If you’re in this business for the long run then you already know the importance of building a relationship with your visitors. You know you have to “give” before you “get” and you’ve concentrated on providing great content in hopes of ranking high in the SERP.
Your instincts are right, you want to have a site that has an answer or provides a solution to the question that started the visitor’s search. But then you look at your stats and see that while traffic is growing, visitors aren’t staying very long if at all. Your page view per visitor is down, time on site is mediocre and your bounce rate is high. Worst of all, your email list is not growing as fast as it should.
If this is the position you find yourself in then it’s time to do a little tweaking to build visitor loyalty and get them more involved with the site. The more they interact the greater they become engaged and the better your chances of developing a returning visitor.
Graphics are a great way to nudge a visitor into action. If used correctly graphics can build credibility, direct traffic, instill trust and get you that precious email address.
But graphics can backfire on you as well. Graphics play a big role in setting the tone and feel of your site and if the graphics don’t look professional then they taint the content regardless how great it actually is. If you’re going to use graphics to improve site performance then use a professional graphic designer.
Now I know you’re probably thinking you can’t afford that but if you’ll hang in there with me I’ll give you a short outsourcing course and show you how to get professional work for far less than you thought you could.
But let’s talk about what graphics can do first.
My wife Arlene has an incredibly successful website that deals with a very specific niche. She’s developed a name in this niche community and her “returning visitors” make up 37% of her total traffic. She has built visitor loyalty and it wasn’t done by accident.
Arlene is passionate about the challenges that moms with epileptic kids face. Arlene and I know just how scary and demanding that disease can be because our son Adam developed it at age 4. However because of Arlene’s tireless research she found a way to treat it and Adam, now 23, has been drug and seizure free for over 10 years. Arlene wanted to share that story with other moms in the same situation.
Arlene has no technical skills but she’s a smart cookie when it comes to marketing. She spent the time to build a detailed website blueprint and when she was done she knew where every element would go, why, and how they were going to perform. With plan in hand she outsourced the work that she couldn’t do.
Graphics played a big role not only in collecting emails for her list, but to get a growing cadre of returning visitors. She tapped into a niche that is in a constant search for information and support and who absolutely celebrates when they can announce to other members of the community when they have experienced an improvement in their child’s condition.
So here’s how Arlene did it.
1. Header Graphic
The header is one of the most important graphic on your website. Arlene wanted a header that did more than just announce the name of the site she wanted it to grab the visitors attention and assure them that the content was going to be useful for them.
Her header is divided into three parts. On the left is the site name, in the middle is a tag line and on the far right is a photo image. The name of course is important but the tag line and photo reassure the visitor that they have arrived at the right place.
For example Arlene’s tag line is “…when our son Adam was 4 years old he was having 200-300 seizures a day, today he is 20 years old and has been drug and seizure free for over ten years.” What more could a mom looking for information to help her epileptic child ask for? And then right next to that tag line is a photo of Adam with his arm around Arlene’s shoulder. Not only does this header tell you that the site is about epilepsy in kids and how to conquer it but it gives you a visual image of the results.
That is truly powerful.
Arlene offers a free report and promotes it using a very professional box banner above the fold in the right panel. The beauty of these banners is that they are eye catching and offer enough space to include a text call to action as well as a graphic image. They’re a great way to promote not only your offer and email capture, but specials, seasonal sales and any special events that might be planned for the site. In other words it’s a way to get the visitor to move on to another page.
3. Newsletter Templates
If you have a professional template designed then you can give your list the same experience they get when they visit your site. Plain text newsletters just don’t carry the same sense of excitement or opportunity to engage as a letter that truly looks like a professional publication.
4. Handwritten Signature
Now this truly is a personal touch that deepens the relationship and it is often overlooked by many websites. The quickest and easiest graphic to make, just sign your name on a blank sheet of paper, scan it on your printer and save to a file. Make a couple or three of different sizes because you’ll have different uses for them.
5. Control Panel
Rather than relying on the traditional navigation menu Arlene had a control panel made that allows visitors to go directly to a resource or feature without having to sort through a menu.
For example the buttons on her control panel say things like “click here to listen to the pod cast” and “click here for epilepsy news.” Each button is inviting the visitor to interact and go to another page.
6. Cover Art
This graphic design is not so much about building loyalty as it is about building credibility. Anytime you’re offering an information product the visitor knows that it will be a downloadable .pdf file but it is just so much more credible to offer an image that reflects the physical product equivalent. For example if you have a free report, have cover art created that shows a book cover. It’s just another little step that lends to the professionalism of your site.
It’s much easier to develop loyalty if your visitors know what you look like. Adding a face humanizes the site. We all like to do business with people we know and your smiling face is the fastest way to achieve that. Have several different sizes made. If your photo is less than perfect hire a retoucher to fix it up for you.
Just to give you an example as to how successful Arlene has been with this site, her podcast has been downloaded over 50,000 times.
You can outsource anything. If you’ve never outsourced a project before don’t be afraid. We outsource stuff everyday we just don’t call it that. We outsource our need for food, shelter, clothing, entertainment, transportation and even education. Bt rather than saying we are outsourcing we say we grocery shop, pay the rent, buy clothes, go to the movies, make the car payment and pay taxes.
It doesn’t matter if you need some small simple job like a logo or specialized services like infrared photography you can get it by outsourcing.
The 2 secrets you need to know
The key to getting quality work done at prices you can afford is to order everything at once not piecemeal. Don’t put up projects for a single element like a header or a banner. Making your needs one large project rather than several small projects will not only get you a better price because of the volume but your project will attract the attention of the more qualified designers who often skip the small jobs as a waste of time.
But if you go this route you have to know exactly what you want. Avoid general terms in your project description like “need header for digital camera review site.” List the dimensions and the fact that you want a tag line and a photograph included and that you will provide the text and the photo. The more specific you are the more intelligent the bids will be.
Try out a few of these graphics and see if you don’t experience an improvement in your stats.
About the Author
Recognized as a leading expert in affiliate marketing training, James Martell is President of Net Guides Publishing Inc. and host of the “Affiliate Marketers SUPER BootCamp.” A sought-after speaker, James has presented at Commission Junction University, Affiliate Summit, The System Seminar, Digital River Lab, Webmaster World’s Pubcon, Affcon, and more. He is also the host the “Affiliate Buzz”, the 1st ever and longest running affiliate marketing podcast in the industry. James relies on outsourcing for the creation of his websites, graphics, articles, podcasts, and video in order to streamline his business, enabling him to break away from the daily grind.