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Website Conversion – Making your Website Work for You

By admin

This is the first in a series of Internet Marketing whitepapers drawn from my 15 years of doing marketing on the Internet. I start with the most common shortcoming I’ve seen with small company websites – i.e., the lack of focus on converting “lookers into bookers” on company websites. Instead many companies focus on getting traffic but don’t turn those into lasting relationships.

The goal is to capture the essence as there’s nearly infinite information on every topic. This is part of a larger endeavor to capture the intellectual property of Altus Alliance. In addition, these how-to’s have been a collaborative effort with Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing. Matt worked for me early in his career and remains one of the best team members I have ever worked with. He’s the kind of professional I like working with. He doesn’t have a PhD…he has a GSD (Gets Stuff Done). All of the topics we cover assume the tight resources of a startup business as opposed to having a large, specialized marketing team. No fluff in these papers.

For a copy of the whitepaper, please fill out the form below. Below the form is the introduction to the whitepaper.

Introduction

Most organizations spend more time and money promoting their websites than they do optimizing existing conversion rates of visitors to their site. Because increasing website conversion is one of the most effective ways to increase profitability at the visitor level, knowing how to measure and improve conversion is vital to success with Internet marketing. This is one of the longest sections due to its importance.

Conversion defined: Conversion rates are distinct measurements that determine how many of your prospects take your preferred action step. Typically, micro-conversions (for instance, reading different pages on your site, or signing up for a newsletter) lead to your main conversion step (making a purchase, or contacting you for more information).

The most common thing we hear from businesses when they are disappointed with their web marketing is something along the lines of “I got people to my website but the campaign just didn’t work”. Let’s draw an analogy with a real world experience. Imagine you had someone helping your business by getting people to step inside your store who expressed an interest in your product. You would think that that person did their job as long as they got people who were relevant to your business to step inside your store. That’s where your job as the business owner begins. Imagine if that shopper who stepped inside wasn’t greeted by anyone, couldn’t find where your merchandise was located, found old merchandise after roaming around, couldn’t find where to check out and when they finally crossed paths with someone all they did was they wanted to talk about how great their store was rather than find out what the shoppers needs were. This is the real world equivalent of the experience visitors to many websites have. It’s no wonder that results for many business websites are abysmal with this kind of experience.

Who is responsible for that shopper’s experience – the person helping get people inside your store or you? Successful businesses that have been around awhile intuitively know the experience they want their customers to have in their real world interactions whether they are an insurance agent or a retailer. They need to pay as much attention to the website experience or they are wasting a lot of money on their marketing and website and missing out on countless opportunities. One business we worked with had a website for five years that didn’t have a big impact on their business. Applying a few of the tips outlined below, they increased sales from their site 129% from March 2008 to March 2009 — a time when most saw big declines in their business.

A website that serves your business should also serve your site visitor and should be like a good butler — butlers anticipate needs and work silently, as a good website should. Unfortunately, most websites aren’t designed with conversion in mind and thus there are missed opportunities whether people find your website independently or you sent them there via your efforts in your place of business or via your advertising.

Remember that once the visitor is at your website, your goal is to convert her — to turn her into a buyer or a lead. In most cases, the conversion you should focus on isn’t an instant sale. The most common activity for website visitors is to do research before they make a purchase online or offline (in local businesses serving local customers, 80% or more of the purchases will take place offline). Thus, you shouldn’t have the expectation that every visit will turn into a sale. If that’s all you design your website around and measure your success against, you’ll be missing out on lots of future opportunity. As mentioned in the Email Newsletter chapter, email marketing to your permission-based list is consistently the highest ROI marketing tactic there is.

Of course, if someone is ready to transact you don’t want any barriers in their way. At the same time, it would be well advised to put 80% of your focus on driving a conversion that is a lower commitment on the part of the visitor. Highlighted below are several ideas that would provide an incentive for a visitor to give you information about themselves. By collecting their email and other relevant information, this opens up a communications channel that will be vital to your success.

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