Does marketing and lead generation ever feel like a black hole of time and money?
Are you disappointed with the results you’re getting from your efforts?
Or do you feel like there’s no real way to track your ROI?
Well, the issue might not be your marketing…
If you’re directing traffic to a website that just isn’t converting, it’s like pouring water into a leaky bucket.
So how do you stop the gaps in your website that are causing your prospects to bounce before they discover how GREAT you are?
Entrepreneurs and small businesses come to me every day because their websites just aren’t working. They may look good, but they’re not getting results in terms of leads and customers.
An effective website can convert 10-30% of your unique visitors into subscribers. And an effective opt-in sequence can automatically convert 1-5% of those subscribers into buyers.
Of course, dedicated squeeze pages and launch sequences can convert at a much higher level. But we’re talking about your main branded website here – aka, the front door of your online business…
So if that old song, “There’s a hole in your bucket,” is running through your head on auto-play, don’t worry.
Here are my top 5 quick fixes to transform your website from a leaky bucket to a conversion machine:
1 – Simply Get Noticed
Most people won’t stick around to find out what you do and why they should care, if there’s nothing on your website that instantly stands out and draws them in. Or worse yet, if your website looks ugly, unprofessional or you’re simply sending the wrong signals, they may be hightailing straight for the back button.
The average website visit lasts less than a minute and 17% of all website visits last less than 4 seconds, so you have to grab someone in those first few seconds or it’s over.
The first place to hook them is the top 300 pixels of your website. This prime above-the-fold real estate determines whether someone’s going to stick around and keep reading or bounce and never come back.
The first set of factors that help you get noticed are visual – bold graphics, color, contrast, shape, video, fonts and design all attract the eye and pull in your visitor.
Only after you’ve attracted them do they start to read your logo and your tagline to discover who you are and why they should care enough to keep browsing.
I recommend making a quick audit of the top 300 pixels of your website to see how you’re coming across. Don’t leave it up to you to make the final judgment, ask your prospects or ideal clients what their first impression was. How they experience your business and why they chose to work with you vs. everyone else in the market? Do those top 300 pixel make the impression you’re hoping for?
You can easily update your banner without having to redesign your entire website. More and more businesses are starting to minimize their company branding in the top banner and get straight to the value, the opt-in, and what their visitor wants.
Check out my post on Websites That Convert: Best Home Page Design for Building Your List for more ideas on how you can maximize this space to get results.
2 – It’s All About the Opt-In
You’ve probably heard that the #1 goal of any website is to collect email addresses. The reason is simple: most people who visit your website will never come back. If you don’t capture their email address, you’ll have no way to reach out to them in the future. It’s like they never even existed.
This is the biggest hole that business owners need to fill and it starts with finding how well your current website is performing.
If you don’t have a way for people to opt-in, your conversion rate is 0%. If you have a gift, you’re going to want to find out how well it is performing, because if your numbers are low (less than 5% of your unique visitors are signing up for your list) you’re losing valuable leads.
If you have Google Analytics installed on your website, you can check your conversion rate in just 5 minutes. Simply set the date range to 3 or 6 months (giving yourself a long enough period to really get a sense of how your site is performing over time). Take note of the number of Unique Visitors to your site during this time period. Then go to Content Overview, click to view the whole report and show at least 100 rows. Go through and add up all the unique page views of your thank you or confirmation pages (or the goal pages that people get to after they opt-in). Then divide these pages by your unique visitors. If you have a little tech savvy, you can set this up as up as a Goal in Conversions so you can instantly see how you’re doing in the future.
I just did this exercise and discovered that my opt-in rate for the last 6-months is well over 30%. That’s really good.
So how do you get there?
First step is, you got it, get noticed. Is your opt-in offer within the top 500 pixels of your website? Does it stand out graphically through an evocative graphic, a flow chart, a 3D model of a report, CD or DVD cover? Do you have a clear call-to-action and a prominent button that gets their attention? Do you use arrows or visual guides to draw their eye to the actual opt-in fields? Do you use a video that let’s people know what they’ll get if they opt-in? Have you tested your headlines to make sure they convert? If your site is in WordPress, you can use a multivariate test plug-in like WP Test Monkey to test these elements until you have the combination that converts the best.
The next step is to make sure you’re giving your audience something they actually want. That’s usually something focused, specific and valuable that directly relates to your products or services. That way you’re building a list of people who are interested in what you offer.
This could be their first experience of your content, so you want to give away your best stuff. What’s the most valuable thing that you know? What’s that thing that you say or do that makes people stop in their tracks and thank you?
Paste a link to your website below and I’ll let you know how I think your opt-in could be improved.
3 – And After the Opt-In…
OK, you’ve gotten that first date. Now what?
You have a few opportunities to impress: the very first is what your new subscriber sees immediately after they press that GET INSTANT ACCESS or DOWNLOAD NOW button. Whether you send someone to a confirmation page or directly to the content you promised, this page is a key opportunity to engage people and draw them deeper into your world. I use a plug-in called FansFlood to immediately give my new subscribers a surprise gift in exchange for a Facebook like. This simultaneously adds another level of value, while skyrocketing my fanbase and giving me another opportunity to engage with new subscribers on a different platform (that means I’m going to them in more than one place rather than crossing my fingers and hoping they’ll come back to visit me on my website).
The next opportunity is the email they receive immediately after they sign-up. What’s the tone you want to strike? How can you phrase that email to make them feel like they made the right decision in giving you their personal details? Let them know they’ve joined a community (not just your business newsletter) and what they can expect to receive moving forward. Get them into the habit of clicking on your links by including a compelling, benefit-rich call-to-action that encourages them to return to your website to claim their gift and reminds them of the specific value they’ll get from this.
The third opportunity is the subsequent chain of autoresponders that your email marketing software delivers over the next week, month or beyond. Really think through the pathway you want to lead your new subscriber down. How can this pathway ultimately end in a sale? How can you give a week or two of value that builds up to the sale, so your subscriber feels like you’re offering them an opportunity rather than shoving a product down their throats? Finally, how can you optimize the subject lines of these emails so they keep opening them?
4 – Direct People Where they Want to Go
Most likely, people came to your site for a reason – whether someone forwarded them a link, whether they saw you on Facebook, or whether you showed up in Google for a search they ran.
Your first order of business is to give people what they want. Of course, you have to know what that is.
I recently updated my home page because people told me they loved my stuff, but they couldn’t tell what I offered. So I put in an OPTION 1, 2 and 3 right below my home page with calls to action that lead into my most popular products and services. That way, new visitors can quickly find out what I do and click through to read more.
I also realized that my blog posts were getting 75% of the traffic that came to my website and lots of engagement (in terms of comments, likes, tweets and more), so I decided to integrate excerpts of my 4 most recent blog posts on my home page. Now my home page shows fresh, dynamic content that directs people into my most popular free content.
Why are people visiting your website? And what can you do to give them what they want and direct them to where they want to go?
The rule of thumb on any website is to always let people know where they are and tell them what to do next. Yes that means integrating prominent teasers and calls to action throughout your website like a trail of breadcrumbs that draws them deeper into your world.
5 – Finally, Give People a Reason to Come Back
Ask yourself this question, Why would anyone want to visit your website a second time?
It’s not to read your product and service descriptions over and over again.
It’s because they know they can come to you for fresh, relevant and dynamic content around a particular topic that’s meaningful or important to them.
It’s also because of the experience you provide them through the way you do what you do – your tone, how you tell stories, the value you give them over time. And the questions you spark in their minds – do you challenge them or hold them to a bigger vision of themselves? Do you inspire and empower them to do or be more? Do you allow them to contribute to a larger movement or dialogue? Does your content invite conversation? Do you respond to people who post on your site or Facebook wall? Do people feel like you care about them and whether they “get it?” Do you offer multiple touch points or opportunities for engagement beyond your website? Do you go to them and offer value where they’re already hanging out whether that’s industry forums or Facebook groups or live events?
The only way to build a loyal community who trusts you, engages with you, loves your business and spreads the word is to give value over and over again.
When people develop a specific impression, experience or story they tell themselves about you, you can say that you have a brand. Branding is the process of shaping the associations your prospects and clients has about you. It is something that happens every day through every touch point and every interaction… not a one time process of developing a logo. And it can often become the most valuable asset in your business, bringing you the most ROI through word of mouth, repeat sales and referrals.
Don’t worry if you don’t feel like you have a brand right now. In my world we have something called the “law of recency”. That means that your customers most remember their last impression of you. So the way to move forward is to simply change your next impression. That means changing the way you write that next blog post or answer that next phone call or you name it…
Leave a comment below and let me know how you’re going to stop the holes in your website and turn that next visitor into one of your most loyal customers…