March 01, 2013
What is the point of your website? Why did you go to the trouble and expense of getting a website? Yes, it looks great (maybe), and most of your competitors have one (probably). However, if your website is simply the equivalent of a directory entry for your business online i.e. the place where your customers come to find your phone number, you’re probably missing out on huge business generation opportunities, and almost certainly missing the point.
So back to the initial question; what is the point of your website?
As well as looking good, you should expect your website to generate a return for your business. To quote Jay Baer, one of my favourite digital marketing pundits at Convince and Convert; “It’s about action, not eyeballs.”
Converting your website visitors into cash
The importance of overall visitor traffic numbers will always be secondary to the number of people who visit your site and take an action in your favour.
Having arrived at your website, you want prospective customers to take an action that engages them with your business further to towards becoming a new client. This is known as the process of conversion. Some of the actions they could take could include:
Each action the visitor takes drives them further along in the sales process.
Here are a few suggestions to get the visitor conversion process moving on your website to start generating a return from your website.
1. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking – Use a call to action
A clear and focused call to action on each page of your website telling customers what actions they should take next is often the most straightforward and effective approach.
Highlight the benefit of completing an action and use simple buttons and unambiguous language to make it clear how they can do so e.g. “Download here” or “Contact us”. Repeating the call to action in several strategic places on the page ensures that the visitor won’t miss it and is more likely to take the prompting.
2. Don’t make them think
Make it as easy as possible for visitors to navigate your website. The less your visitors have to think, the longer they are likely to stay on your site. Your website should have a logical layout with breadcrumbs letting visitors know where they are, and how they got there. If a visitor gets lost on your website they are likely to bounce right off your website and head for your competitor, never to return.
3. Put your modesty aside – It’s all about your USP
Ensure that your website visitor know exactly why they should choose you, why you are the only solution to their problem. Don’t be afraid to make it obvious on your website. Whatever your business does, over and above the industry standard, and better than your competitors should be front and centre on your website. This will contribute to the reason your website visitors decide to choose you over your competitors and convert.
4. Give them the information they want but don’t bore them
Most visitors have arrived at your website in search of some particular information. The best possible tactic here is to give them what they want. Think about the intent, and the keywords that would have brought a visitor to your site.
Your website copy should reflect the where you expect visitors to be in the buying cycle. Even if the service you offer is highly technical and potentially less than exciting, you’ve got to avoid to sending your site traffic into a stupor. At the start of the buying cycle, simple, clear, and concise information is usually sufficient to get the interest of most visitors and convince them to take an action such as subscribing to your newsletter or downloading your e-book to find out more. Thus ensuring that they come back to you when they are ready to buy.
Technical descriptions can be introduced within the sub-pages of the website for those at a later point in the buying cycle.
5. Quid pro quo
The “What’s in it for me” principle is truly alive and well online. Consider offering a free giveaway to entice visitors to take an action e.g. a free consultation if they complete your online customer contact form or providing an informative free report on a relevant topic in exchange for their name and email address. Anyone who downloads your report is a warm lead, and best of all, you now have their email address and their permission to continue to market to them via email marketing campaigns.
6. Integrate with social media
Integrating social media on to your website gives visitors another way to engage with you in a forum that’s less formal and potentially with less commitment on the visitors’ part. Make it simple for visitors to follow you on Twitter, “Like” you on Facebook, watch your YouTube videos or connect with you on LinkedIn. The next step is to enable visitors to easily share or “Like” content on your site. This may not directly help visitor conversion per se but is essential to help spread your content.
7. Be guided by your website analytics
If you don’t use already use analytics on your site, I suggest you implement Google Analytics immediately. It’s free and among other things will be able to tell you the exact pages that visitors are leaving your site from, the most popular pages and content, the least popular pages (pages with a below average time on site), and where your visitors are dropping out of the conversion process. You can then work on improving those pages and the information they contain to make them more relevant for your visitors.
8. Get a fresh pair of professional eyeballs with user testing
Pay a professional to review your website. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You can get so conditioned to looking at your own website that you can become immune to any issues that could be preventing visitors from converting. A fresh pair of eyes can help you get an objective opinion of your site. One of the least expensive ways to get feedback that I’ve found online is through Feedback Army. It’s fairly basic but is a step in the right direction.
9. Check out what the best-in-class in your industry is doing
Have a look at what your strongest competitors are doing. Look at the design and layout of their site, how is it different from yours? What keywords are they using? What online business development strategies can you identify Put your client hat on and determine what parts of their website makes sense, and what doesn’t. Would you sign up for their newsletter? Connect with them on social media? Buy from them? Why? Answer these questions and you might be able to take away a few ideas for use on your website.
Contact us to learn how you can convert your website visitors to cash.