When my son was just a few months old, I drove the family up to a farm in Connecticut to find the perfect pumpkins. I remember as soon as we pulled into the “parking lot” it was clear we weren’t the only ones with that brilliant idea. The farm was jam-packed with kids, parents, tractors, hay, and of course, pumpkins!
The farm must do pretty well in peak season, but as I’ll highlight in this article, they could be doing much better. As I chased my kids around, I observed 3 common marketing mistakes that were hurting sales on the farm. Don’t worry, this article is not specific to farming. In fact, the 3 mistakes I’m going to highlight are the same 3 we tend to find when conducting SEO audits for our clients. I know that sounds a bit odd, but trust me, you’ll learn how to improve your SEO from my adventures in a pumpkin patch. :)
Confusing Layout & No Map
The first mistake was the most frustrating for me as the consumer. Unless you’ve been to the farm before, there is very little chance you’ll be able to figure out where to go to do anything. That’s because there is no map and the few signs they posted were too small to read until you were a few feet away from them.
That left my family with the only option to aimlessly walk around to create our own mental map of the farm. To this day, I’m not confident we saw everything, but I do know we did not see the local wine stand until it was too late to make a purchase. That’s at least one lost sale right there.
Now let’s turn our attention to your website. Are you making the same mistake? Is it crystal clear to a new visitor where to go to find your products or services?
Here’s the thing, we all think our own websites are easy to use because we use our websites without even thinking. The secret is to find someone who has never used your website before and doesn’t know your business. Have that person use your website and provide honest feedback about usability.
And don’t forget about testing on your mobile device! Google updated its search engine algorithm to take mobile usability into account. That means if your website is not easy to use on a mobile device (aka mobile-friendly or mobile-optimized), then your rankings will suffer.
Multiple Pumpkin Patches for Similar Pumpkins
The second mistake again caused some confusion. The farm had multiple pumpkin patches, several bins of pumpkins, and many piles of pumpkins spread out across the farm. If each area contained different types of pumpkins separated by size, shape, and color, then there wouldn’t be a problem. However, each area had similar pumpkins!
Of course, I didn’t know each area had similar pumpkins until I walked around and inspected them first-hand. As the consumer, that was a negative experience that certainly didn’t help the sales process. Plus, it made the decision to pick a particular pumpkin much harder because I was never sure if there was a better one in another location. As I’m sure you know, that kind of indecision can kill sales.
The same thing can happen on your website. If you have multiple pages for essentially the same product or service, then that creates confusion for your visitors. But in this case, you’re not just confusing your prospective customer, you’re also confusing Google! When you have duplicate pages on your website, then Google’s algorithm will not know for sure which page you want to display in the search results. That means duplicate pages will not only hurt your sales but can also hurt your chances of ranking in Google.
No Lead Magnet
The third mistake was a big one: the farm failed to collect my contact information while I was there. That means the farm has no way to follow up with me to remind me to bring my family back next year. To be honest, I don’t remember the name of the farm so there’s a good chance I would never go back unless they followed up via email or physical mail.
There was plenty of opportunity to get my contact information. For example, why didn’t they take a picture of my family in front of a big pile of pumpkins and offer to email it to me if I gave my email address? Or how about a free gourd or small pumpkin in exchange for my mailing address? I would have gladly done both.
Those are two examples of “lead magnets.” A lead magnet is something you offer to prospects and customers in exchange for their contact information so you can follow up to encourage repeat business and referrals.
The fact is if your website does not have a lead magnet, then you’re losing sales. Don’t expect your website visitors to remember your business name and URL after they leave your website. Chances are very good they didn’t write it down and they won’t be able to find your website when they are finally ready to make a purchase. When that happens you’ll lose the sale to a competitor that just happens to be in the right place at the right time.
Remember, SEO success is not measured in keyword rankings, it’s measured in revenue. And a lead magnet will ensure you’re maximizing the sales you generate from your investment in SEO.