Conversion – The “It” of Online Business
Attention all CEO’s, we hear you! You like the idea of your company or brand doing more “social” marketing. You want to see growth in the use of mobile. While Social Marketing and mobile apps and services are tools to be employed by manufacturers selling direct, they are tools to be applied to a well designed, fully optimized, frictionless online profit center. Traffic, even socially generated traffic costs money/time to produce. In addition to preparing your social and mobile initiatives, make sure your profit center is well prepared to convert the new visitors to your site and you are in a position to analyze this new traffic to determine next steps.
Applying the art and science of conversion should be at the top of all marketers’ requirements.
Creating an environment where conversion to sales reaches a profitable, repeatable, predictable level requires a combination of art and science. You want to know with very high confidence that when you initiate a marketing campaign you will have filled your sales funnel as required to create the projected profit over time.
Recently we took a look at several sites that had been anointed as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things. We chose this segment because we recently re-launched a partner site (www.wetakethecake.com) that had been an Oprah Favorite and had enjoyed the tremendous effect of being featured on national television. The re-launch took place in June, 2011 and we are seeing 2x increases in conversion, expanded product selection and increased average order size. This early response let us know that even companies lucky enough to obtain Oprah’s favorite status, with tons of traffic need to focus on the art of Conversion. Conversion is the bread and butter of any online business.
After a brief review of several past Oprah winners, we saw many of the sites (we won’t divulge names) years later, not employing the basic techniques for achieving high conversion rates.
5 Conversion Adjustments Manufacturer direct sites can begin today:
- Capture their contact information. Yes, this is marketing 101, but as we reviewed several of the Oprah’s Favorite Sites we saw time and again, the email capture opportunity placed below the fold or non-existent. You can increase e-mail opt-in 3%-6% by simply providing the visitor with something of value in exchange for their email address. Offer VIP status allowing them to be first to hear about new sales or products. Take a look at your organization and determine what is of interest to your best customers and give it free to new visitors in exchange for the right to communicate with them in the future.
- High Contrast makes text readable. Analytics should drive online profit center design. Far too often a designer is tasked with creating the home and landing pages. Sometimes you get a very pretty site with light blue text on dark blue background. Sites have multiple fonts distracting visitors from the reason they have arrived. There are standard fonts used on successful sites for a reason. Use those fonts, white background, black type when at all possible.
- A Search Box is valuable if you have a catalog of products to share with visitors. When viewing your Google analytics, take a look at what search terms visitors are using to find you. Make sure when they apply those terms in your search box they can find what they are looking for. Nothing is more frustrating than finding the right company, but not the specific product you want.
- Landing page tuning is an ongoing process and critical in the conversion process. When marketing a particular product the visitor should arrive on a landing page specifically focused on that product. Review the keywords that are being used to find your top products and make sure the product pages are prepared to meet visitors. Make sure the images you use have tags that are tied to the search terms and not internal values, such as “img200078_6_2011.jpg”. Instead name your photo by the popular product name.
- Lastly, review your analytics often and constantly test adjustments so you know why our customer is visiting the site. For example, through Google Analytics, you can see how long it takes for visitors to make a decision to purchase. Follow their path through your site and continually shorten their path to purchase. Many times you will see high abandon rates on a specific page. Make adjustments there by taking advantage of tips 1-4 and track the response.
Creating a site with high conversion takes time and a constant review of your analytics. Without conversion, no level of social activity will produce the returns possible with a site that focuses on applying the art and science of conversion.
Any questions or comments? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments section below.
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