There's something more important than search engine optimization. More important than incoming links. More important than the love of a good woman.
OK, that last one isn't true. (Feel free to substitute “man,” if you prefer.)
Too many of us get wrapped up in how we rank at the search engines or how much traffic is coming to our site. These numbers are important, but not as important as converting that traffic into business.
Imagine you have a pail with a big hole in the bottom of it. Will pouring more water in fill your bucket? Of course not. You need to fix that hole.
If you're going to spend any time, money or energy driving people to your website you need to make sure that your site can convert visitors into customers. Browsers into buyers. Traffic into sales.
That's the website equivalent of fixing the hole in your bucket.
Selling Services Online
Depending on your business, you may not be able to “sell” directly at your website. Nobody's going to “buy” a website from our site, and they probably won't buy counseling from yours. But they may sign up for a newsletter, download an article or fill out a contact form. All of these are small, successful steps that lead to the big sale.
Even if money's not changing hands at your site, you can still make the sale.
Get Incoming Calls
One sale that you might want to make at your site is getting people to pick up the phone and call you.
As obvious as this seems, many websites fail miserably at it. If you want to get the phone ringing, your toll-free number should be at the top of every page. You should also include a picture or icon of a phone next to it. (I read that this will increase the number of incoming calls. I Googled this little factoid, but I couldn't find it. Sorry.)
We work with a high-end furniture maker that is more successful once they get their prospects on the phone. To generate more incoming phone calls they offer their catalog for free by calling their 800 number. Never mind that all the information in the catalog is available at the website, it still gets people to pick up the phone.
Get People to Fill Out Your Contact Form
If you want to get people to fill out your contact form make sure it's part of your primary navigation and use lots of calls-to-action that link to your contact form.
Contact forms are great because they prompt visitors to provide more information than they might have included in an email, such as telephone number, company and their full name.
Here are some examples of calls-to-action that you might use at the bottom of your pages that would link to your contact form:
- Contact us now for a free consultation.
- Learn how to save 10% off your insurance rates.
- How do I start?
Get Email Newsletter Subscribers
My personal favorite. Many of your site visitors are in the information gathering stage. They'll visit your site and a dozen others. They may not be ready to make a buying decision for months, and by that time you'll be long forgotten.
However, if you can offer them a compelling reason to subscribe to your email newsletter, you can get yourself in front of them on a monthly or even weekly basis, establishing your expertise and credibility along the way.
A “compelling reason” to subscribe may be a free article available only to subscribers, discounts at your online store, or entry in a raffle or giveaway.
Our own subscriber base went from 1 – 2 new subscribers a month to 3 – 4 per day once we started offering free articles only available to subscribers. The great thing about a free article that's targeted to your audience is that your subscribers will probably be interested in your newsletter as well.
Offer a Free Evaluation
If you're a service provider, you may be able to get visitors to share contact information by offering a free evaluation of their current situation.
Real estate agents offer a free market evaluation, but to get the evaluation home-owners must part with a lot of valuable information about their home. Business consultants may offer a short quiz for visitors on how their current marketing/sales/retention policy is working for them, and offer free advice to those who complete the form.
What service do you offer that can be converted into an evaluation form?
The day of the five-page brochure website is over. Site visitors expect more from a website in 2006, and if you're not providing it your competitors will.
Determine how to best engage your prospects and add elements or functionality to your website that help you achieve those goals.
Do you want to fix the leaks in your own website? Then contact flyte today.
President, flyte new media