Today’s guest blog post is by Zach Prez. He says: “I’m a dad and social cyclist who loves to talk marketing over a cup of Lipton tea. I write about SEO, email marketing, social media, and web design for photographers over at http://photographywebmarketing.com”
Last week I was walking through the dreaded mall with my family. As I browsed the storefronts and window displays I realized marketing at play. I’m carrying what feels like 200 pounds of shopping bags, pushing a stroller and am in no mood to browse. I take about 5 seconds to glance at each store’s design and promotions and decide with my subliminal consciousness if I skip it or take a closer look. I peek through the window as I shove some more goldfish crackers into my toddlers’ mouths. Do I have time to go in? Anything in there I need to buy?
I often think about the amount of marketing that goes into those windows; hooks and promotions used to get me in the door. Then there’s the marketing inside the store to turn me from a person browsing to a new customer. Many things at play move me toward a purchase: clear navigation, lack of clutter, style, social proof, no wait time, product placement, and marketing messages. The same 7 concepts apply to your website and become critical in converting the window shoppers to paying customers. The first item, clear navigation, is discussed below and you can pick up details on the other 6 in my Photography Web Marketing Guide.
Create Clear Navigation
Start with navigation because edits are fast, easy, and you need to move your customers toward a decision as quickly as possible without losing their interest.
A homepage is the most visited and most important page of the site. Many new visitors (potential clients) begin here. In looking at your homepage, is it clear what you want them to do?
If I were to offer you a potential client right now and send them to your homepage, what do you want them to do? Think about exactly what you want them to read or click. My guess is you want them to contact you and book an appointment immediately more than you want them to read your blog or mobile website.
Plan out specific goals for the page and the importance of each goal on a scale of 1 to 5. For example:
- Contact me to schedule an appointment – 5
- View my photo gallery – 5
- Subscribe to something (Email, Facebook, Twitter, RSS) – 3
- View my photography blog – 1
- View informational text or other important pages (About me, Pricing, etc) – 1
In this case, your homepage should look like this
|View My Photo Gallery||Contact Me to Schedule an Appointment|
|Subscribe for great information: Email | Facebook | Twitter | RSS|
|View my blog|
|Text about me
Links to important pages
Notice how each section has clear text that tells the user what to do (View… Contact… Subscribe…) and the least important information is smallest and at the bottom of the page. The same can be said for top navigation on a site or blog.
As a new user to your website I want:
- examples of photos (Galleries)
- information about the photographer (About)
- pricing information (Pricing)
- contact information (Contact)
Those should be the first links in your navigation. Don’t confuse people with clever names like Investment. Does that mean pricing? As a user I’m not sure and might not click it. Remove any unnecessary links like Client Proofing since that has no relevance to new customers.
Effective navigation can be easily obtained by reducing the amount of choices given to a user. If you have kids you know what I mean. Offer them 10 different candy bars and you’ll be in a decision stalemate for eternity. Offer 1 or 2 and they’ll choose quickly. Focus your user’s attention on the most important actions by removing clutter.
Want to learn more from Zach Prez? Buy his new e-book, “Photography Web Marketing Guide” that takes on a whole lot of topics that will be of interest to working photographers who want to excel in their online marketing efforts.
If you liked the post, or have a perspective you think might help us understand this topic better, please post your comments below.