November 3, 2011
Like millions of other people, I’m a huge NFL football fan (go Giants), and the one thing I’ve learned over the years is that on any given Sunday, the worst team in the league can beat the best team in the league. It happens all the time. Why? Because in sports, just like in business, there’s a very thin line between success and failure – winning and losing.
And the team that executes their game plan the best and makes the fewest mistakes will invariably win the game. That’s not a theory – statistics bear that out. In sports, mistakes are the wild card – the great equalizer. You can have the greatest team and game plan in the world, but if you make mistakes and don’t execute your game plan, it will be all for naught. You will lose. Mistakes prevent you from performing up to your potential and winning the game.
The same logic applies to business as well. Regardless of the competition, the businesses that execute their game plan the best and make the fewest mistakes will invariably come out on top. That’s why you constantly see small businesses outperform larger, more powerful companies with greater resources. It’s all about having a solid game plan and executing it.
Following are 10 surefire marketing tips that will improve your website conversions:
1. Have a Plan
There’s an age old proverb by Thomas Edison that famously states:
“He who fails to plan, plans to fail.”
Truer words have never been spoken. You need to have a plan before you start a business. Why is a business plan so important? Because a properly constructed business plan is like a roadmap to your goals – a GPS if you will.
Having a business plan will give you a much clearer vision of your goals and objectives, and will keep you on track and enable you to achieve your goals that much faster.
One caveat about business plans: They aren’t written in stone, and more than likely, you will have to change or adjust your plan multiple times along the way to keep yourself on track. That’s just part of the process.
If you need help writing a business plan, you can obtain a free business plan template from BPlans.com.
2. Focus on Organic SEO
While paid marketing methods are fine for the short-term, for the long-term, organic SEO (non-paid traffic that originates from search engines) is what separates the wheat from the chaff. If you can establish a significant presence in the search engines, it will give you a competitive advantage over your competitors. Stock your website with plenty of quality, relevant content and refresh it regularly. Also, concentrate on acquiring as many quality, relevant backlinks as you can. It will pay huge dividends in the long-term.
3. Develop a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Here’s what master copywriter, Michel Fortin had to say about a USP in his article How to Hook (More) Copywriting Prospects.
“A USP is what distinguishes you from the pack. It increases perceived value, expertise, and credibility – without needing to state it outright. Just by being 10% different, unique, original, or special is enough to make you stand out like a sore thumb in an overcrowded, hyper-competitive marketplace.”
You simply can’t say it any more succinctly than that. Be smart. Get an edge on your competition, and develop a USP.
4. Be Obvious
Have you ever landed on a website and didn’t know what it was about? How did you feel? You didn’t like it did you? And I’ll bet you probably clicked out of there pretty quickly. Well, your visitors don’t like it either. Don’t let your visitors have to try and figure out what your website is all about. Make it crystal clear, right from the beginning. Be obvious. Having a big, descriptive headline or logo on your home page is a very effective way to announce what your website is about. Also, choose relevant keywords for your pages, as opposed to trying to trick people just to get eyeballs. Always make your keywords relevant to your web pages.
5. Install Internal Site Search
Studies have shown, you have less than 10 seconds to engage visitors on your site, or they’re gone. That’s why it’s imperative to make sure visitors to your site can find the information they’re looking for quickly and easily. But how?
If your website has more than one page, or has lots of content, install internal site search. If you haven’t done this already, do it today. Studies have shown a significant number of people use the search function on sites to help them find the information they’re looking for.
Studies have also shown internal site search definitely helps improve conversions. Here’s why:
If your visitors are able to quickly and easily find the information they’re seeking, they’ll remain on your site longer. And the longer visitors stay on your site, the greater your chances of converting them into customers.
So how can you add internal search to your site?
Just do a search for “internal site search.” You’ll discover you have a lot of options – both free and paid. Personally, I use Google Custom Search on my site. I’m pleased with it. It works quite well for me, but like I said, you have a lot of options.
6. Nurture Your Subscriber List
On average, it takes seven contacts with a visitor to your website to convert them into a customer. That means visitors have to see your marketing message at least seven times before they’re comfortable enough to buy from you.
That’s why your subscriber list is so important. Even if your subscribers haven’t purchased anything yet, they are interested in what you have to say. Think about it. These people have taken the time and made the effort to opt-in to receive your newsletter, blog updates, whatever. This gives you the ability to have contact with these people over and over and over again. Eventually, they will develop enough trust in you to purchase your products and services. And if you treat them right, they’ll keep on purchasing from you for years to come. More importantly, they’ll tell others about you.
But whatever you do, don’t take your subscribers for granted, bombard them with offers, or waste their time. Make sure the information you send them has value and is useful. If you do that, eventually, they’ll reward you with their business.
7. Maximize Your Marketing Efforts
Many newbies fall into the trap of jumping from one marketing method to the next. They’re like bees pollinating flowers – darting all over the place. They never settle on any one method for any length of time, and as a result, they never make any money.
When it comes to marketing, you have to be disciplined enough to be patient. Patience is the key. You have to give whatever methods you’re using a chance to work. It’s rare to hit a home run your first time at bat. It’s often necessary to make multiple adjustments to your methods to make your marketing profitable. It’s all part of the process. But when you do find something that works, stick with it and milk it. Milk it for all it’s worth. Milk it to the point of diminishing returns, before you move onto something else.
8. Prove It
First-time visitors to your website don’t know you. More importantly, they don’t trust you. Why would they? That’s why putting visitors minds at ease with genuine and verifiable testimonials and reviews about your products and services is one of the most effective steps you can take. In addition, you should also use proven facts and figures and scientific evidence whenever possible, to further add credence to your claims.
Make no mistake, psychologically, consumers are still highly influenced by third party opinions – especially those on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Just make sure you get permission to use your customer’s testimonials. More importantly, make sure the testimonials are genuine and verifiable. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in trouble with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission).
9. Offer a Strong Guarantee
One of the best things you can do to reassure potential customers and give them peace of mind is to offer a strong guarantee. Unfortunately, some marketers are afraid to guarantee their products for fear of being hit with a mountain of refund requests. This is not only incredibly foolish, it’s unfounded. Here’s the truth:
If you provide good value for the dollar, statistics show on average, less than 2% of your customers will ask for a refund. Here’s something else to consider: Offering a strong guarantee will often increase sales dramatically. So how long should your guarantee be? At least 30 days, but if you really believe in your product, the longer the guarantee, the better.
10. Split-Test Your Marketing
What’s split-testing? Split-testing is a method of testing multiple versions of your sales pages in order to determine which version is the most profitable – converts more visitors into sales. Testing should include the size, color and wording of your headline, the images you use, the price of your product, etc. Google Website Optimizer gives you the ability to quickly and easily split-test your marketing.
Author Norman Vincent Peale famously said:
“It’s always too soon to quit.”
But yet, that’s what many marketers do. The instant things start to get tough they quit! Don’t be one of those marketers. Fight through the inevitable adversity. No one said being an entrepreneur is easy, it’s not. It’s hard, but when you succeed at it, it’s well worth all the blood, sweat and tears you had to pour into it. Be determined to overcome any obstacles you might encounter along the way.
“Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!” – Friedrich Neitzche
David Jackson is a marketing consultant, and the owner of Free-Marketing-Tips-Blog.com – Powerful, free marketing tips to help grow your business! http://free-marketing-tips-blog.com