CAN YOUR WEB SITE PASS THIS MARKETING TEST?
This month we are going to offer you a quick and easy test to determine if your web site is structured to maximize your revenues from your marketing efforts.
All Roads Lead To Rome
Does your web site pass the 'www-enabled' test?
 Yes  No Visitors can type http://www.mydomainhere.com and arrive at my site.
 Yes  No Visitors can type mydomainhere.com and arrive at my site.
This is an easy test - but don't just answer the question. Actually type in your domain name in your web browser; you may be unpleasantly surprised.
You want to make it easy for your visitors to easily type in your domain name and arrive at your web site. Simply type your domain name as http://www.mydomainhere.com and as mydomainhere.com, without the http://www
It is estimated that 3-5% of all new web sites are not able to display webpages in both modes. If you are not fully www-enabled, your customers won't see your web site and will then go to one of your competitor's sites. A simple call to your web host can make your site www-enabled.
Look Over Here… Over Here… Hey, You - Over Here!
Do you know how effective banner ads are?
Click-through percentages:  0.5-2%  2.5-4%  5-6%  7+%
We have all seen the banner ads that flash, jump, twinkle, shout and beg for attention. Many loan companies (given the potential value of a closed loan) use banners to market their site. Various studies have shown a steady decline in the click-through rates, with most findings in the 0.5% to 2% range. The NPD Group, a research organization specializing in consumer purchasing and behavior, found that users were 20-40 times more likely to click on a link via a search engine versus a banner ad. Something to think about when starting an Internet based marketing campaign.
Who Goes There?
Which customers that arrive from search engines; do they actually fill out a form and receive a loan?
Which search keywords typed by your visitors and who actually closed a loan:  I know  I don't know  What?
There are several ways to decide the effectiveness of your Internet marketing campaigns. Many marketing managers give the vague, "I know this search engine ranking is sending us a lot of leads," or "This banner is really producing." But few companies actually have the programming to accurately determine the very source of EACH lead and then follow it to see if it resulted in a closed loan.
If you are spending any amount of significant money on Internet marketing you need to install programming to monitor the specific effectiveness of your banner ads and search engine ranking efforts.
Who Goes There? Part II
How do your customers (who close loans) get to your site?
Percentage of visitors resulting in sales from search engines:  25%  35%  45%  55%
The NPD Group study also found that traffic arriving from search listings resulted in 55% of all Internet purchases which was six times more sales from banners ads.
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Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say
Do you actually have the keywords on your web pages for which you want to be found?
A search for "home loan" and "home loans" will return the same results in any search engine:  Yes  No
For example, if you do VA loans and a potential visitor types in "VA loans" in a search engine, there is a chance you will be found. Search engines are absolute in their results and if the visitor types in "Veteran's Administration loans" in a search engine and you don't have "Veteran's Administration loans" anywhere on your site; you won't be ranked. In fact most search engines will consider "VA loans" and "VA loan" as different as "VA loans" and "dandelions."
Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say - Part II
Can your visitor tell what you are offering in 5 seconds or less?
Each and every page starts off (without scrolling) with a compelling statement of what that webpage is about:  Yes  No
Don't make your visitors have to scroll down, or worse - sideways, to find what your web page offers for them. For example, if the web page offers information on jumbo loans then at the top of your page it should state, "We offer Jumbo Loans for single family homes." Sounds simple, but many web sites do not do this.
I Look Great, Don't I?
Did you know that different browsers can show your web page differently?
Have you tested your web site with:  Internet Explorer (IE) 5.x  IE 4.x  Netscape Navigator
(NN) 6.x  NN 4.x  AOL  Mac based  Web TV  Opera
While Internet Explorer commands the market share for browsers, there still are a myriad of browsers and platforms net surfers use to browse your site. If you aren't checking your pages under different browsers and computers combinations, you are potentially writing off business with anyone not using your specific computer configuration.
Other considerations include screen size and fonts. There are many different screen resolutions at which your monitor can be set. Roughly half of all users choose the 800 x 600 pixel screen size. Approximately 40% set their screen size to 1024 x 768 and 10% use a 640 x 480 size. Each of these resolutions can change the layout of your page by increasing or decreasing its size.
On occasion a web site owner will select a unique font that looks great on their site. The only problem is that if the viewer does not have that font installed on their computer and their computer will default to an entirely different font. This means your web site might view very differently for this customer.
Let's Get Together
Can your easily customers contact you?
On every page, I have:  e-mail address  company address  company name  direct dial number
Seems like a simple enough question, but you would be surprised at how many web site owners think they need all their contact information (email, address - no PO boxes, phone numbers) on their main page but not on other pages inside their site. Make it easy for customers and have your critical company information on EVERY page.
Do you have a comment or suggestion? Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rod Aries and Robert Farris are co-founders of MortgagePromote.com, a leading Internet marketing provider to corporate mortgage clients. On request, they conduct nationwide training seminars covering Internet marketing strategies, lead generation, web site development techniques and more. Web site: www.mortgagepromote.com.