Generating traffic to your website is just part of your online marketing plan. Many small business owners get excited about having a lot of internet traffic but that traffic isn’t terribly useful unless your visitors are compelled to ‘do something’. In order to effectively monetize that traffic, you need to concentrate on online conversion so that visitors to your site become part of your email, RSS feed, or social media community.
Most small business websites are not optimized for online visitor conversion. Most sites fall into the ‘brochure site’ category and simply give information without much thought to what they really want the web visitor to do at their site. Ask yourself ‘What action do I want my web visitor to take? Sign up for a newsletter? Take a free online course? Call a toll-free telephone number?’ Think through the ‘desired action’ that you want your web visitor to take.
Why do you want to build a community? You want to build a community because it’s the key to building relationships and trust so that someone ultimately does business with you…again and again. Remember, if you do your SEO and PPC campaigns right, having crossed paths with these potential clients is not merely accidental. They’ve been brought to your site because these people keyed in some search keywords that indicates they are at the very least searching for something that’s related to your business.
You should have a primary focus on capturing the contact details of your web visitors, particularly their working email addresses. Now the big question is how? Actually, it’s a two-pronged approach that is very effective if implemented correctly.
First, you must provide value to your web visitor as a source of information that they can trust and rely upon. The other component is employing certain tactics that have been proven over time to increase online conversion to your email file.
Establishing trust is the foundation of all successful transactions, be it an online transaction or a traditional, in-person transaction. However, in the online world your web visitor can’t “size you up” very easily and make a quick, intuitive judgment about your trustworthiness. Instead, you have to establish that trustworthiness through some basic tactics that build credibility:
1. Have a clean site design, add testimonials, security certifications and affiliations. For commerce sites, get listings in BizRate, Froogle, Epinions, etc. Show your personality. Highlight your money back guarantee. Include privacy, contact us, and about us pages.
2. Add content to your site that shows you are indeed an expert of what your visitor is looking for. This should be easy because you’ll be talking about topics related to your business and nothing more. People trust others who understand their needs and wants.
These two techniques are very simple and obvious. But you MUST pass this test before your visitors will even consider giving you their personal information and permission to contact them through email or social media. Conversion techniques simply won’t work well if you can’t establish trustworthiness and credibility.
Online Conversion Tactics
1. My favorite tactic is to offer an incentive, such as the free Online Marketing eCourse that we offer at Breakthrough Marketing Methods. You can come up with an eBook, a coupon, or other free gifts to encourage visitors to join your email newsletter file.
2. Optimize your site to drive acquisitions. Ask visitors to register on every page, and include an email preferences center link in the footer.
3. Ask readers to sign up in your newsletters, as recipients may receive them from colleagues.
4. Provide a link for registration in all outgoing correspondences, including email-a-friend, customer service, and order confirmation items.
5. Engage in-person sales and ask encourage them to subscribe to your online newsletter. Capture it at the point-of-sale and enter it manually in to your system if you are a small business.
Implementing these tactics will significantly improve your online conversion rate and build your email file.
Next, you’ll want to quickly follow up with your new subscribers and start building good relationships via other channels such as email and social media. Most good email vendors provide easy auto-responder messaging to allow for prompt follow up to your new subscribers. A few of my favorite are:
* AWeber – This is a very solid, affordable email marketing system that creates Web sign up form and can manage complete email campaigns. It has really good autoresponder features and email templates to help you get your email campaigns up and running quickly. Emails that you receive from us are delivered through AWeber.
* iContact – These guys are excellent as well. In fact, if you are looking for a great selection of design templates coupled with autoresponder features like AWeber, iContact is a strong choice. They also have survey functionality, which AWeber does not. They have a fantastic trial period as well. Click here to learn all you need to know about iContact’s services.
Remember, email subscription lists are usually developed over time. The data you collect should reveal the depth of your customer relationships. Customers must trust you before they willingly give up additional personal information such as postal address or phone number. They often view this exchange as transactional, meaning they need to perceive some benefit, either in relevant information, a discount, or a gift.
Obviously, closing a sale to prospects in your email file will provide you with important additional information that expand the opportunity for other marketing tactics such as direct mail. The value of knowing your customer will increase your ROI, as you will be able to increase revenues with targeted, new offerings and cross marketing as you learn more about your customers through their online interactions.
Implementing these simple tactics and you’ll see a strong improvement in your online conversions and be sure to use a solid email marketing tool to supplement your online marketing efforts as well.