One of the most common mistakes I’ve seen is small businesses that spend money on marketing to drive people to their website, with little-to-no-thought put into how they’re going to convert that visitor into a customer once they’re there. A successful website must have a proper conversion strategy and they must be putting forth solid marketing efforts to be successful. My company’s expertise is creating websites that convert visitors to customers – so we see this every day.
You can spend all the money you want on marketing to drive users to your site, but if the site is not effective in converting those users, you have wasted your marketing dollars.
We see this happen all the time and it’s unfortunate. Small businesses often think marketing alone will solve their problems and it’s simply not true. Driving users to your site is only half the battle. It’s what happens when they land on your site that is more important.
While putting together an effective conversion strategy has it’s complexities and is custom to each business, there are a few areas you should focus on.
- Tone – Does the design and copy of your website project the proper tone? If you’re selling something fun, your site should follow that and also be fun. If you’re selling medical supplies, then your site needs to set a tone of professionalism, trust, quality and expertise. Make sure the design matches the product or service.
- Customer Groups – Do you know who your top 3-4 customer groups are? What they look like? You must understand your core groups so that you can segment them on your website and sell to them specifically, rather than selling to them all on one page. If you were talking to a prospect face to face, you would touch on different points based on that prospect’s needs. You need to do the same online.
- Conversion Path – This relates to understanding your customer groups. Knowing your conversion paths will impact online sales drastically! It is knowing what questions your visitor is asking when, so that you can answer them at the right time and guide them to the next answer and eventually to the purchase. I often say that even though a visitor is free to roam a website as he/she wishes, a well designed website will pull that visitor down the path of conversion toward the destination we want. You must understand the buyer’s thought process so that you can “pull” them toward that conversion (sale, phone call, registration, etc.)
- Analytics – A website’s analytics gives you the information you need to better understand your visitors and better understand what’s working and what’s not on your website. Where the barriers are and where you’re losing customers. I’m amazed at the business that don’t have an analytics package running on their website (especially when Google Analytics is free). You wouldn’t treat your child for an illness without first getting it diagnosed. Why do the same with your website? Get a good analytics package running on your website, listen to what it’s telling you, and make adjustments.
Obviously, there are many details in these but generally these are areas where I see the most disconnect. Make sure to keep in mind the 13 Laws of the startup!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR| MICHAEL J. SMITH
Michael Smith has an arsenal of interactive design and user experience skills, combined with an entrepreneurial spirit, and leads the charge for Raster Media, one of the most proficient interactive teams in the land. As a Silicon Valley transplant, Michael set out to build a software development firm unlike any other. Today, Michael oversees the operations and direction the of the business and remains active in the creative direction of UX and visual design at Raster Media. Follow Michael via Twitter @RasterMike Find Michael on Google