Tuesday, March 24, 2009

B2B site asks for lifetime commitment before the first kiss!

gorgeous cake by Manassas Cakery

In every issue of our print publication, we review a Web site. In the most recent issue, we reviewed EpilogLaser.

EpilogLaser does everything right to get prospects to visit and stick around, yet it misses the opportunity to capture leads on every page.

Marketer James Stanaway hopes the redesigned B2B site will provide content and resources to keep customers coming back and tempt prospects away from rivals.

It should do that with its:

• Laser sharp search engine optimization. Do a Google search for “laser engraving” to see how the company hits a bull’s-eye. It wins the first organic search listing on the page and the sponsored listing above. A
pay-per-click ad next to a free organic search result reassures prospects, lifting clickthroughs.

And a search for “co2 laser engraving” does the same, even serving up an ad with an intriguing snippet, “What can you create with a laser? Download project samples!” It ranks nearly as well on Yahoo!.

• Engaging content. The site includes a gallery of examples, well-written copy full of verbs, like discover, find, see, explore.

In business and life, don't ask for marriage before you've even kissed

Only trouble, the site’s main lead-generation form doesn’t appear on every page and it asks prospects to complete 15 fields.

That’s a lifetime’s commitment online. It is like going on a date and asking someone to marry you before you've even held hands or kissed. Too much too soon.

Instead, try a simple lead generation on every page, like an e-mail sign up that only requires name and e-mail address. Even Epilog’s e-mail sign-up asks for too much – 13 fields.

We tested EpilogLaser.com in several browsers, and it came up short on readability.
The serif font is too small, too hard too read and it looked fuzzy (as did the images) in different browsers.

And the copy distorted when we looked at it in Internet Explorer, the browser that the average prospect still uses (despite the growth of Firefox).

What font and size is best?

Increasing the size and style of the font to 12 points is ideal for a business audience.

Before any site goes live, check how pages will appear to different prospects by:

• Testing to see how it looks in different browsers. Browsershots, for example, displays how a site looks in nearly 100 different browsers, screens, etc.

• Examine traffic logs to see what browsers most visitors use. If 70% of visitors use IE, you’ll probably do best catering to them first.

• Checking screen resolution. For example, our free Google Analytics account says 30% of visitors to this publication’s blog, eIMR.
blogspot.com have 1024 x 768, the most common around the world.

Photo is from Manassas Cakery's photo stream on FlickR.


1 comment:

jstanaway said...

Thanks for the feedback on our site - it's always helpful to hear what other people have to say! I'll definitely take a look at the font, but I'm curious about what other people think of the form.

When working with a higher priced item (lasers starting at $8,000), we know our distributors prefer to have leads as qualified as possible when a person fills out a request form, and it takes more than an email address and name to do that.

I definitely understand that I could be increasing our leads ten-fold with less qualified leads if I asked for less information, but with the large number of leads we already receive we just don't see the need. Nothing on the form is required, so even what people choose to fill out gives our distributors an idea of how much follow up to devote to each lead.

And you'd be amazed by how much information people are willing to fill out when you're providing value in the lead packet they are requesting. We send a combination of engraved samples, brochure, start a business guide, and cd demo. About 95% of our leads fill out every field, including extensive comments on why they are interested in a laser.

Again, thank you for the review, and I look forward to hearing feedback from your readers as well, especially on the form design.

James Stanaway
Director of Marketing
Epilog Laser