Transforming Your Website Into a Conversion Machine
About The Author:Abu Noaman is CEO of Elliance, Inc., an e-marketing software and services company serving progressive mid-size companies, colleges and universities, and non-profits. Mr. Noaman can be contacted at email@example.com.
Imagine hiring a salesperson who never calls in sick and always persuades potential customers to take action – make a purchase, sign up for courses, give a donation – whatever it is that impacts your bottom line. This isn’t a fantasy. This is the true potential for your website.
The current economic climate is forcing businesses to dig deeper and evaluate the effectiveness of every miniscule purchase, decision and action, making this the perfect time to look at how you can improve the effectiveness of your site.
Which is the most important element of your site – the design, the copy, the architecture or the SEO? The answer is the artful combination of all of the above. If it’s a beautiful site but no one can find it, what good is it? If it ranks high on search engines but contains unpersuasive prose and over-the-top sales pitches, how quickly will a visitor leave the site?
The following tips show how to make sure everything on your site works cohesively to turn your Web site into a powerful conversion machine.
Tip One: Decide What You Want the Most
Ask yourself, “Do I want more sales, leads, sign-ups, referrals or page-views?” Wanting your site to educate visitors about your company is vague and ineffective. To get results, you need to create a win-win situation. Your site must help visitors get what they want and at the same time, persuade them to do what you want them to do.
Tip Two: Keep Your Brand Messaging Current
Even though the core mission of your brand stays the same, it is important for your brand messaging to feel fresh and address your potential customer’s current concerns. We frequently find that websites haven’t evolved to push the current hot buttons.
Remember the power of a first impression. If the messaging doesn’t excel at addressing your visitors needs, they will think that you don’t understand them. This might not be true, but it’s the impression they will have. You’ll then have to work hard to change that perception.
Tip Three: Use Words to Sell, Not Tell
Your copy must engage the customer. Impressing them with industry buzzwords doesn’t accomplish this goal. People buy products and services to solve their problems. Great websites present products and services as solutions to a person’s problems.
Do your research to identify their problems and use your site to demonstrate how you can solve those problems. The visitor needs to quickly understand how the product or service you offer will impact their life. Does it save customers time? Does it save them money? Does it give them prestige? Be specific. Focus your messaging on your customer and less on yourself.
Sell by providing facts, telling stories, painting pictures, using metaphors. Back your claims by real proofs.
Tip Four: Include Calls to Action
So, you have powerful copy and a well-designed site – what’s next? Steer visitors to take the next step via prominently placed calls-to-action, which should appear on practically every page.
If the visitor is not ready to buy now, don’t lose them forever; invite them to sign-up for your newsletter, download a white paper, enter a sweepstakes, or just ask questions with online chat. Chances are they might not need your product or service the exact minute they land on your site but you want to maintain top-of-mind awareness by keeping connected with them so they think of you when they are ready to act.
Tip Five: Let Others Sing Your Praises
When visitors can easily find customer testimonials, awards you’ve won, positive press you’ve received and lists of other customers, it increases their trust and confidence in your brand – which improves conversion rates.
Remember, the newsroom section of your site can be visited by anyone, not just journalists. Studies show that prospective employees, potential clients and the media all visit newsrooms. It’s good for you to make claims about the great work you have done. It’s even better if other people rave about your great work.
In addition, don’t assume that people will go through your site looking for awards, testimonials, etc. Be sure to provide ample ways for a visitor to find these tangible forms of recommendations.
Here are two examples. First, imagine a customer quote on a product page with a link to a complete case study; from that case study, include a link to other similar case studies. Next imagine your home page has a logo of an award you’ve won, which links to a page with a listing of all your awards. The main idea is to drive home that others speak highly of you, and make it easy for a visitor to your site to repeatedly see these different forms of praise.
Tip Six: Use Long-Tail SEO
Broad keywords, also called the juicy head, are great for bringing lots of traffic to your site. Utilizing the more specific long tail words, however, brings people who know exactly what they want and are ready to convert. Of course the long tail keywords need to be integrated into your messaging and SEO so it’s easier for that person to find you.
When you combine the keywords with the SEO coding, site content, directory listings and text links, you have a much better chance for ranking success.
Putting It All Together
Consider the machine analogy as you review your site. Ask yourself, “Do all of the parts – the SEO, design, navigation, copy, calls-to-action and third party validators – work in harmony?”
If you answer yes, the SEO will bring visitors to your door. The design, copy and navigation will warm up the visitor and entice him or her to stay and explore your site. Then, the third party validation will boost the visitor’s confidence in your brand. Once all of that is in place, it’s quite easy for the calls-to-action to help bring home the sale.