In school we prepared notes to study for exams. Referring to those notes during the exam was considered cheating. In real life, it’s considered smart business. So this week, I’ll share my cheat sheet. It’s a brief summary of concepts I’ve been covering since 2001.
Always Consider the Source
Visitors arrive via different search engines, keywords, or ads. Understanding this helps convert them. What message prompts prospects to visit your site? Do they arrive and immediately find what they came for? Why does the message get them to click? How do you echo the message’s relevance on your site? Does the message qualify buyers or disappoint searchers? Visitors from one search engine act differently than visitors from another do, even if both see the same results.
Know Your Audience
Each person must be sold differently. Invest time up front planning hyperlinks and the words around them. Each page a prospect visits must help satisfying her needs, answer her questions, and move her one step further in the buying process.
Dale Carnegie wrote, “Talk in terms of the other man’s interests.” That’s what it takes to sell. A Web site must do the same. Understand why prospects come to your site, what they’re really looking for, and why your product or service helps them fulfill that need.
Empathy with your customers’ needs and problems helps you find solutions for them. Understand what they fear. Address those fears to break down purchase barriers. Visitors know immediately when copy is written for them.
Buy From Your Site
How easy is it to buy from you? Pick a task on your site and try to follow it to its end.
Do the same on competitors’ sites. What do they do that you don’t? If you’re really dedicated, do the same task as a different persona.
Is the site set up to make finding what prospects seek easy? Have you reinforced the point of action with assurances? Have you separated paragraphs with headers and boldfaced type that helps prospects see what paragraphs are about before actually reading them?
Consider Persuasive Momentum
OneStat.com reports 54.60 percent of Web site visitors look through only one or two pages on a site before leaving; 16.56 percent view two to three pages; and 9.52 percent view only one page. That’s over 80 percent! Most site visitors don’t find what they’re looking for. Think what that says about best practices in navigation.
The more deeply visitors delve into your site, the closer you should be to a sale. Beware of prospects visiting too many pages because they can’t find what they seek. If you’ve accomplished the points above, why are prospects bailing after the first three pages?
Make the Next Action Obvious
Visitors must first orient themselves. Don’t make buying difficult. Do make the next step obvious.
Make hyperlinks long enough for visitors to intuit the next step. Ensure calls to action are obvious and in the right place.
Provide a Reason to Click
When do prospects delve deep into your site? When they see value in your offer. Provide it by anticipating their questions and answering them on the spot. This can be done in the immediate copy or through a hyperlink to the answer.
Provide a sense of value whenever possible. Each time you answer an anticipated question, you’re closer to delighting visitors. The more you do this, the more confident prospects feel buying from you.
Conversion Reflects Action
Conversion reflects how well you get visitors to take the action you desire. There are two sides to this. The macro side is your overall objective. Every site should have at least one final objective. For one it may be to buy; for another it may be to subscribe.
The micro side occurs when you examine and evaluate each and every possible step prospects can take. Does each do all it’s supposed to? What actions must prospects take to lead to a buying decision? Who must be persuaded to take action? How do we persuade them to take action?
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