As the person who frequently meets with marketing directors, I see firsthand the long “to do” list they're tasked with. It may include marketing strategy, SEO, trade show materials, or billboard creative, but their biggest challenge usually circles back to needing more qualified, engaged website visitors to buy their products and services. Often, the best way to achieve this is to focus on your website and make sure it's optimized for conversions.
As clichéd as this saying is starting to become, your website “can’t just be a pretty face.” Ultimately, it has a job to do: first, to attract strangers who don’t know who you are, but need your services, and second, to engage and identify with those potential customers and sell them on what you have to offer.
Listen, I get it--ROI is the bottom line. There are many Internet marketing companies out there preaching that pretty isn’t worth anything if it can’t convert sales, but ideally you want to find that perfect balance between creativity and functionality.
There are definitely individuals and companies making that happen, including the VIEO Design team. So let’s put design aside for the moment and talk about some of the tactics we’ve found successful for increasing website conversion rates.
1. Attracting the right people...
...with blog posts your buyer persona actually wants to read.
Blogging is the best way to create fresh, relevant content that can increase your search engine ranking. It's also a great way to establish yourself as an expert and educator in your industry.
With all the expertise and knowledge you have relating to your business, you can be strategic about what you write. Choose blog topics based on what your ideal buyer will need, want, and be attracted to.
Understanding your company's buyer persona goes beyond one-dimensional classifications like age, gender, and household income. Instead, it is defined by the concerns and criteria that sway prospective customers as they make purchase decisions.
If you write about the things that matter most to your buyer personas, you'll attract the right visitors to your site and have the opportunity to develop relationships.
2. Allowing more opportunities for conversion...
...with multiple kinds of offers targeting different stages.
What would you do if you went on a first date and the person asked for your hand in marriage? You’d probably take off running. The same concept holds true for new website visitors. They may have come to your site, but that doesn't mean they're ready to buy from you—or even talk to you—just yet.
Your website visitors enter your site at different stages of the sales funnel, particularly awareness, consideration, decision, and action. You want to provide information and special offers that speak to people at all different stages of the buyer's journey, so you can nurture them and build a relationship. Here's an example of how this could work:
Let’s pretend you own a company called Cooking Supplies, Inc. Your website visitor is Betty, a working mom who has been tasked with making a Thanksgiving turkey for the first time.
- The first thing Betty decides to do is look up different turkey recipes. As she's searching online, she comes across a downloadable ebook on your website called “Making the Best Turkey Ever: A Thanksgiving Dinner Guide.” It gives Betty recipes and ideas for how to cook a turkey for her Thanksgiving dinner, as well as the things she hadn't even started thinking about yet (like dessert!). It’s not focused on selling her something; it’s focused on helping her solve her problem.
- At the end of the guide, she reads that Cooking Supplies, Inc. will be hosting a live webinar called “Ask a Chef: Everything You Want to Know about Cooking a Turkey.” Betty decides she’d like to attend, because she's a visual learner and it's her first time cooking a turkey. She puts in her name and email and receives confirmation for the live webinar.
- As she attends the webinar, Betty learns all the expert tips and tricks, some of which require kitchen tools like basters, injectors, rubs, and pans to cook the turkey in. In this stage, Cooking Supplies, Inc. is showing Betty how the solutions they offer can help her solve her problem and result in the best turkey.
- At the end of the webinar, Cooking Supplies, Inc. offers Betty a special code for 20% off the Thanksgiving cooking supplies she'll need. At this stage of the funnel, you're solving Betty’s problem and giving her an incentive to buy. She’s already decided that she’s going to make an awesome turkey, and she's ready to buy the supplies she needs to make it happen.
3. Nurturing the relationship with your new leads...
...using marketing automation.
I just walked you through an example of how different offers for different stages of sales funnel can improve website conversion rates. Creating premium content offers is one thing, but setting up automated email workflows to nurture leads into customers is what ultimately keeps time and efficiency on your side as a marketer.
Our advice to all of our clients is to use marketing automation to segment or “bucketize” their leads based on information they've provided and content they've viewed or downloaded. We do the same thing for our own business. I borrowed the word “bucketize” from a friend at HubSpot and it makes a ton of sense to me, because the overall goal is to continuously move and nurture prospects into buckets that ultimately get them to the bottom of the sales funnel.
This whole process allows your company to demonstrate expertise in your industry as well as give visitors helpful information along the way. You already have their interest, so the likelihood of them continuing to be engaged is high with marketing automation.