Posted on February 22, 2016 at 17:06 PM
Having lots of online marketing irons in the proverbial fire may seem like a great idea; you’re saturating the web with your awesome messaging and content, and you just know the doors of your business will be blown of their hinges with new business streaming in. So when a business doesn’t pick up, you throw your hands up and insist that online marketing tactics are just a bunch of hype. Or are they? You might want to take a look at your sales funnel for a key indicator of successful marketing platforms – conversion rate. Conversions are considered to be a completed action or goal on your website, but for the sake of this article, let’s say they are visitors who enter your sales funnel and end up as a buying customer.
There are a lot of ways to drive traffic to your site, but there are two main sources that can be largely responsible for tracking conversions– pay-per-click advertising and referral sources.
Conversion begins when a customer is introduced to your brand by one of your streams of advertising or marketing. This could be via search or display advertising, social media, email marketing or blogging, among others. Once a visitor arrives at your website, the question is, what do you want them to do? Do you want them to buy something, contact you, join an email list, write a review, or something else? Converting a visitor into a customer takes planning; more specifically, it requires you to predict their behavior before they ever make it to your site.
Let’s go through a hypothetical scenario, with the end goal being that a visitor will make a purchase on your website. Here are three ways to encourage a conversion:
Make your intention for their visit clear. If you are trying to sell a product or service, your website should center its message around that goal. Let visitors know their options if they are perusing your website, such as giving them multiple opportunities to start shopping and minimizing the number of clicks required to take them to their desired page. Assume that if a visitor has to click more than two or three times to get to a product page, for example, they will be more likely to give up and bounce off your site. If they’ve just completed a purchase, request that they share it on social media or leave a review.
Capture their information. Perhaps a visitor isn’t ready to buy just yet. The next best thing is to capture their information. A few ways to do this might be to get them to sign up for your email newsletter, offer re-targeting pay-per-click advertising (ads targeted to those who have visited your website and did not convert), or set up an automatic email to go out to those who abandon their carts prior to checkout. This accomplishes a few things; first and foremost, you can communicate to potential buyers that didn’t complete a purchase. By doing this, you keep top-of-mind awareness with your audience. Lastly, they are more likely to return to your site and convert into a customer with multiple advertising touch points having reached them.
Measure results. Even when a sale is complete, your work isn’t done. In fact, once you’ve closed the deal, the most important work of all begins – measuring the who, what, and why of that sale. Tracking things like how a customer arrived to your site, which products or services interested them most, and other key factors that helped to influence their decision to buy can determine how you should be marketing to your target demographic in the future. For example, if you have a high percentage of email subscribers make purchases after reading your emails, you know that this is a successful marketing platform for you. Likewise, if many of these subscribers opted in after an initial purchase, it might benefit you to offer a customer loyalty incentive or program because you know you have return shoppers responding to your marketing efforts.
Ultimately, if you aren’t taking time to carefully track and measure your conversions, you are throwing money into the void with the hopes of catching a sale. Your efforts should be precise, measured and intentional.