“What makes you unique? What is it about your business that’s different from your competitors? Once you have that brand identity, those answers are your brand. They are what makes you, you.”
From today’s episode you’ll learn:
Hi guys, it’s Justyna, LiveChat writer and, obviously, the host of this podcast.
In today’s episode I’d like to focus on one of the greatest pain points for all business owners. Our today’s question is: how do I get more traffic to my website? How to attract visitors, keep them on a website and turn them into customers?
My today’s guest is Anastasia Philopoulos, Shopify’s content creator who manages “Web Design and Development Blog.” In today’s interview she reveals the secrets of all these factors that seduce customers like brand identity, relevant marketing strategy and elements of a catchy website.
Get yourself ready for a big dose of knowledge!
Hi Anastasia, how are you?
I’m good Justina, how are you?
I’m great. I’m really excited to have you in my show.
Thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure.
All right. Can you please tell me something about yourself?
Sure, yeah! So I work for Shopify, I’m based in their headquarters in Ottawa, Canada which is the capital city and I run the “Web Design and Development” blog for Shopify which basically is for people that design websites, build websites, or build apps and we basically help our audience grow their business so that they can support our merchants.
I also know that you love a chocolate stout beer, right?
I am a big craft beer lover, it’s true, and I particularly love stout beers. I’m a – I’m a fan there’s no doubt.
It’s not usual you know. Is it bitter despite of the chocolate?
The chocolate sweetens it but I kind of like bitter beers as well, but there’s something about stout that just makes my heart sing and when you add the chocolate, it’s just really adding all the things that I love to consume, when I’m being naughty of course.
Sounds delicious. Okay, so let me start with the first question. It’s a huge pain for every business owner how to attract visitors to our website, right, and I know it’s a very wide question as you can mention all types of marketing that will help you – you know, to bring customers to your website. But what if I’m just starting my business and want to see the results as fast as possible and I have limited financial and time resources? Are there strategies that will help me to bring customers to my website?
Yeah, of course. And like as you mentioned, there are lots of different ways that you can attract clients, but I think when you’re just starting out, some of the – there’s three things that just comes to mind. One is having a strong brand identity – one is doing a little bit of marketing as you’ve kind of mentioned. And one is making sure you have a strong website.
So to start with strong brand identity, I think this isn’t really display, a brand isn’t deciding on when a pretty logo looks like, or what your business looks like usually. I think this really comes down to what does your company stand for? And you can kind of define this by asking yourself 3 really important questions:
Why do you do those things?
And I would encourage people to think about when you’re answering these questions, what makes you unique? What is it about your business that’s different from your competitors? And then I would - once you kind of have that brand indedity down, that’s – you know, those answers are your brand. They are what makes you, you.
Based on that, currently well, you know, and so I think the next step really is you need to pitch that brand identity. So if you can explain to a client or friend or a potential customer your brand – your business within – I don’t know, 30 seconds, less than a minute, then you’re doing really well.
Because the idea really is that if other people can easily remember what you’re all about, then they can tell others about you, right, then you have a little series of brand ambassadors helping you getting new clients.
So that’s number one. Number two is marketing.
There’s lots of different ways to do marketing. You can, you know, do blog posts, you can send out a newsletter, you can do PR with like the local newspapers, business magazines, there’s lots of different ways, but I think when you’re just standing out, you don’t have a lot of money, the easiest way to kind of jump on the band wagon, is to really look at social media.
Pick a site whether it’s Twitter or Facebook or Instagram or really any site that you think your audience lives, so if you have a niche audience you try to sell to, go to them. If it’s Reddit, if it’s Tumblr, whatever it is, create a profile, start there.
I would suggest – especially when you first starting out, pick one, maybe two maximum if you really feel strongly about it, it’s a lot of work – it’s more work than you think it’s going to be, and social media sites – social media profiles and pages do well once when are well maintained.
So focus on your energy and one spot to start and I think it will do your best if you, if you focus in that way. So once you kind of start-up your profile, I think the next step really is to make sure that you’re curating good content.
Obviously, you know, it can’t all just be promotional content, it can’t all just be what’s peaceful to you – you need to make sure you’re putting out content that’s useful to everyone that’s reading it, right?
So a good rule for this – yeah, a good rule for this is the 30/60/10 rule. So you’re going to do 10% promotional for your business, 60% percent curated content that you find around the internet that you think will be useful, educational or interesting for users or potential customers and 30% your own contents, so content you defined and you create that’s educational, helpful and inspiring to your audience.
And yeah, you want to make sure you’re sharing content that is useful and informative for everyone. So a couple of quick and dirty helpful tips about Social Media: use lots of images, emojis are always great, don’t overdo it for people kind of lose that social conversation.
Pin your best performing Tweet on the top of your profile, your best performing post, always helps people show that there is some social proof that you’re doing a good job of your business, which can always help to get you new eyeballs and I think also if you’re looking to kind of boost the amount of people that are tuned into your social medias’ site – a great idea is to run a contest or a give-away.
People love free stuff, you know, the low barrier to entries to like your page – let’s say it’s on Facebook, that’s a really easy way of getting new people into your clutches so that you can then feed them amazing content and some promotional stuff too.
Hmm. Okay, but I still have to ask you one question about the brand personality, brand Identity because I think it’s a very important thing that you’ve said that it should be the first thing that every company starts and I have the impression that all people have like a problem with it. Because they – you know, design a website and they want to start selling immediately without thinking about the – you know, general picture of their company.
Would you have a couple of suggestions how to come out – you know, with the perfect idea with the brand identity or personality?
Yeah, I agree with you like I think that, you can’t put the cart before the horse, right. That will look average. You really – you need to understand why you are doing what you’re doing, and I do – I think those questions that I suggested about - I really and truly dig deep and figure out like why are you building this business in the first place?
I think taking the time – you know, sometimes it’s talking it out with a friend or someone that you trust, sometimes it’s writing yourself a letter like some people think better when they’re writing. Having that one-liner or 2-liner about who you are and the business you represent. That will serve you so well going forward, because there’s no hesitation. You know where you’re going, you know who you are and that’s really important in business.
One of the things we’ve talked about at Shopify a lot, is we – we help, we really like to talk about making comers better for everyone. And that’s a thing that you kind of go through the Shopify website, you’ll really see that shining through like we want to help merchants sell better and we want to make sure everyone can be an entrepreneur if they want that goal, that dream, so I think we only look at those big companies that are doing it well, you’ll know within the next few seconds of landing on their website, what they’re all about.
You’ve also mentioned website design, and is it something that also helps to attract customers?
Oh my gosh, it’s so important, and there’s a couple of things here.
There’s a strong website and then there’s like the good design principles, so I think there’s two ways of looking at this, and that I’ll go through. One is, I think a strong website is a website that helps potential clients turn into light-bum customers and so I’m talking about a website that not only helps users understand your brand, who you are, but that also let them clearly know that they can trust your business.
There’s so many online businesses these days and it’s not just the – you know, is this a scam, is what they promising me on their webpage what I’m really going to get. I think there’s a few ways to kind of build that trust, and that will get you new clients.
A couple of things to think about to make a strong website, social proof – you know, that means getting a satisfied customer to write testimonials, linking to positive product reviews, or even getting your biggest fan to record how happy they are with their purchasing experience with you. Those are all really great ways of doing social proof.
You can also like link to press coverage or any awards received. Another really good idea is to include a good Frequently Asked Questions page. I think that this helps answers questions up-front and straight before it matters to your users. And it also alleviate like purchasing anxieties, information like - you know, say you want to return a return policy. That’s not necessarily information you’re going to keep on your aprotic page. So having a solid and well placed, people may ask questions, a page or section of your blog or your website, is really important.
And then finally a really and well designed website.
This is so important and it just will – it’s just not about well design also, doesn’t mean just something that’s pretty or nice to look at – it mean something that users can get around easily, what they can navigate, they know, they can understand quickly, what you’re all about and how to actually use your product or find information that they need. So, you know, and I always hate like, some of the worst mistakes I’ve seen are like flashing pop-ups.
I love them, I love them!
When you find those examples, you just want to like keep them as like don’t do this like not – I think it’s – to be honest, at the end of the day, it’s all kinds of things you shouldn’t be doing, but let’s focus on what you should be doing because I think that will help give you a good idea.
And I think, keep in mind while I’m talking about these things that your website is your business card. So you really need to think about deciding with care and some really good research behind you, how to actually design it because it’s so important for getting new clients.
So, three things to keep in mind, okay, really important, and they’re all got clarity and being cleared and not using flashing pop-ups and flashing buttons. Don’t do that. Okay.
Number one: clear focus. So, as soon as someone lands on your page, on your website, I’m sorry, they should understand that you’re all about – they should be able to understand your brand identity – remember what we’ve just talked about, they need to be able to see that or read that appear within seconds.
So you can communicate what you’re all about, what your product are all about, with a high resolution image or with some really snazzy content or copy that engages users. So a really good example of this is Skype.
Skypes’ webpage is as soon as you land on their page, it's one large image that captures your focus right away and that copy says: “Skype keeps the world talking for free”. And that also includes a clear call to action button within seconds on arriving on their website, you know what the product is, how much it costs and how to complete the action of getting Skype. That’s exactly what you’re aiming to do, that’s so important. Do I make sense?
Yes it does, and by the way, I’m not an expert but as far as I know, there is this scheme of a website that every website designer should follow. So for example that you have the navigation bar of the top of the screen, that you have logo in the top left or contact on the right, is that a good path to follow?
I think, I mean obviously that’s not what we see a lot. And I don’t think that’s – there’s conventional wisdom behind that, but I think it depends on what you’re selling, who you are, what your Brand Identity is.
I think it’s more important that they, that user experience is favourite over being flashy or trendy. I think you’ll get more clients, and keep more clients if they know how to use your website and how to navigate it clearly.
And that kind of brings me to another point I that I was going to bring up, was a clear path to check out. This is –
This is so important, right?
Yes. So important. And it’s just – and I see people tripping up on this so much. So I think it’s really easy for – it needed to be like the easiest thing in the world for you to come to your website, pick a product, and buy it.
There is nothing more important and it is the number one thing you should be focussing on getting your users to do, right? Because you are in eCommerce now. You need to sell things to make a living. And so I think – what I see a lot of times is merchants get caught up in other asks, you know, like follow me on Twitter, share this cool thing I’m doing on social media or sign up for my newsletter, and those are – those aren’t bad, it got great gig, but the thing is, you have to – you can’t lose sight of what your main purposes is. You want people to buy above else.
So your button should be clear, it should be super clear, it should be the thing that draws the most attention, I think. And it shouldn’t be competing with other elements or visuals on your product page especially.
So a really great example of this is Pink Body, it’s an Australian Skincare website. Really easy to find and what’s awesome about this website, is that it demonstrates the demo fact and commonly easy to navigate and bide and it’s such a fun website with lots of beautiful product photography, lots of fun, copy that’s corky and really represents their brand well.
But when you’re going into their product page, you see the ease, you see the name of the product, you see a nice photo, you see a little description, the add the cart button is the most prominent thing about the product.
You click on it and then it says go to cart. You now easily can access your cart. These are things that not only make me – make it easy for me to spend my money, but now I want to spend my money because look how pretty this button is. Like seriously, it’s like just – it’s so important and so yeah, it’s makes a winner in my eyes to be honest, when you can do that. When you can do these two things.
Yeah, it’s fantastic!
And my last point is it’s the clear navigation and we’ve talked about it already. It’s so important for you just to be able to kind of go around different parts of your website. I think it’s really based on making sure your pages are well-organized in a way it makes sense to your users.
I always… I’m obviously, because I work for Shopify, but I also really love our website, it’s so clear, the navigation you see, topics are at the top of the page, you see a nice drop-down menu, it’s not too cluttered, colourful that’s traditional, set-up for web page we talked about earlier Justyna.
Now talked about have obviously has lots of resources because it’s all about the company. So if you’re just starting out, that you want to kind of test out to see if some of your assumptions about how to organise your web page make sense, a really good way and a really simple way is just to ask your friends and family to navigate your site while you watch and take notes on my list.
Give them specific information they need to find or a task they need to complete, and watch. If you have a bit more of a larger client base, reach out to them. Offer them a gift card to get them – to chat with them for half an hour on the phone or to get them to fill out a survey. And if you’re a little bit more technologically advanced, consider tools that record how users interact with your website.
One tool that comes to mind is Lucky Orange. Great tool, love using it. It will give you such great insight not only about where your users are stumbling in terms of your navigation, but it will helps you with things like check-out and other aspects of your website that users are having a hard time with.
Hmm, yeah, and I think it’s a very, very nice idea to ask your friends and I just thought that, if your mother is able to navigate through your website and buy something, then it’s good. It’s user-friendly.
Exactly, right? That’s exactly how the thought-process are. So you don’t need a lot of money to do these research. You can do it on your own.
Yes, exactly. All right so, thank you very much for this chat. It was, it was really fun, and thank you so much.
Thank you, it was fun talking with you Justyna.
Alright, that’s all for today! Thanks for listening! If you want to catch up with the next episode of Business Sidekick, you can find us on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud and Youtube. Don’t forget to subscribe to our channels and give us thumbs up if you like Business Sidekick!
I wish you a flood of new visitors on your websites and irresistible brand identities, take care!
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