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November 3, 2011

10 Surefire Marketing Tips That Will Improve Your Website Conversions

marketing

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.

Conclusion

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

19 Responses to “10 Surefire Marketing Tips That Will Improve Your Website Conversions

    avatar Website Traffic says:

    Very nice! Numbers 3, 8 and 9 are particularly good.

    If a site isn’t in the top 3 slots and has no USP…its just not gonna happen.

    Proof via testimonial and strong guarantees really do seem to be the icing on the sales cake, too.

    Truly, a great list: couple all of it with great SERPs = a winning site!

    ~AJ

    avatar Former Marine says:

    Website traffic – David is right about your statement “a website has to be in the top 3 spots to be successful” and I agree … BTW; have you seen your site in Firefox?

    It’s quite horrible with most of your text overlapping and completely unreadable.

    David; you’re right – never can tell if a tool could enhance / improve results … guess this ol’ fart might give it a try! http://www.sitepronews.com/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_smile.gif

    Website traffic, I disagree with your assertion a website has to be in the top 3 spots to be successful. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are many, many sites that aren’t on the first page of Google that are thriving. Obviously, you want your site to rank as highly as it possibly can. Unfortunately, there are only 10 spots available on the first page, so realistically, not everyone can make it. But you can still succeed without being at the top of the search engines. You just have to be alot more resourceful to do it.

    Thank you for your feedback. :)

    Former Marine, internal site search would not be beneficial for everyone. That’s why I included the caveat: “If your website has more than one page, or has lots of content, install internal site search.”

    That being said, you never know if a tool can enhance or improve your results unless you actually try it, do you?

    As usual, thank you for your feedback. :)

    avatar Website Traffic says:

    lol, apparently neither of you can read…? (don’t feel bad, most Americans – at best – have a dysfunctional and preferential relationship with the English language): my whole point is this; and it is indisputably true: A site that has no unique sales proposition cannot compete with a competitor that does; especially when that competitor is ranked in SERPs in the top 3 search results for a given keyword/keyword phrase against which another site is competing. The first 3 results in SERPs have the luxury of defining the USP for the entire niche. Frankly, I couldn’t care less about your personal notion of success: I, personally, have over 100 web properties on Google page 1 position 1, and I’ll go out on a limb and assume that you do not.

    We have no control over the Operating System you are using, screen resolution you are capable of employing, or browser you are using, Former Marine: Ergo, our site will look however it looks to you: Our site is optimized to the majority of our site’s visitors. This is clearly something that you are unaware of; ergo, your open willingness to believe you are saying something of meaning.

    That being said, it sure would be nice if there were some manner in which to optimize a site such that it renders accurately for all users. :(

    At any rate, people can coddle and lie to themselves all they want; but, the bottom line truth is that if your site is not in the top 3 search results for a given keyword/ keyword phrase, that site is getting next to nothing of the search results pie.

    Thanks, David, for another insightful article! You’re right, “it’s always too soon to quit”. I wish more people treated their online businesses like REAL businesses – instead of falling victim to the “instant riches” mentality or to “shiny object syndrome”.

    One tip I don’t see myself using, though, is the one about testimonials. Personally, I’m not a big fan of them. Unless the person giving the testimonial is someone I know (or have heard of and have respect for), I tend to skim over them without giving them much credence – and they don’t convince me to buy (could just be me, though! :)) I’m curious as to other people’s opinions on having/not having them.

    avatar Lusine says:

    Hey David, I enjoyed the article. It summarizes a lot of very useful point from business perspective.

    You know, I was thinking some of the points may and some may not apply to content sites. It is harder to define e.g. USP, or maximizing marketing efforts. But having a plan is absolutely true for any site.

    Hi Lusine,

    I can’t think of a single business that couldn’t benefit from having a well-defined USP. If you are having difficulty defining a USP for your business, I highly recommend you consult with a competent marketing professional.

    I appreciate and thank you for your feedback. :)

    avatar Mike Cowburn says:

    Hi David,

    Many thanks for this interesting post.

    I must admit, the search function tip had passed me by till now – but I’m going to put it on my website immediately.

    And thanks for the reminder about a guarantee – I keep telling myself I need to put one up but have not gotten round to it yet.

    It’s a welcome prod in the back!

    :-)

    avatar Matt says:

    Great article, David! I know some web clients who would benefit from a greater focus on their unique selling proposition. Alas, great web design isn’t enough!
    Matt Schoenherr
    Web designer
    Lansing, Michigan

    Hi,

    Thank for this great post. #10 is new to me and thanks for the great share…

    Thanks for your valuable feedback everyone!

    Nicole, thank you for your kind words. Regarding testimonials, third party opinions are extremely powerful and influential. And while you personally might not be influenced by testimonials, I can assure you, you are the exception rather than the rule. :)

    avatar caoyi says:

    We have no control over the Operating System you are using, screen resolution you are capable of employing, or browser you are using, Former Marine: Ergo, our site will look however it looks to you: Our site is optimized to the majority of our site’s visitors. This is clearly something that you are unaware of; ergo, your open willingness to believe you are saying something of meaning.

    Testimonials are important but should not totally be trusted. Would anyone put a negative comment up? It is important to include them and definitely builds customer confidence but over use always makes me think twice. Thank you for another great article.

    avatar aidenmoor says:

    Great article! I know some web clients who would benefit from a greater focus on their unique selling proposition.

    Handmade Jewelry, it’s easy to say testimonials shouldn’t be totally trusted, but the fact of the matter is people do trust them. That fact is indisputable.

    So as a marketer, if you know how influential testimonials are, it’s foolish not to use them.

    Thank you for your feedback. :)

    avatar Reya says:

    I like the #3, in what way you are different to others- its a question everyone asks for.

    it was one of the things apart from many others lagging in my website which I could fix in http://www.pro-webmarketing.com/ assistance.

    avatar Chullos says:

    Dear David!

    Hi, thank you for your this useful article, want to know if you can give us an extra advice about subscriber list, I know it is a very powerful tool, but takes a lot of time to make it, can you give us some tips for it, thank you.

    Greetings,
    Marcelo

    Great information. Thanks

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