Converting Visitors into Customers

Converting Website Traffic into Customers

One of the greatest challenges in today’s business world is maintaining the attention of prospective consumers. With the variety of companies to choose from, it’s easy for the consumer to be enticed by your competitor. The age of the Internet has not helped with our decreasing attention span. Bringing about a new level of laziness. Whereas TV has made us lazy, the Internet has made us even worse. Since the Internet brings the world at our fingertips. Making it accessible to move onto the next site if your website visitor is not finding what they are looking for.

With all the time and effort put into driving stronger traffic numbers to your website, it’s fruitless if website visitors don’t take the “next step”. Often that “next step” is defined as your rate of conversion. Which can include purchasing the product for an E-commerce website. Or making a phone call inquiry or email for a local business website. While for some it may be to subscribe to your newsletter so they can be aware of your product/service offering at a later time.

It’s difficult to track in an exacting science as to what percentage of website visitors convert into customers. Although, there are some good indications and metrics to suggest things are in the right direction. And often these metrics can be found by installing good web analytics software on your website such a Google Analytics or Sitemeter.

One measurement is the average time your website viewers have stayed on your website.  A healthy number all depends on the type of website you have. For a local business website, a timeframe of 2 minutes would be considered long. Keeping in my mind that is longer than the length of an average 30-second TV commercial. Whereas for an educational website, 10-20 minutes would be considered an acceptable timeframe.

The bounce rate also has some co-relation to the rate of conversion. The bounce rate indicates the percentage in which visitors move to another site. It is similar to the average time spent on the website. However it is much more page specific. Whereas the average time spent is a summary metric.

Unrelated to the topic of conversion, the bounce rate also important since to a certain degree search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN consider your bounce rate when determining your SEO rankings. Since it helps search engines weed out websites using black hat SEO (Taboo SEO) techniques. Where websites are not delivering relevant content to the search, so the user is quickly “bouncing” to another website. However, the bounce rate is one factor out of many in SEO. With keyword density and link building still being the predominant factors.

There are many aspects which contribute to effective website conversion. In this article we will talk about 3 of them which include : attractive website design, website video and live website chat.

Attractive website design is one of the most obvious aspects of retaining the attention of your visitor. If your website is graphically pleasing, it conveys a strong image of Brand Quality and a high standard. This is particularly important in e-commerce websites. Since the website represents the storefront and builds trust with the consumer demonstrating attention to details are heeded. Such as making sure items are delivered on time and credit card information is held in confidence.

Although the website should be aesthetic, navigation and ease of use should not be compromised. It should be obvious for your website visitor to be able to derive from the broad categories where to find the specific information they are looking for.

Also important is the actual text itself. Font sizes and colors should be legible. The text layout should have action-oriented keywords highlighted. Making it easy for the website visitor to “speed read” the text and identify it has the given contents they are looking for.

The next aspect is the use of effective Web Video. Before the days of YouTube, it was difficult to utilize video on websites. However, technology has increased in efficiency, making it easy for the average website owner to stream video. Often those whom are reluctant to read, will be more likely to see and hear material if presented with Video.

The best placement of Web Video is often in the opening page of your website. Allowing the key benefits of your business to be relayed upon first entry and for them to not be missed. Furthermore, Web Video helps to bring a “soul” to your website. As ultimately people do business with people. Establishing your style and approach to your business for your website visitor. Typically an effective Web Video should be no more than a minute long. Web Video is becoming one of the most prominent techniques for increasing conversion.

Live Website chat has been increasing in popularity as a technique for increasing conversion. The way Live website chat works is when a visitor is at your website, an area of the website is allocated to engage in a chat session with a “agent”. The live chat can be set engage automatically after a given time interval which your visitor has remained on your site (i.e. after 3 minutes, since that may indicate a timeframe which demonstrates some interest in your website).

The “agent” would be most likely a representative from your company. Who is able to answer basic questions about your product or services. Often this is most intelligently assigned to the receptionist. On their end, the agent would be logged into the software and would be notified when inquiries are made. The live chat may also be setup that they receive and can respond to inquiries on their mobile phone(Iphone or Blackberry) if the agent is away from their desk.

Used correctly, a live website chat feature can improve conversion numbers. If done in a manner which is genuinely helpful and not pushy. Similar to when consumer walks into a store. It can be an annoyance when one is bombarded by sales reps asking if you need help. But a worse situation when help is authentically needed and there is no representative to assist.

Live website chat also works since it easier than making a phone call or sending an email. As often a website visitor may not want to wait for an answer to their email which may take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Or does not have the time to pick up the phone with the fear of being kept on hold.

Live website chat is also relatively inexpensive, considering what it may save you in lost website traffic. With the cost depending on the number of agents managing the system. For most businesses, a 2 person agent license would suffice, which may range from $1000-$1500 depending on installation complexity.

In summary, there are many techniques to help captivate attention on your website. And the right techniques need to be carefully chosen for your business model.  Attention spans are only decreasing and it’s become more important to communicate effectively in a short period of time. With the time, energy and cost brought into bringing visitors to your website, retention of your visitor is an equally important factor. However, with a properly mapped out strategy, effective use of your hard earned marketing dollars can be maximized.

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