(Note: This podcast was originally published 1n 2006 under another domain name – bastioninternet.com/blog. In 2010, the blog was later migrated to this site. Some links may be outdated or there may be issues with RSS feeds)
Website promotion is great – turning visitors into customers – even better. An overview of web conversion strategies and tactics.
Suggested Tags: conversion web ecommerce internet online web marketing promotion seo search engine optimization advertising website design webdesign
Ten tips to improve website conversions.
1) Define your target
2) Define your objective
3) Define the offer and call to action
4) Define a conversion
5) Match ads to offers to landing pages
6) Vary your approach
7) Test, test, test
8) Audit your conversion process
9) Have a good overall design
10) Build a tracking methodology
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Read the full transcript here … â¦
Hi and welcome to Drive It – Convert It!, for June 9th, 2006. This is episode #7: Converting Web Traffic â Part 1 â Ten Tips to Higher Website Conversions.
Drive It – Convert It! is the podcast where Small and Medium Sized businesses learn the marketing strategies and tactics behind Driving More Traffic to their website and Converting
that Traffic into qualified and leads and sales.
Drive it, convert it.
Iâm John Boulter. Iâm the president of Bastion Internet and podcasts, show notes, and transcripts can be found at BastionInternet.com/podcast. Thatâs B A S T I O N
To paraphrase an old anecdote â âThe good news is – we won. The bad news is – we won.â
Thatâs often how I feel when I talk to clients whose main goal was to get more web traffic to their site. In a minute Iâm going to explain what I mean by that.
Before I do, I know weâve got lots of new listeners out there â welcome. However, looking at the podcast stats, the new listeners typically go back and download all the past shows â
so they probably donât feel like new listeners. So for everyoneâs sake, Iâll just say, if you have questions, comments, or suggestions â email the show at email@example.com.
Last episode we finished up a 4 part series on Search Engine Optimization. I was left feeling good about the âdrive itâ part of Drive It â Convert It!, but neglectful of the âconvert
itâ side of the coin. Weâre about to change that.
There often seems to be a cycle to website development and strategy. Now it differs somewhat if you only do business over the Internet versus using the Internet to expand your
physical business. I see this cycle for companies that conduct business through traditional methods and use the Internet to support and expand their reach.
First, a company develops their website. It will often simply reflect that companyâs physical strategy and way of doing business. So – in case a sales prospect forgets what the
salesman said after they leave an appointment, they can go to the website and read about it. Or in case the salesman forgets what to say â he can go study it at his own website.
The next phase is for companies to try to leverage the site. Up until now theyâve likely used the site in that sales support role. The website supports the activities of a field sales
force, other advertising, other marketing, and such. Now the strategy becomes one of website promotion. Companies realize what a valuable asset a website can be and they see the huge potential of
selling to brand new prospects through it. They just need to get them to the site.
So they embark on any number of traffic driving and website promotion strategies. They advertise via the search engines, the do search engine optimization to increase their rankings.
The do email campaigns. Maybe they even start a podcast â who knows. Now the traffic comes. User visits rise, but sales donât.
So the good news is â they won the battle to get traffic. The bad news â they now have traffic, but itâs not converting into leads and sales.
So âwhat now.
Well, here are 10 things that I take a look at when trying to improve conversions for clients. This is going to be an overview. In future weeks, Iâll pick some of these items and
expand on them. In fact, the first two have already been the subject of past podcasts â in episodes 1 and 2.
Here they are:
– Define your target
– Define your objective
– Define the offer and call to action
– Define a conversion
– Match ads to offers to landing pages
– Vary your approach
– Test, test, test
– Audit your conversion process
– Have a good overall design
– Build a tracking methodology
So, letâs dive in.
1) Define your target
I discussed this at length in episode number 2, a few months back. You need to know who you are targeting if you are going to convert them. What do they look like. What do they smell
like. What do they talk like, read like. Then you need to make sure your site â or the particular part of your website youâre driving them to, is appropriate to them. New prospects are much
different then visitors to your site that have already had some contact with your company.
Write your target market profile down and refer to it constantly as you develop and refine your site. Always ask yourself the question â does this appeal to that audience.
2) Define your objective
I discussed this at length in the first episode of Drive It â Convert It!. Your site should have a definite objective. It may be to educate, to motivate, to sell, to support â¦ You can
have more than one objective, motivate new prospects to call you, motivate old customers to place new orders … However, you should have a primary objective and focus for your site. Once again,
write it down and refer to it constantly through the process.
3) Define the offer and a call to action
Make sure that you have a clear and definite offer. Latch onto one or maybe two of your most attractive introductory products or services and focus on them. What is compelling about
them. What benefit will the visitor have in taking you up on the offer.
Now the offer may be to sign up for a newsletter, or get a free report or white paper concerning that offer. You donât necessarily have to make your whole yearâs revenue target off of
this first interaction. The idea is to get the client comfortable in dealing with you.
Hand in hand to this is the call to action. Users should easily see how to take advantage of your offer. They should be one or two clicks away from having completed their first
transaction with you. It may just be to sign up for more information or to send an email. Or it may be to get a free sample or quote. Or it may be to pull the trigger on a significant transaction
complete with their credit card number.
4) Define your conversion
What determines a conversion for you? Is it a phone call, an email, a credit card swipeâ¦ Make sure you are clear on what constitutes a conversion for you. That is the way you evaluate
your conversion success. Your website isnât your company. Typically before the client buys, theyâre going to have interaction with something, or someone, other than your website. They may email
someone, call someone, go into your physical locationâ¦ If you donât get the sale because of a rude receptionist or less than informed salesperson, you donât want to change your website because of
it. Your site may be very successful at converting the user into a phone-calling prospect. Youâve got to know that so if your revenue targets arenât hitting, youâre able to focus on the right
5. Match ads to offers to landing pages
If you have misleading ads, you might get a lot of traffic, but you wonât get many conversions. Now misleading ads might very well be accidental or just simply too general. They may
not be misleading to you, just to the people who stumble across them.
This comes about due to different meanings of words, too broad of a key phrase match, or sloppiness when writing the ad.
So itâs important to have content in your ads that helps define the offer. Then, the page linked to from the ad â the landing page – needs to reinforce that offer.
Iâm definitely going to devote an entire future podcast to this item. Itâs huge.
6. Vary your approach
When you are driving traffic to your site through online advertising, create a number of combinations of ads, landing pages, offers, etc. Youâll find that some work better than others
and that each may be effective for a different type of visitor.
You can use visual links – like images – to keep highly visually people on that kind of a track and more detailed links like text, to keep analytical people who enjoy more information
than less, on that kind of track.
It makes for more work on your website.Â But whatâs a new client worth to you over the life of that client.
7. Test, test, test
As a follow on to item 6, you need to test. Your gut feelings are often wrong. Sad but true. You are not your potential customer. You canât help but know more than the website visitor
about your subject. Youâll overlook industry buzzwords that you use, product conceptsâ¦ Youâll just naturally assume web visitors know more than they do. And, you will naturally think you know how
your client thinks. Thereâs a cause and effect trap here. You see, your current customers were attracted to you for a reason. You are already doing the things that attract those type of people
and companies. The people and companies that visit you for the first time via your website arenât necessarily like your current client base.Â Thus, what worked in the past or with other
audiences, probably wonât work with this audience, in the present.Â A lot will, but a lot wonât.
I recommend you come up with at least a couple of approaches, thatâs combinations of ads, offers, landing pages, and regular site pages – and test them out.
This is harder to do if you are driving traffic through the natural part of the search engines because you donât control what page your visitor will be landing on.
Weâll definitely get more into this in future episodes, too.
8. Audit your conversion process
You need to have your grandmother go through the entire conversion process. Ideally, youâll have your other grandmother do the same thing using a different computer, different
browser, bandwidth speed, etcetera, etcetera. Firewalls, anti-spyware setting, SSL certificate peculiarities, browser settings â theyâll all cause your site to act differently. The more anomalies
you can eliminate the higher your conversion rates will be.
I often picture 100 people landing on my site. Every time the site acts in a peculiar way to them, some will leave. Now some things I canât help. If I want some Flash to make the
content more compelling and the user doesnât have the flash plug-in, Iâll lose them. The objective is to make my losses my choice. I made a decision to use a technique to motivate some users
knowing that it will hurt my chances with others. If I have an SSL certificate that only works for the www version of my site, and yet my site can still be accessed without the www, then that is
just careless of me. I should not lose users because of a certificate mismatch.
9) Have a good overall design
Hey, if your design is ugly. You wonât convert as well. Bad haircut â fewer dates. Itâs a fact.
Even if you spend some cash or resources on a beautiful landing page, if the rest of the site is bad â you are wasting a lot of opportunity.
I think the amount of money companies are willing to invest in the look and functionality of their site should be on the rise. So much time, effort and money is and will be spent on
driving traffic to your site, that to save a few thousand dollars on the design elements just doesnât make sense.Â You will continue to see a higher and higher quality of site.Â Youâll need to be
prepared to match that.Â Better yet â lead the way.
10. Build a tracking methodology
Decisions are only as good as the quality of the data supporting them. You need good data on conversions. There are lots of ways to skin this cat and you can phase it in, too.
At a minimum, make sure youâre asking your clients how they found out about you. Ideally, you should put in some tracking code to know where your conversions originated from.
Ultimately its going to be vital to know what your conversion rate is and what the profitability of a conversion translates into in order to establish an overall return on investment
If youâre just starting out, the fact that your ROI â return on investment – is positive will be pretty clear. You may just not know how much. However, as you spend more and in
different ways, youâll need to be able to break that down into some detail. Does Yahoo deliver better than Google. Does natural searching deliver better than paid. Does email deliver at all. You
get the idea.
I love this stuff. Thereâs so much information available to you.Â That information is also available to your target prospects and your competitors.Â You have to step it up in the
business world. Thereâs more to know but so much more opportunity to go with it.
If you love to learn, stick with me. If you donât â just hire us. Either way, I hope youâre enjoying listening.
If you have some specific situations youâd like me to comment on, either during the show or offline, let me know â drop me an email.
I want you to be comfortable dealing with Bastion Internet.
Subscribe to Drive It â Convert It!, and automatically download episode number 8 when it comes out. You can follow the subscription links on our site. Or, if you use iTunes, do a
search for drive it convert it and pick us up there.
Iâm John Boulter, for Bastion Internetâs Drive It â Convert It! podcast.
Visit us at bastioninternet.com or Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.