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Working your online visitor down the sales funnel to the ‘Cha Ching!’ point.

If someone asked you ‘what is a web conversion?’ would you be able to answer?

Working in a web design company it’s easy to throw around terms like sales conversions, sales funnels and conversion rate optimisation. A lot of web developers forget to explain what this all means, and why it’s so important.

At Web123 we’re on a personal mission to destroy web jargon and make online business accessible to everyone, so today I wanted to step back to the basics so you can make big strides forward with your website.

So let’s get started!

Customers are the lifeblood of your business. It’s pretty easy to make a sale when you get a customer in your shop or even on the phone. But what do you do when your visitor has arrived at your website? You need systems to pull them into your online sales funnel and encourage conversions.

So, what ARE conversions anyway?

Conversion: getting your online visitor to perform a desired action.

So when we are talking about conversion rate optimisation (CRO) it’s anything that maximises your ability to get that desired action so you can push them into the early stages of your sales funnel.

Uh oh, marketing jargon alert! So, what is a sales funnel?

Sales funnel: a process of increasing your engagement with a potential customer, encouraging small conversions (interactions) over time until they are ready for the ultimate conversion… and make a purchase!

That’s why a conversion doesn’t always mean a SALES conversion (although that IS your ultimate goal or you’ll go broke!). It could be as simple as downloading a discount coupon or filling out basic details to access a free membership area with helpful content. We call these small conversions, because it’s a low-risk, low-involvement action for a potential customer… In other words, it’s easy. A small conversion is important because it engages your potential customer and is crucial to you building an active, sales funnel.

The first step to converting customers is knowing how to map out your buyers journey which I talked about last time. If you haven’t read it yet, the summary is that every visitor has questions which range from ‘what solves problem x’ at the early information gathering stage all the way through to ‘which kind of product Y do i want’ when they’re at mid-cycle of the fact gathering right through to when they’re ready to buy ‘which one of YOUR product Y’s is the best to buy’.

To have a super converting site you must know all the typical questions customers have AND you need to provide answers throughout your webite.

Sometimes this solution is a small conversion like a fact sheet. Sometimes it’s a medium funnel conversion like an eBook. The main thing is that every time a customer finds a solution to their immediate problem on your site it’s a win for them. And you’re building trust AND capturing their contact details… which is a big win for you.

Unfortunately once you step your prospect through the conversion process, not every road leads to a sale. You have to accept defeat… temporarily. If you’ve gotten your small conversions then at least you have captured their contact details. Which leads us to the idea of lead capturing…

Lead capture: a way of getting your prospective customer’s contact details so you can stay in touch and build trust and credibility in your brand.

Lead capture is generally done through some kind of opt-in box where they exchange their details for an offer of value. Just be careful not to ask for too much as it creates a ‘too hard’ mindset in your visitor. (here’s an article if you want to know more about lead capture).

When you capture a lead it’s worth it’s weight in gold. Why? Because you’ve just turned a random visitor into a lead… and now you can start lead nurturing.

Oh dear, another woolly marketing term. What does lead nurturing mean?

Lead Nurturing: gently moves your leads down the funnel by sending them valuable content and useful offers on a regular basis via email.

So you nurture the lead over time. You treat it like the delicate and rare flower it is. Youdon’t burn your leads by sending sales messages every five minute.

You should politely remind your visitor to come back to your site without annoying the hell out of them!

If you gently lead nurture, you’ll be able to offer great and interesting content, and at the same time you’ll be keeping your brand in the top of their minds for when they ARE ready to buy.

This blog was originally published at herBusiness, the Australian Businesswomen’s Network blog. 

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