Online marketing is a multi-faceted process. Not only do you need a professional website, but you need a way for people to find your website. And then once you have visitors to your site, what do you do with them? Unless your website visitors are contacting you or becoming customers/readers/etc., what is the point of your website?
Luckily, there are a lot of ways to take advantage of your site visitors, no matter how many of them there are. The process of turning website visitors into customers or subscribers is called conversion. Here’s a simplified breakdown of what we do at SmallFuel when customers come to us to get more out of their web presence:
First Step: What Do You Want
Without a goal in mind for your site, you’ll have a hard time getting anything accomplished. Do you want to bring in more customers? Do you want to receive more requests for quotes? If you’re a blog, do you want more subscribers/followers?
Make sure that your goal is accomplishable on your website, which means you need to be able to update your site to complete your goal, or adjust your goal to match your site’s current capabilities. If your goal is to get more customers, but you don’t have a product that’s able to sell through ecommerce, then you should consider adjusting your goal to getting more leads or requests for information.
Second Step: How To Convert More
Once you have a goal in mind for your site, there are certain actions you can do to make that goal more realistic. If you’re already considering a site redesign, make sure certain goal achieving elements are included in the design.
When visitors reach your site, they’re not going to automatically ask for more information or buy your product. Most likely, they’ll go through a series of pages before they decide whether or not to contact you. As a website owner, you want to direct them through these steps as quickly and easily as possible.
Write out what you think the ideal page flow would be for a potential customer. It might look something like this:
- Home Page → Services Page → Service Landing Page → Contact/Request a Quote
- Blog → Individual Blog Entry → Subscribe to Blog
- Individual Blog Entry → Most Popular Blog Entries → Subscribe to Blog
You may want to create a few of these page flows, depending on where you think visitors start on your site. Most likely, they’ll start at the home page. If you have a blog, start a page flow from both your blog index and your individual entries as well. Note that the pages included in your page flow are the ideal path that visitors will take, but you’ll need to make it easy for them to leave this path and find other information your site as well. Your main site navigation should accomplish this. A lot of visitors will want to see examples of what you do and your About Us page, and you need to make it easy for those visitors to easily navigate your site so they don’t get frustrated and leave.
Page Content and Design
You can direct traffic in two ways: design and copywriting. There are a lot of techniques with your site design that can guide visitors to the next page in the page flow. For example, if your site has a strong color theme, then you probably have a specific color designated for actionable items such as links, buttons, and certain navigational elements. You can also use page layout and images to direct visitors to a specific button or link that directs them to the next page in the page flow. Designing a page to accomplish a specific action can be a bit tricky, so it might be best to direct your designer to create something for you.
The second way you can direct visitors is through the content on the page. You want to give customers enough information to keep them interested and be informed, but you always want to provide some incentive for them to continue to the next page on your page flow. For example, if you’re on the Services Landing Page, you’ll want to tell your visitors that they’ll be able to get even more information and details on how your product can help them by giving you a call or an email. Don’t forget about keeping with your company’s brand or style throughout the content.
Third Step: Keep Visitors Close
Even with a great design, excellent content, and a clear page flow, some site visitors just won’t be ready to ask for a quote or contact you. However, this doesn’t mean that those visitors are lost. You can catch visitors with a few different subscription methods.
Newsletters are a great way to keep interested site visitors close to your company. Create a company newsletter using one of the numerous newsletter providers out there (aWeber, ConstantContact, and MailChimp are a few of the most popular ones). Have your website designer or developer include a newsletter signup box on almost every page of your site. We have one prominently displayed on our front page and then include the same box in our sidebar. Setup your newsletter to send out an automated response when they signup. The automated response should thank them for subscribing and give them an idea of what to expect in future newsletters. Most importantly, send out an email to your newsletter list at least every month so they remember you and keep interested. This way, when they’re ready for your services, they’ll remember you and be much more likely to visit your site again and contact you.
By creating a company newsletter, you ensure that people who are interested in your company have a way of being updated on any news and information you want to provide. For small businesses (and larger ones too), an email newsletter will really allow you to keep your valuable website visitors close.
RSS feeds are another way for users to receive updates from your site. If you have a blog, or a news section, chances are you can create a RSS feed. Users can then subscribe to your feed using a whole bunch of different methods. RSS feeds are a bit trickier to get setup and running than an email newsletter, but the extra work is worth it to continue growing your site’s subscribers.
If you’re not already using social media, now may be the time to do so. Using twitter or Facebook allows you to connect with your website visitors in a more meaningful and continuous way. There are so many Facebook and twitter users out there now, that you can’t afford to lose out on the large number of website visitors who do use social media to keep up to date on their favorite websites and companies. Plus, it’s easy to get started with twitter, Facebook, or any other social media platform, so dive right in. Don’t forget to display your social media profiles/links on every page of your website (usually the header, footer, or sidebar).
The Total Conversion Picture
Getting more out of your website, or conversion, is a constantly evolving process. You’ll want to check your site statistics regularly to see if there are any tweaks you could make to a specific page or your page flow in general. If you create some goals for your website, make some realistic page flows to accomplish these goals, and then catch some more visitors with some of the subscription methods, you’ll be well on your way to turning your website into one of your most valuable marketing tools. And if you get stuck, SmallFuel’s here to help. Contact us if you’d like us to help with your website.
Have you seen a difference in how your site performs by using these methods? Share in the comments!