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Topic: Website Critique

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This question has been answered, and points have been awarded.

Re-designed Email Marketing Service Web Site

Posted by Neil on 4000 Points
Hi,

We fairly recently rolled out a new version of the our email marketing service and, with it, a newly designed Web site. It would be nice to a get some outside perspectives. I would love comments on the marketing as well, including the presentation of our partner program (reseller program). We are pleased overall but could make some substantial improvements across the board.

The site is for the StreamSend Email Marketing service.

We do have a good partner program and I was going to wait until we rolled out our new affiliate program before I asked for a critique but I figure the time is now to get some good feedback and take some action on improving the site. Like most sites, it could use it.

Thanks.

  • Posted by Jay Hamilton-Roth on Accepted
    1) You've done a lot of things right: good info above the fold, prominent contact info, analytics, and good use of colors.

    2) The tagline "Email Marketing Solutions by Marketers, for Marketers" could use some help. A small business person might not think of them self as a marketer - just a small business person. Also, people aren't looking for solutions - they're looking for more business. Instead, "Email Marketing Guaranteed To Work", "Fine-tune Your Email Campaign", "Ensure Your Customers Read Your Emails", etc.

    3) I'm not a fan of 3 column sites. The rotating customer success text causes my eye to twitch over to it, even if I'm reading other text. It's also rotating too fast to read it all quickly.

    4) The icons for your partners/affiliations aren't click-able

    5) To sign up for a free trial, you require too much information. Make it less cumbersome to get a free account. For a paid account I'd expect more information required.

    6) You claim that you offer GREATER VALUE. Prove it. Show a matrix comparing you to your competition. Offer a price guarantee.
  • Posted by DougM on Accepted
    Jay does a great job of outlining several of my thoughts and then some. I am one of those small players (a Realtor) who would think that it was geared more toward Marketing professionals. I would normally have taken a quick look and gone on to something else with the thought that it did not apply to me. However, since I was looking at it for the forum, I took a closer look and determined that it could be for me.

    As a Realtor, I do quite a bit of marketing but have not tried an email marketing campaign. Therefore, I am not as versed on the process. I think a section dedicated to "email marketing for dummies" probably stated a little more kindly would be a huge benefit to your potential clients who are not true marketing professionals and who have not tried it before. For example, I am not sure from your site if I get the email address lists from you or use my own or both. I am sure marketing pros know this answer but small business marketers may not. I hope this is a help.

    Good Luck!
  • Posted by Tracey on Accepted
    Overall, I like it. I think that a lot of marketers are looking for something exceedingly simple and non-technical (with a nice design). With that in mind, I'd recommend reducing the amount of copy where you can. I agree with Jay on the 3 columns - can you make it 2? It seems a bit busy.

    I think you should more stronly encourage the web visitor to view the online demo. If not to evaluate the site, I probably wouldn't have clicked on it, because the link is pretty un-obvious, and also because I hate getting launched into a video. So I'm glad yours isn't a video, but sometimes that's what an "online tour" sounds like. Maybe change that to "see how it works" or something like that. I'd also recommend enlarging the screen shots on the tour.

    I really like the simple, clean, fun design of MailChimp. You might check that site out for ideas.

    Pricing section is nice - really easy to understand at a glance. The Marketer's Corner section is really nice... but it's kind of hidden in the "About Us". I'd recommend giving that section its own navigation or putting a graphic link on the homepage. (For me, seeing the expertise is an important factor in buying).

    You may have already done this, but I always recommend conducting usability testing before going live. It's easy and always useful. Just watch a user go through your website. First ask them for initial impressions, then give them a list of tasks to do (e.g., "find out how much the product costs") -- and see how easy it is for them to complete the task. That helps you be more objective.
  • Posted by darcy.moen on Accepted
    Here's a wee bit of a thought: how about doing for yourself what you profess to do for others? I mean, where do I sign up for YOUR email newsletter?

    Email marketing is an ever changing beast. Technology changes, policies change, laws change, spam filters change, wouldn't it make sense to educate your existing and potential customers with your OWN email newsletter?

    Yes, your service looks very nice and appealing. Hey, the reseller/partner program may be right up my alley for some of my clients and I might make a few bucks...but I'd like to be kept in the loop with regular information and updates from email marketing experts. So, how bout that newsletter? Isn't it time to do for yourself what you do for others?

    Um, and, where would I find your old web site for a before and after comparison?

    Darcy Moen
    Customer Loyalty Network
  • Posted by Neil on Author
    Hi Darcy,

    Your criticism is right on the money. We do not have an email marketing newsletter though we have just started a blog. Though an email newsletter is in the works as we speak, you are absolutely correct that it it is a bit off that we do not have one now. Other things took priority. We do, however, have a free trial trigger (auto-responder) email series where we send a sort of drip marketing series of emails, including case studies. That is not exactly a newsletter but we do use email marketing...

    The old site for comparison: http://classic.streamsend.com/


    BTW, I have given a lot of though to the *excellent* comments so far from everyone and look forward to more. I love this forum.
  • Posted on Accepted
    Firstly, I don’t know email market whether work on the market since I don’t know how about your competitor. I have a few suggestions at your website

    1. Industry solutions make me confused that didn’t used any major word like online retailer or publishing and media why no use “Retailer” or” advertisement”. I mean you too specific on the industry that make you lose other client on the market.
    2. Your website each industry included many featured but all use the word format to describe. In the web world, all user use a few second to identify your web site. Even they want to find the email marketing to develop their industry that they may not choose your site. Actually, your web site hasn’t any attractive specific word to attract me still browse again.
    3. In the features site, you describe list very detail but I can’t know how can enhance my client or market on the email market website. You need to add the graphic or flash program work flow or business flow let every user easy understand you’re processing. I suggest you protect your graphic don’t let your competitor download to be their tools. Your web site hasn’t any impact to user. Your original website and new website same architecture. I don’t know why your partner program thinking.
    4. I though the client is minor thing, your strengths is the Case studies. Do you understand?

    Sorry, I am tried to describe again. I just told you your web site still many weaknesses when you finish improvement let us know. I suggest you see 10 golden web site rule or web design interact book.

    I impress on your website a little bit slow when I click the button that I don’t think my issue. And your site lack attractive word, graphic and business flow. Please focus your client and market. The web site color design is great.
  • Posted on Accepted
    Great crit going on here. I agree with points raised above (well, except for w_k_man's; sorry!) but figured it was time to add my two cents instead of continuing as a lurker.

    I'm actually in the midst of evaluating email marketing solutions for my organization - and came to follow the thread here as part of my research.

    Kudos to Neil for letting potential clients like me look under the hood a bit by taking such an open air approach to site redesign!

    Key differentiators aside, I'm thinking to give the service a try just because of that...
  • Posted on Accepted
    The “Email Article” ticker is hidden and looks out of place, almost like an afterthought, not in the original design.

    Your toll free number should be more prominent, also drop the ‘extension 1’, if they will call the IVR will guide them.

    “Choose a StreamSend Solution” categories should attract the eye more; I should be able to spot my industry quickly.

    The side columns grab too much attention; it is because center lacks borders and has a pale background. We had the same problem with our market research company site. The solution was to add a borders to all 3 columns.

    The “customer success” content rotation speed is too fast; I cannot read the longer entries before next one shows.

    I would think that to draw attention to headlines or important features like ‘free trial!’ you should consider using a high contrast color - deep orange would certainly standout.

    “Marketer’s Corner” content looks disorganized / too busy; you have color bullets, bolded text, color text, and a green arrow icon.

    The logos of your partners – either make them bigger, or remove their taglines (you cannot read them); and as it was mentioned above, I would expect that the logos would be clickable.

    The solutions main page looks crowded because you have two menus, the left side one and text links in the page copy. In addition, I think all you side menus need bolder colors to indicate and invite user to click on them, light gray text might not be enough.

    I think that you could add some photos or graphics to each industry page; it would make them more distinctive and ‘fun’. See what we did for our industry specific market research solutions. The criticism we do get for our individual industry pages is that the copy layout is bit boring / dull, lost of reading, etc. I would imagine your pages might be seen the same way.

    Use color bullets, It does make the points standout more.

    To encourage visitors to sign up for the free 30 day trial (a standard offer from every email marketing service) you should offer an additional incentive - a draw for 100,000 free emails or 1 year free. It would cost you next to nothing and would surly boost the initial signups.

    As already mentioned, reduce the amount of compulsory info that the new user initially must provide; it is a turnoff.

    I would also slap it on the main page - “Integration with Google Analytics!” it implies that Google ‘likes’ your company, and I would never consider an email marketing service that does not integrate with Google Analytics (obviously that is what we use on our site).

    Hope this helps,

    Luke Zukowski
  • Posted by Neil on Author
    Some great comments so far. Yes, our primary means of bringing people into our service is to get people to try us out and see if they like the service (the 30-day free trial) with the hope they will like the service and upgrade to a full account.

    If there is anything hindering the ease or clarity of signing up for a free trial, then we definitely need to address that.

    I also like the "prove we are a better value" comment. We claim it and have done research to back it up but we do not offer proof right on the site. Someone would have to compare services, which is cumbersome. We should do the legwork for you.

    There are a lot of excellent suggestions and hopefully more to come. We probably won't be able to implement them immediately but overtime we can use some of these to good effect.
  • Posted on Accepted
    The above is insightful, but I have so say, the most important element staring me in the face is:

    Everything on the site is fairly clear EXCEPT the outcomes! The case studies I clicked on had no real hard data.... did you increase market share? What did you do for them? I only see clever quips!
  • Posted by Mike Volpe - HubSpot on Accepted
    Your domain is expiring in 1 month and 4 days. You should renew it for a few years.

    For more info of things to update on your site, check out this free SEO and marketing report for your website.
  • Posted by NatashaChernavska on Accepted
    Overall the website is not bad, however, you really need to work on SEO, because, really, replacing text with images, especially when images are pretty poorly created, doesn't add to your website marketing.

    Changing texts in the left panel are not efficient. Let visitor decide how to navigate the contents.

    There is a confusion with navigation, by the way: both 1 and 2 site sections (from top horizontal menu) show the same sub menu on the left side. Also, menus are crossing, some sub menus show top level menu items... It's very confusing. Looks like there is no logical navigation structure on the website.

    Whatever happens, I wish you good luck with your project.

    Natasha Chernyavskaya
  • Posted by Neil on Author
    Hi Natasha,

    I am interested in what you have to say as SEO is an ongoing challenge. What specifically could we do to improve our SEO?

    You are saying we over rely on images?

    Thanks.
  • Posted by Neil on Author
    Thanks for all the outstanding advice.

    I do not expect we will be able to do all this immediately due to time constraints but we will try to move forward one step at a time.

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