5 tips for making your website more profitable in 2014

The start of a new year is traditionally the time people decide to either start their new business or make changes to their existing business. The downtime over the holiday season gives us the opportunity to recharge our batteries, take a step back to get perspective and get inspired to make the new year a successful and prosperous one.

At Mantis Technologies we are celebrating our 14th year in business. During this time we have seen the web go from infancy to a major part of the global economy. In preparation for 2014 we have put together our top 5 tips for making your website more profitable...

Tip #1 Content marketing

2011 and 2012 saw some of the biggest changes in the direction of online marketing as Google rolled out major changes and enhancements to their ranking algorithm. The major changes related to decreasing the importance of excessive incoming links and increasing the importance of regular, fresh content on your website. This gave birth to the buzzword ‘content marketing’ which is the concept of developing specific content that your target market will find useful, informative and/or entertaining.

By developing a plan to create fresh informative content for your website, you can increase the exposure of your website as it shows your website as fresh and relevant, you start building a profile as an industry leader and more people will find you as more content is exposed through social media sharing, Google and Bing search results, etc.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to develop regular new content for your website then you can outsource this to a professional copywriter.

Tip #2 Social media

There is no doubt that the explosion of social media has been huge over the past few years. Social media platforms like Google plus, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, You Tube, etc. have all matured to allow great ways for businesses to engage with their customers. Social media is an essential marketing channel to build relationships with potential and existing customers.

If you have not already done so, make 2014 the year you start using social media for your business. The best way to determine which social media platforms to use is to find out where your target market are. For online retail, this is usually Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest and for professional services the best place is Linked In.

We also highly recommend you start using Google plus. Google plus is a lot like Facebook but is tied very heavily into other Google services. Activity in Google plus can influence search engine rankings, sometimes quite significantly. For example, if you like a website using the plus one feature, it will show much higher in search results to all of your connections using Google services. Google has also indicated that social media interactions are a factor in their search engine ranking algorithm.

Tip #3 Email marketing

We have closely watched statistics on the return on investment of various marketing channels and email marketing continues to blow all other marketing methods (such as seo and social media) out of the water consistently every year. Email marketing is the single most cost effective form of marketing and provides the highest return on investment out of any marketing channels available.

Properly thought out and professionally designed email campaigns can build trust and establish your business as an industry leader. Marketing theory says that you have to be in front on someone 5 to 7 times on average before they will make a purchase and email marketing goes a long way towards making this happen.
Marketing experts also agree that it is far easier and more cost effective to sell to existing customers than to acquire new ones. The easiest way to do this is through the announcement of new products and services, special offers and more via email marketing.

If you are not already doing email marketing on a regular basis (at least once a month) then you should take a look at our easy to use email marketing platform MantisMail (www.mantismail.com.au). MantisMail allows you to easily design and schedule email campaigns and comes with a comprehensive reporting feature that shows you exactly how successful each email campaign is. We can even help with the design and planning of email campaigns.

Tip #4 Conversion rate optimization

Conversion rate optimisation (CTO) is another online marketing buzzword that is gaining popularity and momentum. Research shows that globally the conversion rate on an ecommerce website is between 2% to 5%. This rate is common for many successful ecommerce businesses.

We have a particular client that is averaging a 3% conversion rate which results in a 1.5 million dollar turnover per annum. Imagine if that website was able to increase their conversion rate to just 6%. That still seems quite small but would literally double their turnover to 3 million and should double their profit with not a cent more spent on marketing.

The art of conversion rate optimisation is analysing a website and it's traffic, identifying areas that people are dropping off (also known as bouncing) and then implementing strategies to minimise the drop offs and therefore increase the number of conversions (whether it be sales, enquiries or newsletter sign ups).

Conversion rate optimisation is best undertaken by an ecommerce expert with at least 10 years experience in online marketing. It is only through this experience they are able to identify areas on a website that need to be changed or tweaked to increase conversions. Some techniques we have previously found that can increase conversion rates on websites are:

1) Offering free freight and/or flat rate shipping
2) Changing heading names of products or forms to better describe what the product or service is
3) Decluttering the content on a page and rewording it with better marketing copy
4) Changing the colour and size of buttons and other calls to action
5) Implementing an abandoned cart email system (such as found in our MantisShop ecommerce platform) to capture lost customers and encourage them to complete their order
6) Deploying a mobile / smartphone friendly version of your website

Contact us today if you would like to discuss how we can help increase conversions on your website.

Tip # 5 Upgrading your website site / streamline processes

In the past 14 years we have seen many online businesses come and go and during this time, we have identified common strategies that very successful businesses use and the less successful businesses either ignore or don't know about.

The most common strategy is to see your website as a constant work in progress rather than something you pay to get set up and then sit back and wait for the money and customers to roll in. Both your business and technology change over time and in this day and age it changes at an increasingly faster pace. Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook) is quoted as saying that successful businesses must "change often and change quickly" to survive in the modern world.

We recommend that you should review both your business processes and your website every 12 months in order to stay ahead of the curve and continue to grow. A great business coach once gave this analogy.. When a mountain climber is scaling Mt Everest, they don't use the same tools the whole way up. They use certain tools to get to a certain spot and then realise they need to change their technique and tools to scale the next section. They repeat this process for each section to make their way to the top.

The same can be said for business. Your website may be perfectly fine for what you need when you first start your business but after a year or two of solid growth, you may find you have to change the way you do things, streamline processes, hire more staff, etc. By upgrading and enhancing your website you can then take advantage of the latest technologies to support the growing demands and changes in your business.

If your website is more than 2 years old then you are either finding that your business is stagnating and not growing or you are finding your website is becoming clunky and not able to support the growth of your business.

We hope you find something useful in this article to grow your business in 2014 and we wish you a happy and prosperous new year!