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Archive for June, 2008

When fishing for customers, use educational information as your lure

No fisherman lowers an empty hook into the water; if he does, the fish take no interest in the hook and he catches nothing. But the fisherman puts a lure on the line and it attracts fish to the hook. Likewise you, to attract customers to your website, can’t rely on product pricing and offer alone. You must first attract customers to your website using unbiased, informative information as your lure.

The #1 Internet Shopping Activity is Research

74% of men and women research on the internet before buying a product or service (BIGResearch, 2007). By offering useful, un-biased information on your website, you can help these 3 out of 4 of men and women accomplish their objective using your website.

Think about what type of research your potential customers might be doing. Remember, customers are interested in more than just researching product prices. Some customers aren’t even sure what to buy. They need to know what to buy, before they can even start looking at prices. Can you help the customer decide what to buy? (See Item #4 in this list)

Educational Information is Your Lure

Consider this example. A certain tourist wants to buy a digital camera for his vacation. However, seeing so many options he is not sure what to buy. So he goes to Google and does a search for ‘good vacation cameras’. He finds a website that tells him which cameras are good for vacations because of a long battery life and support for different countries’ power outlets. Happy with their prices, he buys a camera from this website.

Provide information to increase site traffic

Do you see the point? The website that told the tourist which digital camera is better for a vacation lured the customer in, and then hooked him with a good price. All the camera websites that merely list their digital cameras, with no information about using these cameras on vacation, were not even considered. If you want to increase site traffic, you need to provide information, such as articles, to answer the variety of research questions they might have. (See #10 in this list)

Conclusion: Educational Information is Your Lure, Price and Offer is Your Hook

To attract customers provide educational information that goes beyond merely listing the products you sell. Unbiased, informative articles and advice will attract website traffic. However, to get the sale you must have a compelling price and offer. Having a great price and offer but no educational information is like having a hook with no lure. Having educational information without a great price and offer is like having a lure with no hook. To increase site traffic you must give the customer information beyond just a product list with prices.


    References

  1. BigResearch.com. 2005. “More Consumers Researching Online Before Buying in the Store”

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Ayo - June 29, 2008 at 2:52 pm

Categories: Tips to increase site traffic   Tags: , , , ,

Benchmark your Conversion Rate Using Fireclick.com’s Industry Data

Example conversion rate data from Fireclick.com.

Summary: The Fireclick Index is a great resource for site conversion rate data. I was very happy to find it! Use it to benchmark your site’s conversion rate.

In a previous post I discussed the importance of benchmarking your site’s conversion rate against your industry’s average. In the post I mentioned that finding good benchmark data is difficult. Today I stumbled upon Fireclick, a great website for industry average website conversion rate data.

I suggest you take some time to review Fireclick’s data, because a good understanding of your competitive environment is necessary to set realistic goals for your website.

Examples of What Fireclick’s Data Reveals

Fireclick reveals that the average website conversion rate is 2.2%. However, conversion rates vary greatly by industry.

For example, catalog companies have a site conversion rate of 6.8%. Which lends further evidence that direct mail can do a lot to improve your conversion rate. (Of course you must balance this against the added cost sending out direct mail.)

The worst industry, by conversion rate, is electronics with an average of 0.8%.

Conclusion: Benchmark Your Site Against this Data

So far, this is the best resource I have found for freely available, real-time, accurate conversion rate data. I hope you are able to use this to successfully benchmark your website!

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Ayo - June 12, 2008 at 9:55 am

Categories: Useful Tools   Tags: , , ,

Guest Interview: Use Links to Increase Your Search Engine Traffic

Inbound link expert Debra Mastaler and her company Alliance-Link

Debra Mastaler helps companies increase their search engine traffic by showing them how to build their inbound links. She’s so good at what she does that she’s been referred to as the “Queen of Links”. The name of her company is Alliance-Link. Today Debra was kind enough to answer a series of questions I sent to her in an email interview format. This interview will help you to understand how inbound links increase your search engine rank, and how to start building links for your website.

Ayo: Why is link building important?

Debra: Since all search engines use a form of link popularity in their ranking algorithms and links are traffic paths between web pages, having a number of quality links pointing to your site is important.

People click links to travel from one page and one website to the next so having links on websites frequented by your demographic makes a lot of sense. If you own condos in ski resort areas, it would make sense to have your link on sites that rent ski’s or snowmobiles. Likewise, it makes sense to have ski schools listed on yours. Placing your link on sites your visitors would find useful helps drive qualified traffic.

Search engines work on the same logic when they determine the relevance of a link and its anchor text for their algorithms. Links act as votes to a search engine, the more votes your site gets from quality, on topic web pages the more important the page becomes to a search engine. In order to rank well, build brand and drive qualified traffic you need a number of quality links pointing to your website.

Ayo: In summary, what are the key benefits of link building?

Debra: There are numerous benefits behind link building, you drive traffic, work to increase your influence with the search engines, build brand and increase your online exposure. Each plays an equal part in helping to market your business and increase you placement within the search engines.

Ayo: So, what you do as a link consultant?

Debra: I have three primary services I offer as a link building consultant, first, I develop online marketing campaigns designed to attract or pursue inbound links to a specific website. Second, I offer link building training to individuals and firms looking to learn how to secure inbound links and third, I offer long or short term consulting to business owners who want to keep a link builder on retainer for special projects or to train new employees.

Ayo: Are there some resources readers can use to start building links for their website?

Debra: There are many many places and resources, but here’s a handful to get your started:

Resource Name Resource URL
Blogs These blogs primarily discuss link building.
The Link Spiel http://thelinkspiel.blogspot.com
SEO Book Link Building Training (Highly Recommended) http://training.seobook.com/
Justilien Gaspard http://www.justilien.com
Eric Ward http://www.ericward.com/articles/
Jim Boykin http://www.webuildpages.com
Wiep Knol http://wiep.net/
Roger Montti http://www.martinibuster.net/
Tools
Link Hounds http://www.linkhounds.com
Articles
11 Experts On Link Development http://www.sugarrae.com/11-experts-on-link-development-speak/
101 Link Building Tips http://www.seobook.com/archives/001792.shtml
Link Building Articles http://www.semmys.org/category/link-building/

Promotions:

There are many link building strategies to employ when promoting your websites.
Vertical Measures can help you develop a link building strategy.

1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by Ayo - June 4, 2008 at 1:24 pm

Categories: Guest Interview   Tags: , , , ,

To increase website traffic and sales, answer customer questions

Surprised smiley face. Loss of sales and frustration results when your website does not answer questions.

Do you hate a pushy salesman that doesn’t listen to your questions? Like a pushy salesman, your website will lose sales if it is so intent on selling to the customer that it fails to answer ALL the questions the customer wants answered before he will buy your product or service (See web marketing mistake #10).

The Internet Is a Tool to Answer Questions

Why do you use the internet? Isn’t it to get information? You’re not alone. 74% of men and women research online before buying any product or service (BigResearch, 2007). What are these 3 out of 4 men and women researching? Of course they are looking for answers to a wide variety of questions. So then, you do well to ask yourself, ‘Is my website answering all of my customer’s questions?’ If not, you may be losing 3 out of 4 potential clients.

Don’t Just Answer the Obvious Questions

Of course the #1 question most customers have is price. However, don’t stop at answering this question alone or you will still lose a good chunk of those 3 out 4 online researchers. Let me illustrate.

A certain man is interested in buying a set of golf clubs, and he finds a set he likes online. He likes the price, but he isn’t sure the clubs match his height. He searches the website for the shaft length, but it is not listed. Uncertain that these clubs will match his height, he decides not to buy.

Do you see the point? The man was going to buy the clubs, but because one of his questions was not answered, he decided against it. On the internet, your customer can not physically see, touch, or feel your product; so questions regarding dimensions, look, feel, and texture must be answered online (See #3 and #4 high-profit website redesign priorities). The same applies to selling services. If questions are not answered the customer would rather not buy than run the risk of buying the wrong product (See #4 high-profit website redesign priorities).

Conclusion: Analyze Your Website to See if You Are Answering Customer Questions

So take a look at your products or services. Can you try to think of ALL the questions customers might want answers to before they purchase your product or service? Once you’ve done this, take a look at your website and see if you’re answering these questions. If not, make the necessary changes before you lose additional sales.


    References and additional readings

  1. CopyBlogger.com, 3 Questions Your Website Must Answer to Succeed
  2. CopyBlogger.com, Don’t List Fake Benefits, List Real Ones
  3. BigResearch.com. 2005. “More Consumers Researching Online Before Buying in the Store”

3 comments - What do you think?  Posted by Ayo - June 2, 2008 at 9:15 pm

Categories: Tips to increase site traffic   Tags: , , ,

To increase sales, don’t be yet another site with a list of products!

A website shopper overwhelmed by dozens of websites all selling the same products.

Is your website just another of thousands of websites selling the same products? If so, instead of getting sales, you may just see yourself adding to the noise and confusion on the internet.

Yet Another Site with a List of Products

A golfer wants to buy a new set of Nike golf clubs, the ones Tiger Woods uses. He does a search on Google for ‘tiger wood’s golf clubs’. How many results do you think he’d find? No doubt he would find hundreds, if not thousands. Likely, the golfer can buy the clubs from Nike directly, from a website specializing in golf clubs, from eBay, from a sporting goods website, from Craigslist, and the list continues… Do you see the problem? Virtually any product you can think of is being sold by hundreds if not thousands of websites! Therefore, for you to get a sale, you must do more than offer just another product. You have to provide explanations and information that dispels confusion and helps the customer organize his product search.

Address Fears that Prevent a Purchase

To convince a customer to purchase you must address three customer fears that prevent him from making a decision. Customers fear…

  1. Buying the wrong product (See #4 in this list).
  2. Buying the right product at too high a price.
  3. Being stuck with a disappointing product.

The last two are simple to address. Offer a good price and offer a good return policy. Most companies already do these two things well and I’m sure you are as well. But what can be done about the first fear?

Help the Customer Choose the Right Product

The other day I needed to buy paper for a direct mail campaign. I knew I wanted paper that would make a good impression but at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, I’m not a direct mail expert, nor am I a paper expert; so I was not sure which classification of paper would satisfy my goals. All of the paper and direct mail websites I visited gave me prices for different technical classifications of paper, but none explained, in layman terms, how the paper feels to the touch or how it might perform when used for direct mail. The options were overwhelming. Frustrated with all of these websites, I finally had to seek help from an expert at a local paper shop. A kind saleswoman pointed me to products that her direct mail clients use and explained how each paper is perceived psychologically by the recipient. Satisfied with her answers, I bought all of my paper from this paper shop.

What is the point of this story? I was not able to make my decision online because no website gave me the information I needed to help me choose the right product. Thus, every single one of those websites lost my business.

Are you losing business because you don’t help the customer choose the right product? On the internet, when the customer is faced with a bewildering variety of options, and he can’t sort out which product is right for him, he simply won’t buy any of them.

Don’t Just Explain Why to Buy a Product, also Explain Why Not To

To choose between options the customer needs to know why to buy a product and why not to buy a product. For instance, a car website may say, ‘buy a truck if you need to haul large loads, but don’t buy a truck if you need high fuel efficiency.’ This helps a customer narrow down his options depending on what is more important, fuel efficiency or payload hauling.

Drug companies have been doing this for years. Have you noticed how many drugs have one version that is ‘fast-acting’ and another version that is ‘long-lasting’? This increases sales by forcing the customer to choose one desired effect over the other, depending on how he feels.

Conclusion: Help Customers Select the Right Product

Your website is not the only source for any product on the internet. Therefore, to get the sale you have to do a better job of explaining your products than your competitor does. If a customer is confused, he would rather not buy any product, than take the risk of buying the wrong product. Thus, to generate sales, you need to do an excellent job of helping the customer buy the right product by offering informative product descriptions and information to help him decide between similar products.


    Related Articles

  1. Dmiracle.com. 2008. “Are Your Customers Sick & Tired of Choice?”

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Ayo - at 11:31 am

Categories: Sales strategies   Tags: , , , , , ,

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