it’s a process that grows over time. But it is also fragile, and while it can take some time to build, it can be destroyed in a second. Therefore, it is vital to be open and transparent in all communications with your customers; never lie or be dishonest. Always be truthful whenever answering questions, and never lie or exaggerate the benefits of a product to get a sale. While doing so can work for a short time, people will eventually catch on, and your trust will be forever damaged.

Final Thoughts

While there are many important factors to the success of your business, none are as important as earning the trust of your customers, without which you lose referrals and the potential to grow and expand. When you lose trust, your business will likely fail. But trust can be built and maintained with a proper plan. Always be open, honest, and transparent in all your interactions; make it a part of your mission statement. Build relationships with your customers, and do everything you can to make them happy and feel valued. While this might seem difficult and overwhelming, it can be simplified by remembering to treat your customers as you would want a business to treat you.

Sarah SmithSarah Smith is a blogger is currently learning about marketing, using the internet. Aside from working on her own business, she likes to use social media and read travel books. Find her at Twitter.

Using Marketing Automation Tools to Boost Your Customer Referral Program

Using Marketing Automation Tools to Boost Your Customer Referral Program - Duct Tape Marketing

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The benefits of referral marketing have been recognized for a long time. Compared to traditional advertising, a positive referral from a happy customer is one of the most valuable forms of marketing. People pay twice as much attention to recommendations from friends and family members than any other source, according to the Wharton Business School. On top that, a referred customer is 16 percent more valuable over a lifetime than any other form of customer.

Earning positive referrals requires more than providing a valuable service or product, although that’s certainly a key requirement. It’s important to automate the process and empower customers to make recommendations. When marketing automation works, it boosts efficiency, lessens your workload and helps generate new customers.

A happy customer needs only a little nudge to share their experience with their network, and automating the process allows you to focus on whatever your company does best. Utilizing marketing automation tools — whether it’s on social media, emails or websites — is critical for the long-term success of your company.

The numbers on marketing automation speak for themselves:

  • Companies using automation for email marketing earn twice as many leads as those that don’t.
  • 75 percent of companies using marketing automation see a return on investment in a year.
  • Companies using marketing automation increased sales by an average of 34 percent.
  • 91 percent of those using marketing automation say it is “very important” to the success of their program.
Using Marketing Automation Tools to Boost Your Customer Referral Program - Duct Tape Marketing

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Develop Your Strategy

Marketing automation tools come in all forms and typically aren’t free. Before you decide which tools to use, it’s best to determine your strategy. Doing otherwise is could lead to negative results. Far too often, marketers try every tool at their disposal without thinking about what will actually work with their customers.

The name “automation” sounds like something mechanical and impersonal, but the most effective strategies feel highly personalized to customers.

Implementing marketing automation for referrals is destined to fail if your leads are weak from the start. Think of existing leads as money in the bank and marketing automation as a way to grow that money. If there’s no money to begin with, it’s impossible to see any growth.

A good automation strategy recognizes ripe opportunities and builds upon them. Like a plant, leads need to be nurtured and cultivated. An abundance of spammy, impersonal messages can stunt any growth.

To begin, think about your goals. Do you want to generate new leads? Or do you want to convert existing leads into loyal customers? Maybe it’s something else entirely. No matter what it is, it’s good to take a close look at your absolute best customers. This close circle is the most valuable because they’re more likely to spread the word and make recommendations from friends.

Choose Your Tools

Marketing automation is a fast-growing industry that’s been valued at approximately $1.62 billion annually. With this fast growth comes a number of tools for businesses to use. Some of the most popular include Hubspot, Infusionsoft, and Marketo. The merits of these tools are debated endlessly, with many people touting their own reasons for one being superior to the other.

The tools are varied, but many of them come down to social media, email marketing and websites. Here are some examples of what marketing automation can do for each platform. Many of these tools are interconnected:

Social media

Social media can be a time sink that takes up too much of the day, but it’s important because social media is typically the face of your company. Social media should always have a personal touch, yet automation can help round out your social media strategy and save lots of time.

Social media can be a time sink that takes up too much of the day, but it’s important because social media is typically the face of your company. Social media should always have a personal touch, yet automation can help round out your social media strategy and save lots of time.

For example, your automation can help new website posts go directly to social media or allow you to easily curate content. Some companies use automation for customer service queries, but this strategy sometimes backfires when companies accidentally pester customers with useless information. It’s important not to be over reliant on automation. Social media works best when there’s a sense of immediacy instead of a series of static, long-planned posts that were scheduled to post automatically.

Email marketing

Marketing automation has its roots in email marketing, so the possibilities are robust. For starters, lists can be formed automatically. The most active users or long-dormant users can be welcomed with a new email. Or a new email can be used to upsell a recent customer and you won’t have to lift a finger.

The possibilities are vast, yet it’s possible for automation to run amok. Nobody likes being bombarded with emails, so you should weigh the importance of each communication.

Your website

The success of your website relies on traffic from social media and email marketing. It’s possible to cater dynamic content based on a person’s viewing habits, geographic location, and so on. Offers can be targeted to viewers that fulfill certain criteria.

Regardless of what strategy you adopt and what tools you use, it’s critical to always test what you’re doing. Extensive testing can turn a doomed campaign into a successful one by stamping out flaws. Failing to adequately test can turn away loyal customers. Always test your strategies, either by running the plan by others or segmenting your audience into a small test group. It’s worth the effort.

Sara LandrumSarah Landrum is a marketing specialist and the founder of Punched Clocks, a career blog focusing on happiness and success in life and at work. Follow Sarah on social media for more great tips! You can find her tweeting @SarahLandrum