Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Site review: What happened to the call to action?

In every issue of our print publication, the Internet Marketing Report, we review a Web site. This is the review from the May 8 issue.

It’s hot in Texas but not hotter than the competition online and off among vendors selling air conditioning there.

And not hotter and crankier than your correspondent when she reviews acceptable looking sites that leave leads on the table.

Please, please, I beg you. Add a big call to action.

Why drive prospects to your site only to leave them wondering what on earth they are meant to do?

Take CustomAirProducts.com (CAP), a Texas company selling commercial and residential air conditioning, which does a respectable job optimizing its site for search.

Internal keywords

CAP isn’t the most exciting site. In fact, it could really jazz things up a bit but we chose it because it's typical of many B2B sites out there.

Yet this one has strong foundations and good SEO where it matters. For example, it appears on the front page of search results on Google and Ask.com for many keywords by:

• Inserting keywords in page titles and copy. I like the way it inserted the HVAC industry standard, SMACNA, into the title.

Optimizing press releases. CAP’s allocated a page to each release and optimized them to show up in search results. And each release links to other product pages. Nicely done.

CAP’s also starting to use video. That’s important because 25% of all Google searches happen on YouTube these days.

That’s why a B2B company like CAP does well posting videos on its site, linked to YouTube.

Video doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy. CAP's video features its president on the home page. It's a good start but it could do so much more with video, particularly considering how digital assets like videos are starting to show up in search results for most products and services.
What kind of videos work best?

Videos showing how a company manufactures a product, addresses a common problem or even giving advice to prospects on how to choose a vendor are effective.

What about the most unusual installation? The hottest installation? (The temperature must be sizzling in some of those Texas ceilings!) The weirdest encounter? The most challenging request? After all, this company prides itself on customized applications.

Update May 20: B2Blog.com's smart marketer pointed out a new video posted by the company. It is a tour of the company's facility. Now this is more like it. You can read more of Dave's comments below in the comments section.

Are you making the same mistake as CustomAirProducts.com?

So many sites effectively drive visitors to a site, only to do nothing with the lead.

Like them, this company is missing a strong call to action.

Banner blindness costs leads

CAP urges customers to call by putting its phone number in the banner across the page.

But it could do more to collect leads by:

1. Putting a phone number in a hot spot, the right-hand side of the page where most visitors look for a link or contact info. The trouble with the phone number in the banner is that search engines can’t read it
and prospects are “blind” to them. A banner is seen as an advertisement, something to gloss over.

2. Asking prospects to register. Got an e-newsletter? Send updates via
e-mail or mail? Capture prospects’ details by asking them to provide an e-mail address. That’s a good start.

3. Making a request. Get specific about what you want prospects to do. For example, CAP includes links like “Ductwork and Piping Field Installation.” But it doesn’t use verbs to encourage the prospect to click like, “Improve results."

4. Doing more with local search. Look for it using Google maps and you'll find it hard to find something to suggest it even exists. It could do more by adding content, like "Houston based custom air conditioning company." It fares better with a more specific search for industrial air conditioning, but it should rank better for local search.

Tip: Check out Google Insights for Search. You can see from this search comparing keywords that CAP would do well adding more references to Texas.

Posted by Internet Marketing Report Online editor Julie Power.


1 comment:

Dave J. said...

I liked their factory-tour video.

I'm challenged by whether the company is a regional, national, or international supplier (a closer study seems to be all three). Visitors who aren't sure either are less likely to contact them.

And your comments about call-to-action are most plainly demonstrated on their 'contact us' page:

"We look forward to the opportunity of showing you how we can benefit your organization.

For more information or to set up an appointment, please contact us at...

... Please tell us what you think about our web site, company, products, or services. If you provide us with your contact information, we can reach you in case we have any questions. "

Real wishy-washy. But can be easily fixed.