In a tough economy when businesses are slashing budgets and wanting a clear ROI on every Rand spent, there’s nothing like direct marketing to validate your marketing investment.
Top tips for converting online visitors
By Simon Bestbier, Account Director, Realmdigital
Many goals of being online
An online presence can take several forms and have any one of multiple objectives.
The goal with an e-commerce website, for example, is to sell goods or services. As a run-up to a possible future sale it may wish to hook site visitors into a loyalty programme, or for other reasons get them to register for membership.
Another type of website may simply be looking to turn visitors into newsletter subscribers, whereas a Facebook page may wish to drum up awareness of a brand or campaign, which may involve a product. The call to action in such a case may be to like a product or page to boost its membership, or recommend a friend.
Depending on the objective, different levels of persuasiveness may be required. Getting someone to subscribe to a newsletter is not quite the same achievement as getting them to buy a product.
In addition, some types of product are more complex to sell than others: An insurance policy may require the buyer to complete several fields of information over and above that of something standard, such as a computer game or music CD.
Widening the conversion funnel
According to Wikipedia, any stream of visitors to a website will get progressively narrower as visitors go through the series of steps required to fulfil the site owners eventual objective for them, for instance clicking Buy. To achieve a high percentage of conversions, the site must funnel as many visitors as possible towards the end-goal.
A significant body of knowledge has developed around conversion funnels or best practices of converting online visitors (which has a direct impact on increasing profitability).
In e-commerce, for example, visitors enter a landing page with banner ads confronting them. The goal is to firstly get the visitor to click through, for instance to a product page. Once this is achieved, visitors will be asked to add a product to their shopping cart, register and check out. But as each step is taken, more visitors leave the process. In the end, only a miniscule percentage of visitors are left.
Tricks of the trade
An effective conversion funnel relies on a combination of psychology, user interface (UI) design and good-old-fashioned logic.
- Understand what potential customers want, and give it to them. A buyer of CDs may want to see different tracks of the desired album, as well as the album cover. Images must be of good quality, and there must be different ways of sharing it on the visitors preferred social medium.
- Dont spring surprises, like requiring lengthy registration or login upon clicking Buy. If a high percentage of site visitors leave at this point, it points to a need to re-think the conversion path.
- When asking for registration, keep this minimal and confine it to the start of the process, filling in gaps later. Subtle badgering for extra details may be in order.
- Click-through rates (CTR) rates are typically very low, but they can be increased with subtle variations in link positioning, text, size and even colour. This is known as ad optimisation.
- Provide a good, solid call-to-action (unambiguous, visibly positioned and colourful without being off-putting.
- Dont do silly things like over-price your products or sell sub-standard fare, orno-one will buy them.
- Provide consistent messaging and look-and-feel in all marketing. Promising one thing on the side of a bus while not integrating the offer online can be fatal.
- You cant manage what you cant measure Google analytics can give insight into successful or failed conversion. For example, exit pages give an indication whether visitors leave the process prematurely. Over time, this will give a good indication of possible improvements.
- When requiring customer details, make sure the appropriate fields are pre-populated with information you already have.
Conversion is a subtle science that applies online as well as in the real world. It is also a shifting landscape, and website owners can never assume theyve arrived, as new technologies continue to offer new possibilities and present new challenges.
Considering the difference it can make to profits, it is crucial to get the right consulting partner that will optimise the site experience and allow you to get the jump on the competition.
Realmdigital is a top South African e-business strategy and technology partner, specialising in Internet and mobile platforms. The company has proven local and international success in building leading online businesses including Avusa (incorporating Exclusive Books), Naspers, Die Burger, Media 24, Ford and Mix Telematics (Matrix Vehicle Tracking). Founded in 1999 by CEO Wesley Lynch, the company lists industry-leading clients across all industries, with a strong installbase in retail and travel. Realmdigitals e-business engagements are grounded in a strong solution portfolio that integrates with best-in-class technologies, including payment and booking/reservation engines, SEO techniques, CMS, CRM and Intranet platforms. In addition we offer an established lead development capability and an advanced partner management and project methodology. Together, these elements make up a comprehensive e-business enablement portfolio comprising a full spectrum of work streams digital strategy, creative and technological. Imagine then Build!
Tel: +27 (0)21 975 0959
DUO Marketing + Communications
Tel: +27 (0)21 683 8223
First published in 1995, the report is released every other year in conjunction with DMA’s Annual Conference and delivers historic trends, current year estimates, and one-year and five-year projections for direct marketing expenditures, sales, ROI and employment.
A Glimpse of the Future
Three years from now - or perhaps sooner - the direct marketing scene (the scene not the techniques) will be barely recognisable from that which we know and love today: the carefully delineated, agencies; the internecine warfare; the specialists and non- specialists; and so on, will all begin to disappear.
In the recent past, the position and relevance of direct marketing (DM); in the information age has been viewed as a 'dying' facet of the advertising industry. However, research and trends have proved that direct marketing will have an impact on the economic growth and lead the industry in one-to-one marketing.
Steve Cuno from Response Advertising, USA, says: "Whenever I'm asked to sum up the differences between traditional and direct response advertising, I oversimplify it: Traditional advertising seeks to create positive awareness of a product in enough minds so that your target market will eventually reach for your brand. Direct response advertising improves on that."