blog not getting traffic

This is probably not the first time such a title has caught your eye.

Yet again, your hopes are up.  You’re pouring over this article eagerly, waiting to catch a marketing gem (“create killer content”, “have a personal voice”), that will finally, finally (sigh) transform the fate of your blog.

However, I do not have any tips, ideas or full-blown strategies to take you to overnight success. All that I have to offer are three critical but often-hushed truths that helped me get my company’s blog on track, and could help you too.

You need to hit a sweet spot, and it’s going to take a long while

“Be consistent so that your readers know what to expect from you, and keep coming back for more! ”

“Spice things up with variety, and cater to the tastes of all kinds of readers. ”

Paradoxes are a common plague in the world of blogging, and they can be mind-boggling.

For the sake of thought-leadership, your blog needs to be thorough and value-filled – and for the sake of mass readership, it should still remain simple and interesting. Post regularly, but do not annoy a visitor with too much buzz. Create content around SEO keywords that have already been done to death, but be fresh and original with what you write.

Finding the right ‘balance’ that clicks can be incredibly daunting, and it will not happen in one go. You’ll need to :-

1) Experiment 

What is the silver lining in the dark cloud of an unpopular blog? You have full freedom to experiment, and no reader expectations to keep up to! So play around with your design, content, distribution and CTAs on a periodic basis.

And don’t just go back and forth between the tried and the tested strategies – be original with your experiments, as well.

Sure, a long-form ‘How-to’ post is what all your competitors do – but could a comic strip on the same subject work better?

2) Analyze

Does a minimalistic design decrease your  bounce rate? Does posting snippets from the blog on social media drive more engagement than merely linking to the actual post?

Don’t rely on intuition or ‘surface’ numbers. Change one aspect of your blog every week (or whatever period you find suitable), and study how that affected all the critical metrics.

3) Implement 

Don’t be lazy about scrapping the ideas that did not work, and aggressively implement the ones that did.

Your problem is too complex for a few clicks to solve

No article or e-book will ever have ‘all that you need to know’. No expert will ever know your business as much as you do – in all of its history, glories and failures. Nobody will ever hand you for free an idea so refreshing, so new and so captivating – that it instantly makes your blog a success.

The lack of readers for your blog is a problem too broad, too personal, too demanding for anyone but yourself to solve.  It needs absolute originality – in the kind of content you create, in the ways you market it – and nobody is going to give that to you for free.

Therefore, do not treat advice on the internet as rules, do not simply replicate success stories from the past,  and do not depend solely on the free expertise on the internet. Use your favorite online resources as education – on the basis of which you will need to experiment with your strategies.

You do not always need a blog

It is ridiculously difficult to consider the idea of blog-killing.

You might have already invested too much in building it, or you might believe that a blog, like a website, is an unquestionable necessity and not just another marketing initiative.

What you need to realize is that blogging is a costly affair. Unlike a website, it is not a one-time expense and it does not serve a common, defined purpose. Put aside the marketing pulse of the moment and think for your ownself :-

1) What goals do you want to achieve through your business blog?

These could be search engine optimization, driving higher traffic to your website, engaging with your community, building a brand/thought-leadership, etc.

2) What alternatives to blogging can you use to achieve these goals?

For example –

  • If you’re a local restaurant – sponsoring in-city physical events will lead to more targeted, relevant brand awareness than a blog would.
  • Similarly, if you’re a small-scale manufacturer of fertilizer, or cement – chances are that many of your customers aren’t online themselves, in which case it would make no sense for you to have a blog.
  • If you’re a big FMCG brand with a massive following on social channels, and high rankings on search engines – why do you need a blog for long-form content, when the readership for that is already on the decline?

3) How much would those alternatives cost you? How would that cost compare to the cost of maintaining your blog?

There’s a very fine line between working relentlessly to make something a success, and being blindly stubborn about moving on from something that just isn’t working out.

Take a severely practical decision, and make sure you remain on the right side!

There, you have it, the three things that helped improve my approach to business blogging. Stop bothering Google with searches like ‘how to increase my blog traffic’, and think these three points through. In time, you’ll have your answers!

This post was first published in The Hindu Business Line

The Internet is unstructured, your business is not. A competitive intelligence system can only be effective in delivering insights if it is able to filter out the noise and convert data into structured reporting. Hear all about digital listening for competitive intelligence from expert Mohit Bhakuni, in our webinar.

In case you missed it, you can:

Competitive Intelligence

View the Webinar Recording

The session covers:

  1. Why online listening is important for an effective competitive intelligence program
  2. How to separate noise from important information online and structure it to generate insights
  3. Dashboards, news feeds, and email alerts – how to distribute competitive intelligence within your organisation

Visit our blog for more webinar recordings and marketing blog posts.

Is Twitter in good shape to stay the go-to social media platform as we enter 2016?

How relevant will Twitter marketing be in 2016

We recently caught up with Twitter super fan Anandan Pillai, who joined the platform in 2009 and 31.7k tweets later loves Twitter the most amongst all social media channels because of its brevity and promptness. It has been a one-stop destination for this Social Media Lead at HCL Technologies to research, network and get entertained.

Q. Twitter has not been able to keep up with the likes of Facebook in terms of generating enough revenue. Do you think 2016 will ring in good news for them?

It has been a big challenge for Twitter to generate revenues (and profits) that could entice the investors and individual shareholders. Twitter has been trying its best to spike its revenue with innovations like showing Twitter ads to logged-out users, more focus on video content etc. Revenue growth will increase, but it will be still an uphill task for Twitter to match the revenues of Facebook.

Q. With the recent opening up of Twitter advertising for SMEs in many countries, many smaller players have tried their hands with the same and some have reported positive feedback as well. Do you think Twitter advertising can and will be more relevant for startups, SMEs and large corporations alike in the time to come?

Twitter marketing It is very subjective to one’s market and industry. In general Twitter ads are costlier than Facebook ads and hence in most industries reaching out to target audience through Facebook is always an economical option for marketers. Further, the targeting features that Facebook provides are far more effective than that are available on Twitter. In India, I don’t think startups or SMEs will find it an economical option. However, Twitter marketing may work for some non-niche kind of product categories like food, travel, apparel, accessories, apparels etc. Will it work for a niche B2B Tier-2 supplier? It is seriously doubtful.

Q. Twitter Cards, Twitter Polls and Lengthier DMs, is there some feature you feel Twitter should come up with to solve people’s problems. 

I have had serious concerns with Twitter Polls feature, as I don’t see them to be effective for brands. Increasingly, I am noticing news channels use this feature to get their votes on a recent debatable topic. Twitter cards have found a permanent place for many social media marketers due to the richness that they bring to the table. I am personally not happy with few changes that Twitter has done recently by renaming ‘Favourites’ to ‘Likes’ and tweaking the image dimensions to square instead of earlier rectangular shape. Twitter also came up with ‘Moments’ feature which lists the top news of the World. Frankly, I don’t find it helpful. Even Facebook introduced a similar feature ‘Trending News’ a few months back.

The question we need to ask is ‘how often do we visit these features?’ As a user I am mostly bothered about my newsfeed and timeline, the prime property where I don’t have to invest much effort to get an update. These recent changes by Twitter are mostly reactive in nature and mostly with an intention to match Facebook features and they will not drive the MAUs or revenues for Twitter. The irony is most of the common users of Facebook and Twitter will agree that Twitter is a better platform from networking, information seeking point of view and yet the active users and total users count are far from the numbers on Facebook. The trend is moving towards more discreet size of content (e.g. Snapchat).

So, in my view Twitter should integrate Vine in a better manner and leverage it better. If the GIFs can entice users, why can’t Vines? We have heard Twitter experimenting with chronological order of timeline, which I think would be a disaster move and kill the entire concept of real-time conversation. I feel Twitter needs to work more on its timeline algorithm and make it more intelligent than just real-time sequential stream of content pieces. Given the high spontaneity nature of the Twitter timeline, it is high time Twitter spends considerable time to understand how users interact with content and it should work towards providing ‘relevant content’ to the user when he/she logs in and not the ‘recent content’ that was tweeted minutes ago. Also, providing better targeting variables on Twitter ads platform (like age, state/city, company, etc.) will build confidence of marketers, especially those of B2B marketers.

Q. There have been rumours of Google buying out Twitter in the near future. To sustain and grow, do you think Twitter should sell off? Could this be a good buy for Google?

Hardly did anyone imagine that after acquiring YouTube, Google would convert it into the second largest search engine of the world, just behind its own flagship product. Can Google repeat history with Twitter? Well, in my guess the odds are less in favor of Google this time, considering their struggles to make G+ work. Even their default subscription of G+ for all Gmail users hasn’t worked that well for brands to build an effective community with decent engagement levels. Well answering if Twitter should sell off is a tricky one and it depends on various factors. Twitter is no more a startup where few co-founders could decide the fate of the company as YouTube, Instagram and WhatsApp’s founders did. As of today Twitter is a large public enterprise and hence any decision Twitter CEO takes should be convincing enough for various stakeholders. If I had been Twitter CEO, I would go back to drawing board and spend more time with my product managers rather than discussing acquisition with investment bankers.

Q. Influencer Marketing has been the talk of the town all through 2015. Do you think having a few thousand followers is enough to proclaim one as an influencer? Do you feel that Social Media Influencer Marketing is over hyped currently?

Twitter marketingYes, ‘Influencer Marketing’ has been the buzz term in social media space during 2015. Unfortunately, at least in India 8 out of 10 times, the strategy is haywire. Just identifying Twiteratti with thousands of followers, paying them few hundred rupees for a single tweet or gifting them in kind wouldn’t result into ‘influencer marketing’. The problem with ‘these kind of influencers’ is that within a span of few hours they would tweet about 4-5 brands. Have marketers ever thought what would those influencers’ followers perceive?

Unlike in TVC context where Amitabh Bachchan, Sachin Tendulkar and SRK each endorse 40-50 brands, in social media a true influencer needs to have adequate product / category knowledge for him/her to influence the purchase decision. Potential customers hunt for reliable piece of information before making a purchase. Just having 10 people tweet for few hours and getting hashtag trends in India or even across the world, won’t have much impact on the overall customer psyche. Unfortunately, there is no full-proof methodology to establish the linkage between hashtag being trended and its impact on customer consideration. In my opinion the entire ecosystem is fooling each other – marketers, ‘so-called influencers’ and customers (who follow the herd). In 2016, I hope marketers realize this and will focus on nurturing a set of influencers who not only have thousands of followers but also possess adequate product and category knowledge for them to guide the customers in the best manner.

Q. With newer platforms like Instagram and Snapchat picking up pace, what do you think will be Twitter marketing’s relevance in 2016. Would everybody stay, or will a certain category find this platform most useful?

This is a million dollar question. Every social media platform, be it Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat has managed to build initial craze amongst the users and more importantly has continued to build the momentum with regular product features. Though Twitter is considered to be the most viral platform of all existing social media platforms, it has somehow lacked the momentum to grow (which is very surprising!). Be it terrorist attacks, natural calamities (earthquake/flood), political updates, sports or celebrity news, almost every news first appears on Twitter and it’s increasingly becoming the first source of news.

But, why hasn’t it still managed to increase active users? My guess is Twitter lacks the viral quotient of notifying the network of a particular user. For e.g. if I like / comment a post or interact with an app on Facebook, most of my friends would get to know about it, there is an inherent viral quotient present on the platform, which I think is lacking on Twitter. If Twitter works around innovating its timeline, introduces more effective ways of rich media, not only existing users will spend more time on the platform, but also new users will gets attracted to the platform.

Q. What is your suggestion for people who intend to join Twitter in 2016?

Twitter marketingIt’s not going to be easy for them ‘to be heard’ initially. So new Twitter users should have patience, identify right set of people to follow, share relevant content (and not just retweet others’ tweets) and try to engage with other Twitter users. The fame would follow only with relevant content.

This article has been republished here as part of LeadSquared’s Partnership with Digital Defynd.

lead prioritization cover

Last month, a miracle happened. Your company’s video went viral. Lead volume shot up by 500%. You were pumped and the office was filled with a spirit of celebration.

Cut to today, and your enthusiasm has been reduced to nothing. Here’s how :-

Week 1 :

80% of your calls have ended with the two fatal words – “not interested”.

Week 2 :

60% of your calls have ended with people telling you they don’t even remember your company’s name, and certainly didn’t sign up for a free trial seeing some video.

Week 3 :

40% of your calls have ended with people telling you they’ve already purchased your competitor’s product, thank you very much.

Week 4 :

Your conversion rate has dropped abysmally, and you don’t think you’ll ever be able to reach out to all the 12000 leads yet to be contacted.

Moral of the story? Two words could have prevented all of this heartbreak : lead prioritization.

What is lead prioritization?

Lead prioritization is simply separating quality leads from junk ones, so that you can reach out to the ones that are most ‘likely to buy’ first.

Now, how do you identify who is ‘likely to buy’ and who is not? You can use two simple parameters for that :-

  • Closeness to your Ideal Customer Persona (ICP) 
  • Level of buying intent 

Let us delve deeper into what these parameters mean, and how you can measure your lead’s ‘likelihood to buy’ from them.

Closeness to your Ideal Customer Persona (ICP)

This is a static measure of your lead quality and helps you understand the how aligned your product is with the needs of the lead.

Defining your ICP

Your ideal customer is someone who is the best fit for your product. Your Ideal Customer Persona is just a set of features that you use to represent your ideal customer.

Here are a few examples to help you understand this better :-

Lead Prioritization table

From the above table, it is clear that each business will use different metrics to define it’s ICP. Besides, one business may cater to more than one ICPs. For example, a travel agency selling budget as well as luxury packages will have different ICPs for each of them.

Qualifying leads based on ICP

Once you’ve defined your Ideal Customer Persona, you can use filters on Excel to qualify your leads on the basis of it.

Let’s take the case of a Tier II B-school, for which we have already defined the ICP above. This is what their lead data would look like, before prioritization :-

lead prioritization - excel

Now, let’s see what this list looks like after I apply these ICP filters – Profession :  IT, Age : 22-25 and Work Experience : 1-3 Years.

lead prioritization - excel

However, this is a very basic way to qualify your leads.  Manual prioritization using Excel comes with a couple of limitations :

1) It does not allow for leads that match the ICP to be ranked further

For example, in the above case, Lakshmi, Digvijay and Kumar will be assumed to have the same lead quality. This kind of manual prioritization will not work for businesses which generate thousands of leads per day, because even the number of leads that meet the basic ICP criterion will be too high.

Instead, you can opt for a marketing automation software which provides lead quality scoring. For example, using LeadSquared, you can set up lead quality rules in two quick steps :-

Choosing your lead quality attributes 

These are the features of your leads that are most relevant for you, and hence can be used to ascertain the lead quality. For example, if you’re an institute providing MBA courses,  ‘job title’, ‘work experience’, ‘location’, etc. would be the defining lead quality attributes for you, while ‘marital status’ would not.

You can specify distinct weightages for each of those chosen attributes, or select the option to assign equal weightage to each. For example, as an MBA institute,  ‘job title’ could be the most important lead attribute for you, so you could assign it more weightage than the others.

lead prioritization - step 1

Defining quality scoring rules 

You can set how the values associated with a particular lead attribute will be scored from 1 to 10. For example, an MBA institute can set the following rules for the attribute of ‘job function’ :

IT – 10
Marketing – 9
HR – 8
Others – 7

lead prioritization - step 2
Expand-Lead-Attribute-Age
lead prioritization - step 3

Using the weightages & scoring rules defined for the lead attributes, the software will calculate a cumulative quality score out of 10, for each lead in the system. Using this score, you will be able to identify the more conversion-optimized leads even amongst those that match your ICP.

Here’s how the Lead Quality score will appear on the LeadSquared portal :

lead prioritization - quality score

2) It does not allow for the lead qualification process to be automated

You will have to run these Excel filters each time the lead list is updated.

Again, using a marketing automation software like LeadSquared can resolve this issue, because once you define the rules for calculation, each lead in your system will be associated with a Lead Quality score. You can then filter these leads based on any criteria (for example, Lead Quality Score >8).

Degree of buying intent

The manual prioritization discussed above is an incomplete test of a lead’s ‘likelihood to buy’, as it is solely static and does not take into account the degree of buying intent that a lead has at a point of time.  For example, in the above case, Lakshmi matches the ICP, but she may have already enrolled in a college. There is no simple manual process through which a lead’s buying intent can be ascertained.

Buying intent occurs when a person has the desire as well as the purchasing power to buy your product.

Now, how can you spot whether a lead has buying intent or not? By measuring their level of engagement with your business. The more a person responds to your marketing campaigns, or visits your website, or spends time on your blog – the higher are the chances that they’re interested in buying from you.

A marketing automation tool like LeadSquared can help you see the ‘engagement index’ for each lead. To set that up, all you’d need to do is :-

Define the Activity Period 

If you’re an MBA institute, your sales cycle will typically be around 1 year (this is the time it takes for students to prepare for exams, give the exams, and then choose from various college options based on their results). Now if a lead was actively engaging with you 2 years back, and it reflected on it’s engagement score, that would be a false measure of it’s likelihood to buy because they might be disengaged currently.

That is why, you can specify for what period you want the lead’s activities to be included in the calculation of the engagement score. Because the engagement score is based on the ‘recentness’ of a lead’s activities on your web presence/campaigns, it is a dynamic measure of their ‘likelihood to buy’, as opposed to the quality score, which is a static measure.

lead prioritization

Specify the lead stages to include 

If you’re in a business that does not see repeat sales (like an institute), you may not be interested in seeing the ‘engagement score’ of a customer. This is just one of the many cases where it is not useful to have the engagement score calculated for all of your lead stages, so using this option, you can specify which stages you’d need the score for.

lead prioritization

Specify the lead activities to include

The engagement score is based on tracking a lead’s activities towards your business, and assigning each of these activities specific values depending upon their importance.

For example, if a lead signed up for a webinar, you can define a rule for increasing it’s engagement score by +5. On the other hand, if a lead only opened an email about a webinar, you can define a rule for increasing it’s engagement score by +1.

lead prioritization

Using the scores associated with each of these activities, the software will compute the engagement score for each lead in the system.

lead prioritization

And we’re done! Hope this helps you get your priorities right in order :)

So I wanted to join a good fitness centre in my locality (what with me having moved and all) and like any good self-respecting citizen, asked my neighbor Divya for recommendations. I had seen a great hoarding of a gym a few blocks down and wanted to see if it was worth checking out.

Imagine my surprise when Divya had no knowledge of that place! I mean, she is the kind who knows everything – from the best grocery store around to what Mrs. Next-door plans to cook the next day – and she wasn’t aware that such an establishment existed!

That was because the gym did not do it’s hyper local marketing right – it did not put itself on the map!

Hyperlocal marketing

I shall tell you why it is important.

Nobody is going to brave travelling halfway across town just to work out at your awesome place (sorry, pal!).So target those who are already close-by to get better quality leads.

That my friend, is what hyper-local marketing is all about. But hey, it’s not a new concept as such. Handing out flyers, putting up ads in the local newsletter, conducting classes in the neighborhood club – they are all part of hyper-local marketing.

It is just that with the arrival of technology, the game has changed – drastically! It’s now time to switch to the smart phones!

Smart phone advertising

Yes, watsapp is not going to allow ads any time soon. However, you can still ensure that your customers get to see your ads on their phone. How? The usual suspects – Facebook ads, Network, Display and Search ads. But now, you can target customers based on their particular location!

How does it work?

Thanks to the smart phones, real-time identification of location is now possible. So a certain ad can be targeted to consumers within a geographic boundary based on their GPS coordinates.

Here is an example of how a car rental company did it. The minute a user searched for car rental, an ad for an establishment about 0.5 miles away is displayed.

Hyperlocal marketing

Picture credits: news.softpedia.com

This means that you can now push out ads to those near your fitness facility and ensure that the ads appear on their network, or in response to particular search keywords or even banner ads.

How to use it?

Targeting users doing an active search

Let us suppose  that a person who is fairly new to the neighborhood (like me) is on the look out for a Gym (or a yoga class). Belonging to the mobile savvy generation, they would probably whip out their phones and punch in “Gyms near me” and ask google to suggest places.

Now, a smart marketer like you, would have bid for keywords like “Gyms” ,”Fitness centres” and even “yoga classes” specific to a particular location. Once the search engine picks up the location co-ordinates of the searcher, then it will automatically push out your ads to that mobile phone!

Targeting users based on relevant information

Imagine another scenario. The user is not actively looking for you (and may not even be a new comer in the locality). However, in your Facebook ad, you target prospects in the surrounding area of your business. Like so:

Hyperlocal marketing

So people browsing their facebook profile in that area would be able to see your ads. And if you further add filters for “interest targeting”, the ads become even more specific! One more advantage is – you would be giving them a very relevant CTA. Since its a mobile phone CTAs like “Call now” or “Get directions” will further enhance user experience.

To sum up, your ads will be extremely  targeted and highly relevant. They will either be shown to those who are searching for it (biggest win) or to someone in the same locality (great for visibility).

Here is what you can achieve:

Increased foot falls

For a local business, even if it multi-chain, a majority of the customers would come from the surrounding area. Constant Ads to those in the locality will definitely bring in fresh leads to your business. Also, since you are pushing out ads based on location, a passing traveler (who commutes to work and back through your locality) might also get the ad!

Retarget customers

Not everyone faithfully follows their fitness routine (sheepish grin). If you look at your attendance records, you would find that most discontinue after a few months (if it is due to bad service, you are on your own pal). Since these customers don’t leave the area, it would be pretty easy to keep reminding them about the fitness opportunity that they have quite close-by!

Challenge competition

The biggest advantage with location targeting is that you can easily use it to target the customers who are patronizing your competition. You shall simply have to target that location. That is, send ads about your gym (or promotions) to those who are inside the gym next door! Yup, it is legal (what is not legal (or ethical) is using your competition’s name or ad copy to bid on).

Promotion of new branch

Planning on opening a new branch to your fitness centre? That’s awesome news! I am sure you will start with announcements in your existing branches and of course the updates on your website. What you should not forget is- telling the local community about your arrival. Apart from the big gala opening and great offers you put up, send out specific ads only to those within a few mile radius of your establishment and announce your coming! Play your cards (or ads) right and you can easily build up excitement in the community towards your arrival.

The biggest advantage of this channel is that you can directly reach your target audience. So if you pick your target audience right, you can look foward to great results. Right?

Nope wrong. You see, there are certain disadvantages that you have to keep in mind.

Ad blocker

Not everyone would be able to see your ads. Some people, tired of constant ads on the sides would have enabled an ad blocker software on their phones that will make it impossible to reach them.

Hyperlocal marketing

Thank you Adblock plus for the image

Ad Ennui

Once more consequence of constantly receiving ads is that your prospect tends to become immune to them. They become rather adept at ignoring the constant stream of ads that get displayed.

How to get around it

Make interesting and innovative ads. Think out of the box. The more creative and eye-catching your ad is, the higher the chances of it getting noticed. Click-baits are not strictly frowned upon here, but it is that sort of thing that is more likely to get passed over. Also, try to put up your ads when they least expect it. While on a morning run (trust me, everyone runs with their phones), or near a swimming pool may be quite unexpected and novel ways to reach your target audience.

Lack of inventory

So what happens if  no smart-phone owners are near your area? I mean, you go and set  up a great ad campaign, but find that the target audience is too low? The success of the campaign will definitely be questioned.

How to get around it

The first thing to remember is that the whole point of hyper local marketing is quality. Good quality leads over lead volume. That is, advertising to people who are much more likely to patronise your establishment. That number usually would be low.

That being said, you can always increase the area of your targeting. Also, consider bidding on more keywords (the higher and more strategic your keywords, the better the odds of your ad being relevant) and finally, see if you can increase the number of impressions. Either all or a combination of these things are sure to bump up your inventory.

Stiff competition

I am sure you are no stranger to pizza wars. Indeed, any two similar businesses in the neighborhood have their own friendly (and sometimes serious) competition going on. Imagine if there is one more fitness or wellness centre near you. Then it would be a lot more difficult to sway prospects to conversion.

How to get around it

Bid on the strategic keywords. Yes, sometimes the cost can shoot up, so think hard before deciding which one to opt for. Also, get creative with your targeting. Supposing there is a nearby restaurant. How about pushing out ads to the patrons there? Something along the lines of  “So want to work off that satisfying meal? Try our Gym” would be a great way to get noticed. You can also try targeting grocery stores like that. “Healthy living begins with healthy food shopping. Consult our nutritionist for tips” can be a possibly relevant ad for grocery shoppers. Of course, giving great offers and discounts are likely to sway a lot prospects you way.

Bad Clicks

As with any ad campaign, your mobile ads are also charged as per clicks. Imagine this scenario. You have planned a great ad campaign for the same grocery store example as above. So, for every patron who come  into the store, your ads get displayed on the phone. Great going. However, a lot of parents who come in for grocery shopping hand over their cell phone to their children (to keep them quiet, I assume) while they go ahead with their purchase. That means, all your ads would be displayed to children – who would be quite uninterested in it.  A definite waste of impressions.

Worse, if they accidentally click on it, then you would be paying for that as well. A very dire situation indeed.

How to get around it

Streamline your process! Not all shoppers come with their children. Infact, shopping might turn out to be a family affair (read kids) only on weekends. On a weekday, the patrons would be more interested in focused shopping. So time your ads right. Early morning quick shoppers or early evening shoppers who pop in for one item before rushing off to on their schedule may be great targets.

As you may well know, there are two sides to every coin. Though these dis advantages may seem fairly high, without hyperlocal marketing, even the Divyas of a neighborhood may not know you. And that, my friend, is serious visibility crisis.

Spa marketing strategy - Marketing software

High website conversion rates, especially for health and fitness websites, are not easy pal – it all boils down to the conversion tricks you use!  A good ad and awesome marketing are all well and good, but, ultimately it is up to your website  to seduce the visitor to conversion.

It is rather like selling to a customer intent on window shopping. A big hoarding and flashy lights might capture his attention. But if the display at the window looks something like this:

Health and fitness websites

and the experience in the shop is amazing, the chances of a sale sky-rocket!

A good website does exactly that – it is your online real estate that builds customer trust and encourages him to convert.

So, right at the start of a great new year, let us look back a bit and learn from the awesome health and fitness websites that carved a niche for themselves in the health and wellness industry. They could definitely inspire your designs for 2016!

#1 Jawbone

The company that sells the popular UP bands – a range of fitness wearable that has the fitness freaks panting. The latest version includes a heart rate monitor as well!

Health and fitness website

So, they make amazing fitness trackers but that is not why they are here. It is because they have  a great website to go with it!

Let me tell you why-

Minimalist Design

I mean, just look at the basic look and feel of this site. The powerful image and the intelligent use of white space really captures your attention. They take minimalism to a whole new level!

I don’t know if you noticed it – but the woman in the picture is looking at the “Shop” button. Wondering why it is important? Well, the whole “Line of sight” angle. You see, according to a study by marketing sherpa, the consumers tend to follow the line of sight of the subject in the images they see.

I don’t know if it is by design or an happy accident – but a good move nonetheless.

Bold Headline

A good headline is one that tells the user why he is on the website – instantly. Full points there! At a time when people are making (and mostly breaking) resolutions, this headlines is spot -on! Talk about “speaking to the audience”.

The other thing that has me excited is the pun with the word ‘up’. They are totally correct in predicting that the foremost reason for most people to give up on their fitness pursuit is laziness (guilty as charged ) and therefore ask you to take action – by getting “Up” – not just from your seat, but their fitness bands! Yes, I know you didn’t need me to spell it out for you – but that is how excited this headline has made me!

Easy Navigation

The page allows the user to easily identify how the different sections of the page are related to each other. It is also pretty simple to come back to the home page and browse options there.

Localization

The site automatically understood that I was browsing from India and showed the country option accordingly. Of course, it does allow you to change it as well. I found that changing it really does not affect the user experience.

#2 FitBit

Another hugely popular wearable fitness tracker that is making waves in the market. They have come up with a range of watches that can function as tracking devices. Feel free to go ahead gift me one!

Health and fitness website

Let us see why it is on the list.

Visual Appeal

We all know that diagonal lines add a sense of dynamic energy to the image and draw the eye to the subject rather easily. Here the artful juxtaposition of two such images that are also a clear contrast to each other creates a very interesting visual.

Bold Headline

I like the fact that they are not just asking me to get fit, but to do it in style! Positioning your brand as an “in” thing to have is a very smart move.

Clear CTA

The CTA button is blue. Now, I am generally not a fan of the colour because the contrast of blue and white makes it rather unreadable. But they have hit the correct balance there and have positioned it very strategically – right below the headlines and at the centre of two contrasting images. Draws the eye, that does!

Clever Utilization of Space

You know what I don’t get – the fact that people ignore the concept of ‘fold’ in their webpage. Just take a look at this site:

Health and fitness website

Very beautiful contrast and design. But if you notice, the important information – pricing, is lost below the fold, making people scroll down for it. At the very least, it abruptly ends the positive user experience right there!

In contrast, the folks at fitbit have chosen to display their range of wearable right before the fold – thus ensuring that I (ok, we) dont have to scroll down further to see what they offer.

Health and fitness website

Moreover, each of image displayed here is dynamic by itself and takes you to the specific product page again! No cluttering the space with redundant text. Kudos guys!

Let us now look below the fold.

For a persistent and curious user, the experience down under matters as well. And folks, these people ‘fit’ the bill (see what I did there – Fitbit, ‘fit the bill’)

Health and fitness website

Well proportioned text; clean, uncluttered usage of space and dynamic images and CTAs at the bottom. Helpful and clever. Need I say more?

#3 Zensorium

It seems to be raining wearable fitness devices here! Not my fault that they have a compelling website folks!! So, here is one more product to add to the list – Zensorium.

Health and fitness website

Let’s walk through this one as well:

Visual Appeal

Great contrast that highlights the headlines – a total win. I don’t mean just the main one. But on the side, if you  notice for the products Being and Tinke, the headlines are made to stand out by just changing font colour and playing with space.

Minimalist Design

It draws attention to not just the text, but also to the product images on the side!

Clever Utilization of Space

Positioned just above the fold, with nothing cut off abruptly. And hey when you scroll down, the main screen with the slide-ins remain intact – it is the product bar on the side that moves!

Health and fitness website

Rather clever eh?

Credibility Proof

Placing a testimonial right on the home page makes a very compelling reason for a user to think positively of the product

Consistency

Providing the same headlines for the products in all images makes it easier to remember.

Health and fitness website

Easy Navigation

Doesn’t take a genius to figure out how each page is linked to the other. Also, gives the user exactly what he wants without unnecessary clutter.

The image of Being/ Tinke is clickable and takes you to the respective product’s page.

#4 Biodigital

For a change, let us look at a B2B company in this industry.

Health and fitness website

You are looking at an interactive 3D software that can help you understand the human body better (did I mention interactive 3D?). Though it is free for teachers and students, businesses can use it to showcase their fitness- related products.

Though I am quite excited about the learning potential in this software, I am also totally thrilled with their website. I shall tell you why.

Visual Appeal

The home page, is a real visual treat! Bold and clear headlines, great spacing and an excellent depiction of the human heart – gives you a fair idea of what they are about. As website experts put it – they ‘set the context’ instantly.

Clear CTA

If you notice, they have not specified click-bait Call To Actions like – Get this now! or Hurry!. Instead, it is rather a separation of customers based on intent. So depending upon my business needs, I will know exactly where to go once I land on this page. Nicely done, I thought.

Want to know what happens below the fold?

Kudos again folks for respecting the fold-line logic. It is rather nice to see (or not -see) abruptly cut off information! Scrolling down doesn’t disappoint at all.

Testimonials

Immediately below the fold line, this is what you see.

Health and fitness website

Nothing like someone else’s (a rather popular someone) praise to make you form a good opinion. Not only were their testimonials well chosen, but speaking from the design POV, the white background against a continuous sea of grey gives a good contrast to the eye.

Credibility Proof

This is again followed by announcing their product features and then the various awards that they have won. So when they say “award winning technology” they have proof to back it up – proof you can see!

Further scrolling reveals certain other aspects of the platform and a live quote from a happy user.

Clear CTA

Now comes the best part – after announcing their credibility, their features and how happy their customers are, they give you the CTA.

Health and fitness website

A very nice way to build up customer trust and interest; essentially builiding a solid case for yourself before presenting an action.

Also, notice that they have specified “it’s Free” right on the button. A further compelling reason to click. Well done guys! Seriously.

#5 Aesthetic Breast Surgery Centre

With cosmetic surgery being all the rage, I myself admit to being rather surprised that it took us so long to get a hit on this sector.

Health and fitness website

Well, since it is pretty obvious what we are looking at, I shall not spell it out for you. Let us directly dive into the website aspect.

Visual Appeal

You can’t look away from the woman can you? And if you manage to tear your eyes away from her (artfully highlighted image – way to go!) you automatically look at what she is looking at – the headlines.

Subtle Yet Encouraging Headline

Did you see what just happened? By highlighting the woman’s picture, every other detail on the website was suitably “dimmed”. The headlines, while being subtle is no less attention grabbing than the bold ones we have seen so far.

Their message – that it is for all women establishes a connect between their services (and team) and the prospect who is viewing the site. An immediate bond that gains the customer’s loyalty.

Clear CTA

Keeping with the theme of the whole page, the CTA is also suitably subtle (imagine if it was a bold green or red – *shudders*) and the message is not a click – bait either.

Giving your prospect the opportunity to learn more about what they have to offer instead of aiming for a sale shows that they have totally understood their audience. C’mon, how many people you  know would get a cosmetic surgery done without getting atleast some information about it?!!

Easy Navigation

Health and fitness website

This is the only navigation toolbar on the entire page! The stark contrast between the page colour and the tool bar colour makes it stand out, while being subtle.

Let us look below the fold.

So they have a lead capture form at the bottom of the page. Before you get to it though, you are guided through what the company has to offer.

Bonus Point

As a feminist, I could really appreciate that there is no body shaming involved. Neither do they say that you have to “get beautiful” with their treatment, nor do they denounce those who are against such procedures. They simply propose their business and give you the freedom of choice. That had me all teary -eyed!

#6 Fitternity

Ever hunted for fitness classes in your neighborhood? Having shifted two places in one year, let me tell you that it is no fun.Health and fitness website

Which is why this website caught my attention in the first place – it really catered to a need. Incidentally, Fitternity is also featured in our online lead generation options for fitness marketing.

Visual Appeal

Great look and feel. Doesn’t distract the user from his main purpose – on the contrary high lights what he might be looking for.

Bold Headline

I like the way they have worded the headline – it speaks to the audience and sets the context immediately.

Also, have you noticed – their CTAs and headline are  in the same colour? It immediately tells the prospect where to devote his attention.

Clear CTAs

Speaking of CTAs, there are actually four CTAs on the page. No, that is not an overkill. By colour -coding them (a nice orange), they have done a very smart thing. A first time user would be interested in the search results and be eager to convert because of the contest.

A second or third time – returning customer wont need such bold CTA to either Sign – in or ask for a call back. Beautifully executed folks!

Easy Navigation

Health and fitness website

The quick search button on the top bar (that lets you type your requirement) is a real win.

Looking below the fold

Consistency

Scrolling down shows you that the below the fold line, the background is alternates between blank and grey- which keeps up the interest in the offer provided.

Also, they have totally kept up the colour scheme till the end – the testimonials being a nice orange – the headlines orange!

#7 ZocDoc

Guess what – the “find what you are looking for” trend has not stopped just with fitness. It has extended to healthcare as well. ZocDoc is once such website that caters to such needs.

Health and fitness website

Visual Appeal

ZocDoc is by far a refreshingly simple website that I have seen in quite a while. Without fancy background and alluring graphics, they manage to capture the user’s interest immediately. In fact, the minimalistic design actually helps draw attention to their lead capture form – the form having the boldest colour on the page.

Bold Headline

Well positioned headline right on the capture form keeps your attention tied to it. They also focus on the user – his requirements [Find a doctor YOU like, Get the care YOU need”], making it further appealing to the prospect. Had they worded it like : For finding the best doctor and getting needed care, it might not have worked so well.

Also, I am sure you noticed the “It’s Free” tag on top of the form. That my friend is very strategic positioning – one more reason to encourage conversion. It’s in the little things..

Testimonial

Having a testimonial right next to the lead capture form boosts the trust factor. It makes the prospect much more amenable to conversion.

Below the fold

I am sure that you know by now that I am not a fan of those who don’t respect the fold line. I am happy to say that this website does respect it!

Scrolling down is rather an interesting experience. It alternatively projects the uses of ZocDoc for both doctors and patients respectively.

Health and fitness website

When I say alternate, it encompasses their message (first to doctors, then to patients) then the background colour scheme (blank and light blue) and finally the text – image alignment. Well done people! Consistency just reached new heights.

Easy Navigation

The whole website has been built for the primary objective getting the value proposition across. Which is why the navigation tool bar with the nitty gritties like “About us” and “FAQs” have been delegated to the bottom of the page.

Health and fitness website

I personally applaud this decision. Being an impatient visitor myself, I know that I would have easily been side tracked by these numerous details. Keeping my attention solely on the conversion form and their value proposition has much better chance of me converting.

Well, that’s that people! Hope you agree with my list.

Do tell me what you think are the ones that should go on this list. Am all ears (or eyes).

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