My thanks to a special guest blogger, Caroline Melberg of SmallBusinessMavericks.com. This is a content and practical advice packed post, take your time and absorb.
It’s no secret that in today’s world, online success depends in large part on how much traffic you drive to your site. The amount of traffic you get depends on your search engine optimization. When your site is primed for search engine optimization, you get tons of traffic coming to you for free. Great, right?
Of course! You see, on the web you have a choice – you can pay Google or Yahoo tons of your hard earned cash for PPC clicks, or you can search engine optimize your site to drive new customers to you. And I’ll give you a hint – search engine optimization is much cheaper!
But many small businesses and web site owners make the mistake of just concentrating on traffic and search engine optimization. They get the traffic, but it doesn’t convert into buyers. What good is a ton of traffic coming to your site, if it doesn’t improve your website results?
You’ve ultimately got to look at your bottom line. If you’re spending tons of cash, hours of your time and all your energy on driving traffic to your site with SEO, but not making sure it converts into buying customers, you’re just chasing your tail.
Remember, you’re not after “clicks” – you’re after sales!
So how can you convert those clicks into sales? How can you get the maximum return on your investment, when it comes to converting those visitors into buyers? While there are many factors that go into Conversion Optimization for your site, here are 3 basics that you MUST ensure happen on your site in order to convert visitors into customers and increase your sales:
1. First, you need an effective sales message that grabs your surfer by the mouse, turns them upside down, and shakes their credit cards out of their pockets!
Your sales message has to grab attention and seductively hypnotize your prospect into buying your product or service. You’ve got less than 7 seconds to grab their attention, so “good enough” will not do. Remember, people don’t like to read ads. In fact, the average Internet surfer does not like to read much at all, so you’ve got to know how to capture their attention.
Your marketing message can only grab your surfer’s attention when it addresses their desires directly. For example, if your web site is a self-improvement web site, your marketing message will address things such as how to attain wealth, more health, a better job, weight loss, find a soul mate, or strengthen relationships.
You would not use headlines that talk about repairing your car for less than $100 or how to clip discount coupons. The key to converting your visitors is to find out what they want! The easiest way is to simply ask them. Email your list and ask them to email you their most important questions. Tell them to give you feedback and what kinds of changes they’d like to see happen. This will give you a gold mine of information on how to market and craft your sales message on your site in such a way that your target customers will be eager to buy.
2. Secondly, where your messages are placed on your site is critical. Important messages about what your company does, and the actions you want your customers to take must be strategically positioned on your website to ensure they aren’t overlooked by your customers. Make sure that all critical information appears “above the fold” so your customers don’t have to scroll down the page to figure out what your company does and whether you offer what they need.
Something many people forget when they design their site is that different computer monitor resolutions will display your site differently, making it important that you check what your website will look like in all common resolutions. An easy way to do this is to visit www.AnyBrowser.com and perform a screen size test. This way you can be certain that your site will look great, regardless of the computer monitor your customer is viewing it on.
3. Don’t forget to optimize your site speed. If your website loads very slowly, you are almost guaranteed to lose website visitors, who are also your potential buyers. Be sure you try to load your website from your web browser. Always remember, if you have access to fast and reliable business internet provider, that doesn’t mean your web visitors enjoy the same privilege as you do. Try loading your website from a slow internet service and see how long it loads… if it’s too long, then you need to optimize your website.
4. Finally, the overall navigation of your site is critical to your conversion success. Is it easy for customers to find what they are looking for? If they have questions, is a phone number provided in an obvious location for them to be able to give you a call? Do you let your customers know the types of payment options you offer, your delivery policies and when they can expect to receive their order? By ensuring that your customers can easily find the information they need to do business with you, you’ll improve your conversion optimization and your sales.
Keep in mind that conversion optimization is a process – not an event. Just as you test your direct mail efforts and your PPC campaigns, you will want to test alternate messaging, placement and navigation options to continually try to improve your site’s conversion optimization. To help with this, our friends at Google have developed a free tool called the Google Website Optimizer where you can identify your “control” page and then test a variety of different headlines, messages and images to determine which performs best.
As with any type of testing – I recommend that you test one variable at a time so you can be sure which changes you make have the greatest impact on your conversion rate.
Another thing you want to do is to study your competition. Study your competitors that are several steps ahead of you. When you do this, you’ll have an outline of what already works. Don’t copy them, of course – but study their messaging and positioning as well as their site navigation to learn what is working well with the customers you aim to reach.
You don’t have to re-invent the wheel. When it comes to having a profitable online business, a combination of search engine optimization and crafting effective marketing messages that convert into buyers is important. Search engine optimization combined with Conversion Optimization is the most powerful duo you have in your Internet Marketing bag of tricks in terms of finding new customers, increasing your sales and improving your Website performance.
Want more help and knowledge from Caroline? Get her FREE E-Book on Small Business Internet Marketing.