When the waiter served the pizza that I ordered, I was disappointed. Very disappointed. Here’s why.
I waited 10 long minutes at the counter just to order my favorite 18 inch; anchovies and capers (yes, I love anchovies).
As my long-awaited pizza arrived on our table; lo and behold, not only did the pizza look pale and soggy, it seems to be just three-fourths of what its size should have been.
I know this because I’m a regular customer. But what does all of this have to do with your website’s sidebar, you might ask?
Everything. What I’m trying to drive at with my pizza experience is how all of us want to get as much value as we can for whatever we pay for.
In my pizzaria’s case, I wanted to get as much value as I could from the pizza that I ordered, so it really annoyed the heck out of me when I was served a seemingly smaller, let alone soggy pizza.
Related Article: Street Cred: The Importance of Social Proof in Web Design
In your case, however, you just want to squeeze as much value as you can from your website.
Content Is King. But...
At this point, you’re probably aware of how important publishing quality content is. So I’m guessing that your posts are just that; top notch.
But the thing is, your website has other elements to it than just the area where your posts are published. You also have the header, footer and the sidebar (among others).
While I’d love to share with you my thoughts on optimizing the other areas of your site, in this guide, I will be talking about your sidebars only. We’re going to talk about the things that you can do with it, so it can help you pull in more leads.
You’d like that, wouldn't you?
Let’s forget about the whole pizza rabbit hole that I told you about, and let’s start digging into the nitty-gritty of your sidebars.
1. Awards, Badges and Certifications
Whether you’re looking to influence your readers to sign up to your podcasts, buy your product, or to sign up to one of your webinars, you need to establish trust.
Without establishing a level of trust, it becomes almost impossible for you to convince your audience to do anything.
Sure. There might be some situations where you can trick them into signing up. But don’t even think that they’ll linger on your email list for long. They’ll surely unsubscribe sooner or later.
Since we’re into establishing trust, what you can do with your sidebar is add awards or certifications that your business has managed to obtain.
You can also add badges, or the logos of the sites where your website/brand has been mentioned. Keep Growing Smarter did just that on their sidebar.
It ultimately led to them having an 11 percent increase in their email sign-ups, after they added their “As seen in” sidebar.
They showed the logos of the trustworthy sites that talked about their business.
While there are a plethora of benefits to be had from using badges, this technique is especially helpful if yours is fairly new to the industry, and your audience are oblivious about who you are.
2. Use Opt-in Forms
Look, companies who provide Conversion Rate Optimization as a service make it a point to almost always add an opt-in form on their side bars.
Why, you might ask? Simple. It works.
Here’s how their websites look:
Now I need you to think about this. If these CRO experts are adding opt-in forms on their sidebars, shouldn’t you be doing the same?
3. Add Links to One of Your Guides
Comprehensive and value-packed guides are such potent tools when it comes to enticing your audience to sign up to your email list.
The thing with publishing guides is that it helps you build a relationship with your prospects. Because you shared with them a resource that can truly solve their problems and answer their questions, they will end up trusting you even more.
You will become their go-to guy.
This website did an amazing job at using this strategy. Notice how they added a link to their epic content on their sidebar?
I can confidently assume that they probably added the red “Save” button purposefully to make the sidebar even more visible and catchy.
Since the button’s color is red, which highly contrasts the website’s overall color theme, it can easily catch the visitor’s attention.
As you can probably imagine, establishing trust is important in any sales or lead generation process.
Through publishing a comprehensive guide and directing your audience to it, you can shoot past the “trust” barrier which puts you in a very good position to have them opt-in on one of your forms to add them on your email list.
A strategy that several seasoned marketers are using is to sprinkle their opt-in forms in several places within their guide. They add it on areas where they pack a punch so it becomes a lot easier for their audience to opt-in as soon as they get one of those “a-ha” moments.
4. Link to Your Landing Page
Landing pages play such a crucial role in terms of converting your web visitors, into actual paying clients or leads.
Here’s the thing, depending on which traffic source your web visitors come from, there’s a good chance that majority of them don’t have the original intention of signing up or buying from you. In most cases, they just went to your website to consume content.
That’s where landing pages come in. It does such an amazing job at transitioning your visitor’s frame of mind from someone who simply wants to consume content, to someone who wants to buy a product or sign up.
It’s because of this that you should add a banner on your sidebar that points directly to your landing page.
Your website’s sidebar isn’t something that you should be taking lightly. To make it work for your business, you need to realize that there is more to utilizing it than just making sure that it looks good. You need to optimize it for conversion, too.