How many clicks

How Many Clicks?

Kelly “Rags” Ragland is owner and operator of Rags to Stitches Productions, a holistic advertising-specialty company providing a range of services from web design and development to customized apparel.

In 1969, Tootsie Roll Industries launched an animated commercial for their popular Tootsie Pop candy. “How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?” became a memorable phrase for adults and children alike, and the ad presented the treat in a way that illustrates how long lasting it can be versus the competition.

Life wasn’t quite as fast paced in 1969 as it is today. Although we were sending astronauts to the moon and developing new technologies, no one was single-handedly tethered to the Internet with a mobile device. To shop for products and services, consumers used catalogs, telephone books, and a land line.

In 2014’s fast paced environment, we should rephrase that historic ad’s question and apply it to our online marketing efforts: “How many clicks does it take to get your website visitors to __________?” It needs to be as short of an effort as possible, as today’s marketplace is about speed––connection speed, quick search results and a fast lane to accomplishing an online task.

The add-to-cart button

If your website includes e-commerce, how many clicks does it take for a site visitor to find your goods and add them to a cart? From your perspective, you may feel that your products and services are organized and presented in an appealing manner that makes sense. However, from the consumers’ chair, having never seen the website, are they able to source quickly and take action?

My rule of thumb has always been within three clicks or less. (Three was also the answer given in the Tootsie Roll commercial, if you’ll recall. The impatient old owl was ahead of his time!) Today’s consumers are looking for speed and ease of use, and many shop and make key purchases using their mobile devices. What you offer to them online needs to suit that lifestyle. Presentation is key, but function and the ability for the user to take action is what closes the sale.

Contact us! Get a free quote!

For apparel decorators, custom work is an integral percentage of our offerings. As a result, it isn’t as easy for us to simply add products to an online e-commerce system, tune in our pricing, and offer goods to visitors via shopping carts. Detailed questions must be answered. Quantity, sizes, colors, artwork, setup fees, and more come into play. In this situation, we must encourage the user to take action and make contact with us or fill out a simple quote request form. Following the three click formula, how many clicks does it take for a site visitor to find your product or service and quickly jump to your contact form? How about your phone number? Guests that get bogged down in unnecessary text and endless page loading will wander away, fast. Capturing the visitor quickly and efficiently is imperative to generating that sale.

Follow us and subscribe

Just like the call-to-action buttons mentioned above, strategic placement of buttons for users to follow you on social media or subscribe to your email marketing list will generate more leads and, eventually, more sales. These are not only important for keeping users interested and engaged with your business, they can net shoppers who have yet to make a decision and provide a way to stay connected for later consideration. These buttons only require one click, so placement is really the only strategy involved. Make them easy to find without taking attention away from your products and services.

Social media and linking

As a webmaster and Internet marketer, I have noticed many businesses using social media without considering, “How many clicks?” For example, I follow one of my favorite television programs featuring a local Hot Rod shop in the Dallas area. I noticed a great post on the show’s Twitter feed that included a sharp image of a cool T-shirt…20-percent off? Today only? I’m there! Then I clicked on their link and it took me to the home page of the online store.

Considering that the post caught my eye in the middle of my work day, and I only wanted to take five minutes to allow myself for an impulse purchase, the three click rule would’ve helped me complete the transaction quickly. Instead, I was left searching the online store for the exact T-shirt I was interested in buying—the fun shopping excursion had turned into a chore. No purchase was made.

Had they linked directly to the product’s landing page with an add-to-cart button, I’d have a new cool new shirt and they’d have a sale. One click to get to the product, and a second click to add it to my cart = three clicks or less, and that sale would be closed.

Finish line

On the subject of speed and efficiency, I am reminded of a recent Indy Car race that had me on the edge of my seat. Target’s Chip Ganassi team led by the majority of laps, until the Andretti team passed near the race’s end, and won the race having only led 2/300 laps. Although Ganassi appeared to have had the race in his sights, the veteran Andretti team had invested in a better strategy that resulted in more late speed, which proved to be successful.

I suggest taking a test drive of your website frequently to look for opportunities to improve the speed and user experience, and reduce the number of clicks required for visitors to take action. In the words of racing legend Mario Andretti: “If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough.”
Don’t miss out on key sales and new customers by allowing a visit to your website to turn into a bothersome task. Clean, clear, and concise calls-to-action will prevail in today’s instant gratification sales world!