For an Internet Entrepreneur a well-designed email, website or landing page is vital for success.
Most people who use the Internet for marketing and sales will fixate on the copy, keywords and look of their communication and forget the importance of the links that people click when they finally take that step and go with your call-to-action.
As you will no doubt already be aware - the more often within a marketing message you present the reader with your call-to-action the higher the probability is that they will take the action.
In the Sales world this behaviour is know as the â€œ3 Time Convincerâ€, where you need to be present the prospect with an opportunity a minimum of three times before they are able to confidently decide to commit and take action.
The challenge for Internet Marketers becomes getting your links in front of your readers lots of times without them becoming extremely frustrated due to perceived repetition in your message.
So letâ€™s start with some basics about making links useful, which will also help eradicate perceived repetition and get your links noticed and converting.
Avoid the Single Character Link
You may have experienced this yourself. It occurs when a single number, letter or other keyboard character such as a # or > is used as a link.
Commonly youâ€™ll come across it when there is pagination and to get to the next page you have to click on a page number. The frustration of getting your cursor exactly over a 1, i or l frequently result in people giving up â€“ no conversion.
So use phrases or a keyword wherever and whenever you can you to make the link as easy as possible to click on.
Make the First Link the Most Important
With under 7 seconds to impress your reader and have them engage with your message, itâ€™s vital that all your important information be seen in that first glimpse.
Basically weâ€™re talking about the â€˜above the foldâ€™ rule, which states that whatever you most want people to get out of your message should be concisely presented when the message is first viewed. If your reader has to scroll to get to this then youâ€™ve lost your window of opportunity to capture their attention.
So not only does your first link need to be above the scroll, it must also lead to the destination that you most want your reader to go.
Scannable Keyword Loaded Links
When it comes to grabbing attention, your links have the added advantage of being a different colour to the other text of your message (unless youâ€™ve made a design decision which means that links are only subtly different to your regular text â€“ nowâ€™s a good time to go back to your designer and fix that problem). Ideally your link colour is a strong contrasting colour to the other text of your message and any background colours you may be using.
Play to that strength by making sure that your links are keyword loaded phrases, so that when readers are scanning your message the links stand out.
From a "purist usability" perspective the phrase you use for a link needs to make sense without needing to read the sentence or words either side of the link.
For example "best acne treatment for pimple free teen complexion" is better than "click here". Why? Your keywords are in the phrase and itâ€™s a different colour, so when your reader is scanning it's quicker for them to find the important words theyâ€™re looking for. The fact that these words are also a link means theyâ€™ll go straight ahead and click it.
Thereâ€™s a hidden bonus you get from using this strategy for your web pages and that is that Google places added meaning to the words that are used for a link, this means your pageâ€™s organic ranking will increase slightly for these keywords. Itâ€™s optimization without the big price tag.
The Durham University Link Context Checker - www.dur.ac.uk/its/web/accessibility/tools/linkcontext will help you work out how to get good at writing scannable keyword loaded links.
Have Trustworthy Links
Your readers have sought you out because you have information and possibly a product or service they want. They are trusting you to have filtered out all the unnecessary time wasting information and are presenting them with only the relevant stuff.
Just as you have filtered and targeted your message, keep your links relevant so that they know which links are worth following.
A new trend emerging in the Internet Marketing space is link grading. Link Grading is where you use two different ways of making links identifiable within your message, so that you can give greater emphasis to some links than others and still have it be obvious what the links are. There are currently three approaches that are being used â€“ one is to have all links underlined and use two different colours, the second approach is to use the same colour for all links and have the most important display with an underline and the others without and the third is to have all links the same colour and display the most important with a solid underline and the others with a dotted underline.
If you have terminology or concepts in your message that your reader may not understand, use a tooltip to provide the meaning rather than sending them off to another website with a link where they may get sidetracked. This increases your reputation as a knowledgeable source as well as reducing links to generalist information.
To maintain authority links that increase your Google Page Rank, put them altogether at the bottom of your message in one place for additional reference. This way they wonâ€™t interfere with the flow of your message and you still get the benefit of having them.
As the attention of readers becomes harder to get and people opt for experiencing information as streams (where it is gathered together and delivered within one view) such as with RSS, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, iTunes, Google and other search engines, it is valuable to consider how your message can be broken up to be a selection of enticing one-line text calls-to-action.
Links and the way we design, and use them, are going through a period of greater focus and change.
When you change your thinking about links and begin to view them as mini sales transactions, where the label concisely tells you the problem they solve and when clicked gives you the solution to the problem, you immediately change their value and attention grabbing ability.
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