Converting Web Visitors into Customers
No corporation creates a website "purely for the fun of it"; it is a crucial marketing tool. Managing the prospects overall experience can build trust and endear them to your web-site and company. It is important to understand what drives the customer, yet be genuine in working with the customer.
- Being Competative
- Building Visibility
- Sponsorship, Advertising & Social Media
- Enhancing the Visitor's Experience
No corporation creates a website "purely for the fun of it"; it is a crucial marketing tool. A well designed tool should assist the process of turning prospects into customers. In the associated article "Anonymous Interest Marketing - How Your Website is Equipped to Assist the New Visitor" we looked at some of the tactics for using data about our visitors in order to enhance their experience on your site.
This article relates more to the task of converting visitors into customers rather than managing their experience. As such it is more about marketing approach than technology elements. In selling anything on the web it is always as important to build trust as it is to have a sleek and professional site. For successful sales it is important to have a site that both assists the visitor in their research as well as their purchasing. Unless a person has used your site before they are unlikely to buy from your catalogue straight away, even if you have the best deal in the marketplace.
Businesses need an on-line presence. It raises their profile in the industry, even where they do not intend to sell products direct to the general public. Part of this strategy includes the need to drive visitors to their site from search engines like Google, or Bing. The site should offer critical information that will assist in converting that curious visitor into a sale. Although this may not always happen in a single step. We may have to accept that in the first instance the act of bookmarking your site signifies a positive impact.
There will be a difference between retail type sites and other business sites. Amazon's primary existence is all about pushing sales, whereas a company marketing air conditioner equipment is providing the home owner with choices that will empower their selection when they purchase through the companies supplier. Yet both modes of operation are equally valid. The comments within this article are more focused on the retail site.
Visibility is about attracting the right kind of prospects to the site. Understanding what the shopper wishes to buy can be very important as can the value offered. It is always important to be credible to your audience. At an early stage it is more about building rapport and trust than selling; the prospect must know you exist in order to consider your products as offering a viable solution to their problem.
There are two statistics to consider here:
* When a person stays for more than 20 seconds they are interested in what you are offering.
* It takes an average of 2.6 visits for a person to make a purchase decision.
Just because a person leaves your site does not mean they will not be back. The first visit is likely to be about general interest, the second about research. The third a likely sale. This is the point when offering deals may tip the balance in your favour.
It is important to consider your trustworthiness, but this must be from the viewpoint of your customer. This is where an immense amount of psychology could be used in order to increase the likelihood of a sale. Primarily the challenge is in demonstrating your value proposition clearly and succinctly in term that are clearly understood by the intended customer.
Sponsorship, Advertising & Social Media
Driving traffic to your site is always important. The tradition route is through advertising (either on-line of through off-line media). What is true is that no on-line ONLY site can survive without quality traffic that converts into paying customers, yet it is a fact that the vast majority of internet users tend to completely ignore internet based advertisements, so we must grab their attention in other ways.
Two thirds of search engine based traffic comes from Google, so having an SEO policy that understands this search engine is vital, yet it is not the only source of traffic, in fact the right intervention into Social Media channels alone can drive as much traffic as all the search engines, sponsored links and advertising put together. Nonetheless Google, Bing, and Yahoo are all an important part of getting the site in front of the customer.
Should you pay to have sponsored link on the Google results page? While it can be an effective means for capturing prospects it is not always cost effective. This is where Social Media can pay dividends - the intervention here is more about adding value to the market place than executing an advertising campaign (in fact advertising posts are specifically banned on many sites). The value of social media comes from participating and again building trust as an expert in the marketplace and developing relationships. It is the relationship that will both drive the sale and build a long term relationship with that customer.
Enhancing the Visitor's Experience
One thing is certain on-line shoppers can be a picky bunch of people. On one hand they can be extremely loyal, yet on the other-hand they become very demanding. There is an expectation that most e-commerce sites will either have no customer services telephone line, or at best have a support line that is non-responsive. Break that mold, as Zappos.com has done and you will build customer loyalty. Any service which both provides an effective on-line service and superb service will always encourage the customer to return time and again.
Because physical products are hard to envision through an on-line medium it is vital to help the customer in whatever way possible, including a full 360-degree visualisation and zoomed in views of the product can enhance sales by up-to 80%.
Visualisation is the key to successful on-line retailing, from books, to software, to fashion, to shoes. Some products also need video instruction manuals in order to enhance sales prospects.