Given the stunning increases in the availability of online material and the number of websites to choose from, designing sites that stand out and make potential customers want to stay has become a critically important competence for those wanting to succeed in business. Although some might argue that designing websites for search engine optimization is the most important characteristic to succeed online, others might suggest that conversion rates and the ability to hold a potential customer’s attention for more than five seconds are the most important. Based on my belief that “scrolling and clicking are currency,” the crux of this paper’s argument is that carefully placed “purchase beacons” at the website design stage are what will yield the most profitable results from your online traffic.

Purchase beacons are those features on a website that pique interest in the business and produce a heightened state of desire to take action by a website visitor. Given that attention spans are systematically shrinking, due in part to people’s heightened information inundation levels, websites have little time to make an impact strong enough on website visitors to make them want to stay around longer. However, should they stay longer than five seconds, the chances are that they will invest a further reasonable amount of time on the site and conversion rates will rise, and the business will be more profitable. This paper will discuss three primary areas that will benefit those looking to promote more extended website stays and to increase their overall conversion rates. 

Types Of Purchase Beacons

What are those items that qualify as purchase beacons? These items vary according to one’s business, but they do have some traits in common. Drawing from business strategy literature, these items are ones that communicate the highest perceived value proposition to your customers. Value propositions are demonstrated through those core offerings that keep you in business and that customers are most likely to embrace. Such items could include visibility of reviews, prices, team member details, your fees, case studies and promises or guarantees.

Purchase beacons should be offerings that stand out and are “attention grabbers,” which are communicated quickly without the need for much clicking or scrolling. Standard items, baseline offerings, which are universally offered by your competition, will not suffice. Look at products and service offerings, and identify which ones stand out as valuable, rare, inimitable, nonsubstitutable or exploitable.

When does a product, resource or offering qualify as valuable or rare? Jay Barney argued that resources are valuable when they enable a firm to implement strategies that enhance its efficiency and effectiveness. Similarly, rare or inimitable resources and capabilities are those that are not possessed by large numbers of competitors, and they contribute to a firm maintaining a sustainable competitive advantage. Think about what this means for your business and choose your purchase beacon accordingly.

Where To Place Purchase Beacons

Purchase beacons must be located in prominent places on key website pages, starting with the homepage. These pages should be considered your “money pages.” For Amazon, the money page is the product page. For a dental practice, the money pages could be the homepage and treatment pages. Human attention spans are short, and you may only have seconds, or fractions of a second, to hold their attention. A purchase beacon should be on or near the top of your site unless you can find another strategic place that conforms to the overall flow of your website. Be methodical in your analysis, and make sure that the beacon placement is not haphazard and left to chance. 

One Size Does Not Fit All

Most importantly, you cannot assume that all customers will be the same. It is critical that you define your core customer segments and strive to target them in the most effective possible ways. Customers are wired differently, so you will need to place multiple purchase beacons on the first view of the site to be most effective. 

Example: Dental Website Design

1. Does the homepage communicate that dental implants are a popular choice for replacing missing teeth? If the answer is no, then the homepage doesn’t meet the purchase beacon criteria. Maybe the website only lists dental implants as a treatment deep in the menu. Instead, a visible link on the homepage to “Replace Missing Teeth” or “Dental Implants for Missing Teeth” could be used.

2. Are the contact options prominently displayed without having to click on the first visit? If the answer is yes, then the homepage meets the purchase beacon criteria. The top right of the homepage should clearly show all the ways a user can contact the dental practice.

3. Is it clear on the homepage that the practice has a strong focus on Invisalign clear braces without having to visit the Invisalign treatment page? If the answer is yes, then the homepage meets the purchase beacon criteria. The homepage slider should feature Invisalign without the user needing to browse around the site.

Websites should be carefully designed to factor in the most important purchase beacons to hook your website visitors so they invest additional time on the website. Your website designer should understand your business and audience, and help you place your purchase beacons elegantly throughout your website. This design approach can help companies avoid losing money in marketing, and instead, the website could be designed to perform and convert better by careful consideration of purchase beacons.

Article Provided By: Forbes

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