by: Thomas Young
Online Conversions and Sales Revenues
Getting an online conversion is a big accomplishment. It says a lot about your website’s content, usability, branding and your strategic digital marketing efforts in general. People don’t convert unless there is real intent, and even the best websites only convert a small fraction of website visitors. However, getting the conversion is only the starting point to increasing sales revenues. More has to happen for online conversions to grow sales over the long-term. The key objective is for an online conversion to be the first step toward a sale or an ongoing customer relationship through a well-established stay-in-touch program.
Stay-in-touch programs are the methods used by your company to remain in contact with your target market, sales prospects, loyal followers of your content, and customers. These programs come in many forms and will be reviewed in more detail later in this chapter.
Let’s start with a more detailed review of the various types of online conversions and a few strategies for an effective stay-in-touch program. We will begin by gaining a better understanding of your site’s visitors.
Get Inside the Head of Website Visitors
It is a big step for website visitors to move from the anonymity of reviewing a website to actually contacting your company. Website users are moved to action when the content on a website motivates them to get more information or buy. This usually happens after several websites are visited, researched and your website content wins them over. If your website does its job, it will be easy for web leads to understand why you are better than your competitors. Website visitors have done their homework and want to be taken seriously. Because of this, a web lead is a very important lead.
The better you understand the intentions of the website visitor, the better your site will convert new customers. Don’t guess at this or wing it—get real data from your web stats and through market research with your target markets. You will find in your research that website users like options and have various preferences for making contact with your company.
Website Visitors Prefer Conversion Options
It is important to note that web users do not care if you know how they contacted your company, and they prefer a variety of contact methods. The boundary of how people convert can be very blurry at times, especially if they call your office or do not reach out to you online. This can make tracking conversions difficult. Therefore, a variety of conversion points can help drive leads and sales. This insures your site is meeting the needs of ten out of ten site visitors.
Here is a summary of several online conversion points preferred by a variety of users:
- Direct online sale
- Telephone sale or inquiry
- Call to support or customer service
- E-mail inquiry
- Contact form submission
- Blog RSS subscription
- E-mail newsletter subscription
- Social media follow or like
- Refer a friend
- App download (with no purchase)
- Podcast subscription
- Webinar or seminar registration
- PDF or other download
- Security, privacy and return policy statements
- Testimonials, case studies and reviews
- Shipping information
- Usability of the Contact Us page and checkout process
Multiple conversion points help grow your stay-in-touch program and better market your website and company by meeting user needs. Find those that work best for your website and track the results.
The Online Conversion Process
The online conversion process can be broken down into a seven point process. Each of these seven areas must be addressed in your strategic digital marketing plan and included in your website design process. These are the ingredients of a successful online conversion process to drive sales growth.
- Online Content – The content preferred by your target market is the most common entry point for your website and the conversion process. The content on your website will attract the visitor to you and motivate them to contact your company. The term “content marketing” best describes this process and is a key to your conversion process. We have devoted chapter 36 in this book to content marketing and its impact on traffic generation and sales.
Review the content marketing chapter for more details as your website content is the starting point for any online conversion.
- The Offer – This is the specific piece of content that drives interest from website visitors and moves them to a call to action or contact with your company.
- Call to Action– Your call to action is the conversion point where the user takes action. This could be an online form, e-mail address, phone number or other conversion point. A complete list of conversion points are included above.
- Web Landing Page– This is the landing page where the user reads more about the call to action and completes a form or gets a phone number. There is an art and science to landing page development to drive conversions. Keep this page simple and test various offers.
- The Submission Form– Short submission forms asking for basic information get higher conversion rates. Longer forms qualify better, but have lower completion rates. All websites must have submission forms on the Contact Us page and throughout the website.
- Contact with the Sales Team– The sales team receives the contact information, begins the follow-up process and ensures the lead is also added to the company’s stay-in-touch program and customer relationship management (CRM) system. Respond promptly to leads from your website.
- Stay-in-Touch Program– The sales team should remain in contact with all leads generated from online marketing and add those leads to the company’s stay-in-touch program.
Conversions and the Stay-in-Touch Program
The success of online conversion programs is only as good as your stay-in-touch program. Your stay-in-touch program is what you do to remain in contact with your target market after the lead or sales conversion. Develop a strategy for keeping in touch and allow for multiple channels. Here are a few ways to keep in touch with your target market after the initial connection is made with the prospective customer.
- E-mail marketing
- Social media content postings
- Blogs and RSS feeds
- Website content updates
- Direct mail
- Phone calls and CRM systems
- Calls to action and incentives
- Face-to-face meetings
The key to successful stay-in-touch programs is strong content and a solid content distribution strategy to make sure you remain in touch with web leads. These programs are very powerful and should be very cost effective with an excellent ROI.
E-mail as a Stay-in-Touch Program
E-mail marketing is one of the most effective stay-in-touch methods. It is cost effective and can drive sales with valuable content for readers. You may have to contact leads several times before they buy, and some may take a few months to become customers. Use an e-mail stay-in-touch program to follow up with web leads. This is especially important because if you market well online, your web-based leads will soon overwhelm your budget and ability to follow up properly in person. Write valuable e-mail content. Important e-mails are read and sent to others. Junk e-mail gets deleted. Your e-mail content should never be considered spam or “junk” by your target market!
All web-based leads should go into the stay-in-touch e-mail program and e-mail marketing will most likely be the most commonly used stay-in-touch program.
The Bottom Line is Effective ROI
Stay-in-touch automation is a critical part of your sales funnel and allows you to reach an unlimited amount of people. It puts the prospect in charge of the sales process as they contact you when they are ready to buy. These factors work together to drive excellent ROI.
Web marketing budgets are dropping fast as marketing automation and use of technology greatly lowers overall marketing costs. E-mail marketing and blog RSS feeds are two highly cost-effective ways to keep in touch with web-based leads and followers.
Here are a few ROI tips that work in conjunction with your content conversion strategies and your stay-in-touch programs.
- Avoid proprietary technology for your website.
- The CEO and business leaders must understand Google Analytics and use it as a key business indicator to measure ROI.