In the olden days, about twenty-plus one or two years ago, to be exact, marketing involved several factors in converting the mildly interested into the valued customer. Naturally, it included advertising of some sort, even if it was in the printed Yellow Pages (humongous telephone book for business listings). Before internet searches, and as businesses continued to enter the digital footprint on the web, the yellow pages was the go-to place for being found. Naturally, direct mail, and other print mediums were the way to complete marketing. The internet, however, needs the same approach to convert viewers into customers.
The biggest mistake businesses make about the internet, is that once on, you’ll be found. It’s hard to believe, in the flood of articles on the importance of SEO, and other web marketing musts, that anyone would still believe that. There are, of course, the believers, who are always represented in every poll you have ever taken, or viewed. They are those on the bottom of every poll. They can’t, or won’t, try to understand the web, or, even more, the users of the internet.
Gaining Traffic to Your Site
Do you practice the following points in gaining traffic to your site?
- The right tags and keywords used for your site.
- Frequent, fresh content.
- Using proper linking.
- Drive traffic using Twitter and other social media channels.
If you missed one of these, there’s a big hole in your understanding the internet. But, our focus is on customer conversion, so, let’s say that you follow the basic rules (yes, there are more, but we’re dealing in basics right now). Basic analytics will give you an idea of the age group and gender that’s visiting your site, and at what time of the day. Does the demographic match your preferred customer? If not:
- You need to change your content, how you tweet, and the hashtags you use.
- You will have to rethink the verbiage on your site, along with design, and functionality based on your demographics
- Take a look at the keywords you use and match them to your demographic.
- Frequent, and fresh content with the right outreach will get you on the way to a larger customer base via a higher search ranking (be sure to keep it “White Hat”).
Now Comes the Conversion
So, people have found your site, and it’s assumed that the same people come back for the content you provide.It’s time to get to know them on a first name basis and offer them something special.
Most sites have a Twitter follow button, and the same thing for Facebook, Google+. Some even have an RSS feed, but the best have a large, clear call to action for frequent visitors, is one to sign up for a newsletter. As with direct mail, as used in the ancient times, you bring your brand, and product directly to someone who has shown enough interest to opt-in for email messages. The content you use will keep them subscribed, and they will no doubt share those messages with others if the content is valuable.
Confused? Why? It’s just selling. Sales hasn’t changed over the centuries. The only thing that has changed is how it’s delivered until a salesperson can close the deal. The printed brochure has been replaced by a web site with product images, reviews, helpful information, and, as with many sites, live chat for further interaction and customer conversion.
The use of email marketing has replaced direct mail, and the ability to create a newsletter/advertisement for this marketing is easier, and cheaper than ever.
As mentioned before, people who opt-in are interested in what you have to say, and/or offer. The biggest misconception is that email marketing isn’t needed and that visitors will just keep coming back and buy when needed. Disappearing from routine check-ins for more than a week can give the visitor time to forget your site, or find a better one. This is why you need to make the visitor a member of the site, company, and feel like a valued customer.
There are several ways to engage regular visitors via social media:
Spend a LOT of time personalizing replies to retweets, mentions, and favoring of your posts. It’s a personal touch followers love!
Engage posters in conversations. You have to watch what you say as not to offend anyone, and it’s very time consuming, but it shows you care to those with whom you interact, and those who just observe.
Through either software or a service, it’s easy to maintain opt-in lists (including LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook address books added in (with a good opt-out selection) for your weekly or monthly eNewsletter. Once you’ve decided on the content you want to offer (usually news, tips and discounts are the three basics for most eNewsletters), it is only a matter of using the template most marketing services offer, and pasting in your copy. A quick selection of recipients and you’re good to go with one click.
Too much is a problem unless you’re a mega internet retailer with daily specials. Depending on your sales needs, frequency is important. No more than once a week, and no less than monthly.
There IS More…
Even with eNewsletters, there is still a conversion process that needs to happen.
- Use Incentives to Increase Open Rates:
- When you include an incentive in your subject line, you can increase open rates by as much as 50%. “Free shipping on your next order,” and “Receive a free… ” are examples of good, incentive-focused subject lines.
- Hire a Designer:
- Keep it looking professional, and, no, you know nothing about design. Use a professional!
Content Above All:
What you put into your eNewsletter is what will determine if people will open the next one. Ask yourself if you are being conversational, human, and helpful. Your content is your first level salesperson.
Keep the Important Stuff Above the Fold:
If your main call-to-action falls below the fold, then as many as 70% of recipients just won’t see it because you have to earn the right for visitors to scroll your site, instead of clicking back to Google search and visiting the next return on their search. Any call-to-action should be repeated at least 3 times throughout the email. Just remember that too pushy with those call-to-actions, will “pushy” people away!
Keep Your Email Images One Size:
Try to keep all images at the same width, and no more than 500-600 Pixels Wide. If you go wider than 650 pixels, then you’re asking users to scroll horizontally to read your entire message. Readers don’t care for that.
Logo is Good:
Yes, keep your logo on every page for maximum visibility and recognition of your brand, but making the logo too big will cut down on valuable “above-the-fold” space. Too small and no one will see it.
Use Auto-Responders for Opt-Ins/Opt-outs:
Basically, it’s the law with email marketing. You certainly want to welcome a new subscriber, but you also have to be a good sport about those who want to unsubscribe.
Conduct a Quick Test:
Send a copy of the email to a friend. How long did it take to be delivered? Can they quickly tell what your call-to-action is about? Is the writing clear and understandable? Are there any typos? Do they like it? The answers, and possible corrections, will start you off with confidence, and purpose.
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