How? Web businesses focus on advertising and how to go about attracting customers separate from how they interact and hopefully convert those customers into prospects or buyers as they arrive on the website. In my experience, building a successful conversion process requires a holistic approach. The customer’s experience with a business starts when they first become aware of the brand and/or a product or service. How a customer becomes aware, whether it is word of mouth from a trusted associate or by chance through a keyword search, sets the tone of the customer’s website visit and the foundation for trust.
A customer arriving to a website via a word of mouth referral (especially from a friend who related a great buying experience with the brand) will have less hurdles and more confidence towards buying. A search-driven customer may require more credibility-building through assurances and be more critical before being comfortable with buying. Because the process of conversion starts in the advertising channel, when improving conversion, you cannot focus solely on website redesigning. A holistic view compares advertising with design as well as with technology, usability and influence. Improving conversion involves assessing how the entire web business can create a satisfying experience for the customer.
I was speaking with an associate today who runs a decent size e-commerce company. He was telling me about his progress with increasing sales and the disappointment he had with using a prominent search engine marketing company. As he put it, “All they did was spend my money and not bring enough extra business.” This is a situation of compartmentalizing conversion. Advertising was executed without the website (entry or landing pages) also being optimized concurrently. The advertising failed potentially because the entry pages were not effectively connecting with the customers being attracted through the pay-per-click marketing keywords and associated ad copy.
Compartmentalization creates a chicken and egg scenario. For example, with paid search and landing pages, do you write effective ads and select relevant keywords first and then fit the landing pages to the ad copy and keywords or do you develop an effective landing page and fit the ad copy and keywords to it? What if conversions are low? Do you correct your ad copy, your keywords or do you adjust your landing pages?
One approach is the “toothpaste squeeze” method where you start at the farthest end from the final goal like a specific advertising channel and you improve the performance of each conversion point from ad click-through to entry page click-through to checkout and finally to a completed order as if you are squeezing toothpaste out of a toothpaste tube. This linear process will breakdown as individual customers’ buying processes unfold (causing non-linear paths) however if more than less move forward at higher rates then the approach works.
Consider improving your lead or sale conversion by asking how your entire business can serve a more satisfactory experience to each customer starting with your advertising and leading every step through to the final completed order.