By Ivan Croxford, general manager, digital marketing services, BT Business.
It’s important for businesses to not only attract consumers to their websites by using a good search engine optimisation strategy but also to retain that interest so that it leads to sales.
Customers need to feel shopping with you is safe and easy – as well as being great value – and, at the same time, you need to develop the necessary knowledge into how your particular online market works.
The good news is that there are a range of free and cost-effective tools and tactics that allow you to measure, track and capture interest and covert this into orders.
Here are some simple tips that could help to turn your site into a goldmine and build up a trusting and lasting relationship with your customers.
1. Establish Your Goals
Decide what you want from your site and what you want your customers to do. For example, do you want them to phone you, complete a form or buy online? If you want your site to be an e-commerce platform, the bare minimum it should do is inform, provide contact details and give an option to buy.
To attract paying customers, your site should be built around keywords that they might use to search your goods and services. Making visitors feel confident about placing an order is also vital so incorporate a reliable shopping cart mechanism, simple order form and safe and secure payment system such as PayPal or Sage Pay.
The bottom line is setting specific goals will help you with all aspects of your website – its design, colours, text, images and navigation – which could appeal to the consumer.
2. Relevant Content
Post content on your site that reflects your aims. Video appeals to potential customers but there is no point uploading film onto your site if it distracts from the sales conversion goal you have set. The video needs to be relevant to the final aim of securing an order.
Blogging regularly to offer the latest information and recommendations in a friendly, informative tone also helps to nurture a positive relationship with consumers. Dialogue is key and you can build confidence by encouraging feedback and highlighting positive customer case studies and testimonials. Another useful device is a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section that deals with any concerns or curiosities the consumer may have.
3. Demand Generation
Create a journey for your visitor. Every page on your site needs to guide the potential customer to the next step. For example, offer a simple call to action on each page such as “Get In Touch” prompt where visitors can register their orders, contact details and queries. It’s also important to offer special deals or discounts to give the consumer a reason for visiting the site and for returning in the future.
Email is a good tool to drive sales so develop opt-in, permission-based mailing lists of potential customers to target with your latest deals. Also, stage free promotions, competitions, introductory offers and discounts that allow the visitor to trial your service for free or at special rates. These sales initiatives demonstrate clearly that shopping on your site offers choice, convenience and cost savings.
4. Measurement Tools
Sign up to a good web traffic analysis tool that allows you to measure and analyse the effectiveness of your website and your marketing campaign. Tools such as Google Analytics give you rich insights into your traffic, telling you which content on your site is working, which pages customers are visiting and which keywords they are responding to. This means you are more prepared to write better-targeted ads, strengthen your marketing initiatives and create a higher converting website.
Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns can also be excellent value. Google AdWords, for example, allow you to set campaign objectives, track on-site conversion to sales and change your goals instantly to meet changing demand.
5. Capture Relationships
Develop a good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy that allows you to manage a “lead” and track it to a sale, especially if it is an offline one.
CRM gives you instant access to sales and marketing data, generates new leads and maintains your contact database – all in one convenient place. This means you can service your customers better by responding immediately to the constantly changing needs of your marketplace.
Such tools can link mobile phones and email, for example, by converting voice messages from customers or suppliers to text or tracking and recording email marketing campaigns. This means you can make the most of every opportunity, even if you are out of contact or in meetings.
CRM solutions help you to take control - by giving you the relevant information and insight and can also be on-demand so you can use them when and where you want without the need for expensive IT infrastructure.
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