Every website has a purpose, and the more defined that purpose is, the higher the conversion rate. Knowing your demographic and tailoring your content to meet their needs is critical to online success. Fortunately, posts on this topic are in abundance, and we at DSA have a lot to offer on the subject.
We can, and do, get into the nitty-gritty details in other posts, however, we’re going to keep it simple in this post. This post outlines the processes behind getting people to your site, turning them from strangers to potential prospects, turning those prospects into sales and then keeping them loyal, happy and, with luck, turning them into your most vocal brand advocates.
1. Get more people to come to your website
Getting more traffic for your website is easy if you have a mountain of money to throw at various traffic acquisition services, but paying efficiently for traffic is a whole different story.Whatever you do, it’s going to cost you money and time (so just money then) and you’ll most likely be aware of the various platforms and mediums but you’ll probably find the amount of choice overwhelming.
A quick and easy way of getting traffic to your site is with Google ads, either through the Search (text and shopping ads) or Display Network (banners), or both. The Search Network is typically expensive but the quality of the traffic is difficult to beat. The Display Network’s traffic is far cheaper but less refined and therefore less likely to convert.
Google search ads (search results page ads) are ideal for catching traffic that’s self-initiated into the conversion cycle, whilst Display ads attempt to initiate users that aren’t already into the conversion cycle. There are some other options like remarketing, and mobile or in-game ads, both can be excellent sources of traffic, but need technical expertise to set up. All in all, Google’s ad network offers fantastic methods of generating fast traffic.
Social media advertising
Almost all social networks have an advertising platform embedded into them, and if they don’t now they will soon. Sites like Facebook generate billions in revenue selling advertising on their platform, simply due to sheer traffic volume they generate. Social media marketing is a boon to us and you; firstly you can create highly- targeted ads to people that have an interest, e.g. if you are selling games then you can target your ads to people that like similar games, increasing your conversion rate.
Secondly, you can target very specific people and locations with social media that you cannot with Google. However, like the Google Display Network, social media ads attempt to initiate users into the conversion cycle rather than catching those who have self-initiated. They’re on Facebook for a reason and they’re unlikely to be considering buying your product or service at the time. Facebook advertising is indeed highly-targeted but impulse-buying dependent.
This method is all about playing the long-game rather than quick wins. The gist of it is to supply blog content to relevant sites that already have high traffic, including links to your site within that content. There is a trick to this though, you need to be able to talk about your site or product in a way that will support the point your making in your post without sounding too salesy.
A good way is to write two posts, one for the guest blog that should be more generalist, and one for your site that should be more detailed, with the objective of acquiring information-seeking traffic from the guest blog. This method, while long-lasting can be hard to get right, but also hard to get at all. You have to reach out to other site owners, ask them to accept a post and then make sure they publish it and leave in your link.
This of course is the long-term method and one that you must be doing on your site, no matter what. This strategy is centered around creating content designed to appear highly in the non-paid section of Google searches . Think of it like this: Google’s product is your website and the user is the customer. I will write a post sometime soon about how to find what questions to answer on your site, and some tips on how to write content that will not only get people on your site, but also, with some tweaking, get them to convert, enquire or simply even return.
Banner ads resemble traditional print advertisements, like in newspapers. They predate search ads due to being the next logical step from printed media to the mainstream internet; you would go to a website, read the content and then in the sidebar, you would see the ad, click and buy. However, the landscape of the internet and its audience’s psychology has shifted away from this in the past two decades; our internal metrics and experience with the Google Display network support this, as Display Network clickthrough rates are always tiny compared to those of Search Network ads.
Let’s make the distinction between run-of-the-mill banner ads and Google Display ads clear: normal banner ads are negotiated with site owners and rate cards, Google Display ads are managed within the Google AdWords interface. Normal banner ads will typically show constantly for a set number of impressions that you have negotiated for, paid at a CPM, whilst Google Display ads have far more complexity as to the rules that govern where and when they show. Google Display ads can be targeted via chosen site placements, keywords, demographics and interest groups or remarketing.
2. Turn them from strangers into potential prospects.
After you have got people on your site, you need to now look at how to turn them from random members of the public into possible leads. First and foremost, you need to ensure that if you have created an ad or banner that is saying that you are selling something, that when they come to your site, that they will actually find what it is your ad is promoting. Doing a bait and switch, or saying one thing then selling another, is a sure fire method to lose those potential leads. Offering something 100% free then requiring a credit card is one of those methods that personally infuriates me to no end, and I know that I am not alone.
The user experience
A fantastic website can turn a simple visitor into an enquiry faster than any other method; if your site is a delight to use, if it’s beautiful to look at it and if it ticked off all the basic features and functions that any user would expect then you will make more sales than any site that doesn’t. If you have to sell your products using pricing as your value offer, as there are lots of players in the field, then you need to show that your price is the key feature. If you are selling product saying that you are the most reliable, then again,m you need to show social proof and examples of that, and it needs to be right up front, but, it needs to be done in a way that makes you stand out from the crowd.
Spend the money and have a real designer create your site, spend the time to test that site with all sorts of people, and don’t fall in to the trap that just because you think that is the right way to do something, that you force it to be like that for all. Sometimes you’re not the best person to judge, so spend time testing it, get opinions and trial different designs. A beautiful site sells more and there is no argument about that.
Every time you have any communication with a user, you can affect their experience with your brand as well as giving them a truly delightful outcome when they are on your site. Every day there seem to be more and more technologies available that allow you to communicate with a customer, with things like live chat, click-to-call or Skype messaging on site and many more instant communication methods.
There are as always, inherent problems with trying to be too contactable, especially in instant messaging, simply because of the fact that it’s instant; if you or your staff member isn’t there, then you can cause a negative reaction.
If you are going to use live chat, and I highly recommend you do, then make sure that there is a staff member manning it, and if you cant do that all the time, make sure that it gets turned off at night!
You can use email to deliver so much information to any client, and when you match it with a solid content marketing campaign and marketing automation, then you can have a truly winning formula.
I wont go into too much detail on how to get people’s email, or get them signed up on your email database as that has been done to death, but, if you respect an email address and understand that to get someone to give it to you, you need to give them something of value for it. If it’s a sale, you can give a way a chance to win, or some really awesome content, but that has to have the same amount of perceived amount as the value that someone places on their email address.
Personally, my personal email address is worth trading for access to a new beta test of a program, a chance to win maybe a camera or phone and maybe a 25 page e-book on marketing. That is the value that I place on my email address, I do say it’s worth more than the chance for you to email me once a month though. So, if you want me to give you that address, then you need to give me something that I value the same.
This is the last point I will make in regards to interactions, and it’s about the content that you have on your site. That content is a way for you to connect with your customers; it’s a way for them to get to know your skills, abilities, thoughts and beliefs. It’s a way for you to connect with them on many different levels, and that, I think is the most important way for turning strangers into potential leads.
On site content can be a one way conversation, most of the time anyway, but if you stick to your guns, talk from the heart and talk about things that are relevant to you and your customers then there is a far better chance that they will want to talk back.
3. Convert customers into brand advocates
You have now brought people to your site, you have spoken to them through your content, your live chat and your emails and now, through the grace of all things digital they have purchased!
You now have another very important job to do – you need to turn these customers into people that are loyal, happy and so excited about how you were with them, that they will tell their friends, associates and social media followers all about you.
Firstly, your product needs to be good, and I don’t think that I really need to talk too much about that, if you are selling shite, then there is a good chance that your customers will know, so my advice is, don’t sell shite.
When your customer made the purchase, did you ensure that they were informed of every thing that happened along the way, did they know the total charges they were about to get, did they get delivered the product that you said, in a time and state that you said?
Was the sale easy, fast and exactly as you said it was? If not, then you need to fix that now. Get a friend or associate to use your site, and get them to tell you their experience. You have been using your site for a while, you know how it works, and you are going to forgive little issues and errors that may pop up, your customers won’t, so make sure that you get them all sorted out ASAP.
Did you give any sort of after sales service? Did you send an email our a week after purchase to say thanks and did you offer to give them any assistance should they need it, heck even give them a discount coupon on their next purchase? This follow up can be an amazing way of cementing in to your customers mind that you and your site is truly professional and that you are a one of a kind.
Using marketing email automation, you can continue to delight your customers long after they have left your site by knowing what they were interested in while they were on your site, and then automatically sending them follow up content if they come back to any part, you can engage your customers with personalised information.
4. Keep them happy and loyal!
Lastly, this isn’t really part of the funnel but I think it’s important – it’s to remember that you close the sale but not the customer. Understanding the lifetime value of a customer can change the way that you approach all sales, and it’s one that car dealerships can do well. Today you sell a car to a young man, it’s maybe his first car, and you do a good job, and you make sure that you have him on your database.
Every 12 months you could send an offer for a free service or tune-up; something that has a relatively low value to you, but a high perceived value to him.
Then he gets married, has some kids and he needs to get a family wagon, where is he going to go first? The dealership that understood that a customer today can be a repeat a long way down the track or the one that made the sale and forgot about him?
Let’s then go further – his kids grow up and they need a car, and on it goes. The lifetime value of a customer can be either one sale now or ten sales in the lifetime of your business, and if you treat all customers as more than a sale, then you can multiply that effect indefinitely.
At DSA we understand that customers are more than the sale and we have built that philosophy into the heart of our business. We are not service suppliers; we are partners and we look at the long-term goals of your business and how we can work to make them happen.