Basic website marketing consists of three core parts: visibility, engagement, and conversion.
Today's topic is conversion. Once you get people visiting your site and engaged in your content, your job is to get them to convert. But before we dive in let's define the term conversion as it applies to your website.
A conversion is an action a visitor takes within your website that leads to them give you information or money. The action could be:
- Buying a product or service
- Downloading a white paper
- Making a donation
- Signing up for a newsletter
- Watching a video
- Reading a case study
- Playing a game
1) Start with a Goal
The desired minimum outcome of any conversion is grabbing some sort of information from your visitor - a name, email, phone number, geographical area, etc - preferrably information you can use to contact them. The best outcome is your visitors making a purchase, becoming a member, volunteering their time, or some other result that benefits your organization.
You should start with a goal. If the goal is not for the user to purchase something then what information do you want to collect from them? Keep in mind that people shy away from giving personal information so you should collect the absolute minimum you need to satisfy your goal. You cannot expect people to freely provide their information.
The most basic goal is to generate an online sale. If you don't sell directly on your website, though, your goal may be a little less obvious. An example goal is to collect a name and email address and add the visitor to your newsletter. Or perhaps, you want to get a name and phone number for individuals ready to buy. Whatever the goal, be sure to keep it simple.
One other very important consideration - you need to determine how the completion of this goal fits into your sales cycle. Does the visitor become an unqualified lead? A warm lead? An motivated buyer?
You can't expect visitors to simply give you information without getting something in return. Unless I am highly motivated, I will not give you my name, phone, address, or email to see a few screenshots of your product. The give
needs to equal or exceed the take
Product sales are easy. You get the visitor's information and money and they get a tangible asset. But if I want to get the visitor's name, email, phone, and address I better be giving them something of significant value, such as a research paper with valuable statistics or a video tutorial on how to solve some challenge.
But here's the problem. Website visitors have an expectation that most information derived from websites should be free. After all, they've been handed free information for a decade and a half. So your offering should have obvious intrinsic value.
3) Keep It Simple, Stupid
K.I.S.S. - this is a phrase from my 11th grade geometry teacher. Not only a very smart woman, she was quite capable of breaking down complex concepts into simple illustrations or equations. Keeping it simple means to make your calls to action simple and obvious. Take this start now button, for example. This would fit very easily on a page that discusses some type of maintenance product or program, such as a lawn care treatment program.
Again, I recommend reading Robert Bly's bookThe Copywriter's Handbook - A Step By Step Guide To Writing Copy That Sells. Bly provides a great section on writing headlines and captivating taglines. You could easily apply this to calll to action buttons or links.
Once you have crafted your conversion goals, what you want to get from your visitors, then you'd better be sure to measure the results. For those visitors that convert, where did they come from, what other pages did they look at on your site, and how long were they on the site before they converted? Also check out the bounce rate or the drop off pages (i.e. where are visitors leaving your site). Those areas should lead you to improvements that keep visitors from abandonment.
My most important bit of advice on measurement is to not over analyze the results - at first. If you get 500 visitors each month and two leads, then it probably isn't worth the effort to create a bunch of reports detailing every aspect of their journey. But, if you have 50,000 visitors a month who, on average, visit up to three pages on your site and you only get two conversions, then definitely over analyze what's going on.
Paralysis by analysis is just a matter of perspective.
If you have the resources, put together a weekly or monthly report that ties revenue to your website conversions. This may not be easy if you're a small business but if you are able to do this, then you'll have a clearer idea where you should spend your marketing dollars. Also, if you can tie revenue directly to leads originating from the website who then became customers, you will have great ammunition convincing the powers that be to spend more money.