Getting potential clients to click their way to your website is just the start. What you want to see is an actual person completing an action – whether that be signing up for an email list, making a purchase, or some other form of commitment. It helps to think of that client as not just another number, but as an actual living breathing human, just like you. When you remember some behavioral basics from that Psych 101 class you took years ago, and pair it with what is working in digital marketing right now, you’ll be well on your way to achieving the results you want.
Let’s start by remembering what propels us to act, buy, or otherwise bite the bullet. Narrowing in on the elements that lead up to that decision point can help with conversion. There are certain staples in advertising that continue to work for a reason. A quick list of such strategies might include bandwagon, repetition, testimonial, expert opinion, and emotional appeal. Let’s take a quick look at each before diving into our top 10 list.
By employing the bandwagon strategy, you’re trying to tap into a person’s sense of belonging or being part of the group. As social beings we find safety and comfort in numbers. It’s basically counting on the fact that we all want to find our way to the cool kids’ table. Next, there’s repetition. Whether it’s Kars4Kids or that Head-On commercial, the use of repetition works. Repetition works. Repetition works. That doesn’t mean everyone loves it, but we sure know what number to call when it comes time to donate a car. Testimonials work in a similar way as bandwagon, in that they rely on social proof, or the notion that we conform to norms and want to do what others are doing. Similarly, including an expert opinion lends credibility and authority to your brand. If four out of five dentists agree your toothpaste is the best, that’s saying something. (Though it might make you wonder why that 5th dentist is such a rebel). Finally, making an emotional appeal is another way to encourage action. Tapping into emotions like hope, empathy, or fear focuses on the heart rather than the head. Ideally, you’d want a customer to associate your brand with hope, joy or happiness.
It’s best to understand these strategies and ethically employ them as you interact with potential customers and clients online. If you are offering something of value, then you can view it as fostering a mutually beneficial relationship, not foisting your wares on the unwitting.
1. Create Quality Content
This seems so obvious yet cannot be overstated. Not only does relevant, quality content provide something of interest for your customers, but it also has the potential to drive organic traffic to your site. Google knows when you’re just displaying duplicate content across your site’s pages, or splattering it with more ads than actual information.
But fear not, you don’t have to write the next great American novel to have novel content. Just look to The Alchemist or the Wizard of Oz and (spoiler alert) you’ll see that what you really needed was right there all along, and maybe the journey helped you realize that. In other words, don’t forget about tilling the soil right under your feet. Creating killer content might be a matter of tending to and tweaking what you already have. Consider adding infographics, photos, or videos where you have lengthy descriptions. Chop current copy into bite sized pieces and add authority links to increase trustworthiness and improve SEO. On the other hand, if it’s been a while since you’ve assessed your strategy, it may be worth seeking out help.
Just take a tip from Dorothy and remember there’s no place like home (page). When people arrive at your site, you want to welcome them and invite them to stay a while. If you provide educational or entertaining content, you’ll make it worth their time, as well as increase the likelihood of others linking to your site. This leads us to #2 on our list.
2. CYA with an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Strategy
As mentioned above, one important factor in generating traffic to your site is by having something worth seeing once those coveted future customers arrive. Having quality content that educates or entertains (or edutains!) is part of it, but there’s more. It’s also important to think about on-page SEO, such as how your headlines, image tags, keywords, and links can be optimized.
Make sure to choose your words – and your keywords – wisely. You will want to include your keywords in the headings and subheadings, but only in the body of the content where relevant. Remember to also include keywords in the file name of your images. Don’t forget that human eyeballs are the real audience and can still detect those heavy-handed sales pitches. If you want to employ all these strategies, try starting a blog on your site! Blogs are a great way to showcase your expertise while creating value for customers, and improving SEO.
3. Nurture your Relationship with CRM
While we’re on an acronym kick, let’s talk about CRM (Customer relationship management), which includes all the strategies and technologies that help manage and analyze customer data and interactions with a brand. The goal is ultimately to drive sales, but also to strengthen customer relationships and foster retention.
The best place to start is to identify your vision and goals, and then work backwards. What data do you need to inform you along every step? What do you already know about your audience and what data should you collect? Technology is a critical component in this process, and many skip steps such as identifying goals in their excitement to get started. So make sure you take enough time in the planning stage before you take advantage of CRM software like Salesmate or Hubspot. You’ll also want to check out what businesses like yours are using and how the software will integrate with your current platform.
4. Capture the Magic of Motion Pictures – Add a video!
Never underestimate the power of storytelling. It taps into our primal need for narrative, but even more basically, moving images quickly capture our attention. If you have the ability to produce or crowdsource it, including product videos or other video content is basically a no-brainer. It’s almost like having a sales rep right there with you, but one that your customer can pause and replay.
According to Wyzowl, 80% of video marketers say that video has directly helped increase their sales. And around that same percentage report that videos increased traffic to their site, time on their site, and helped with generation of leads. As is often the case, the advice is to keep it simple. With all the distractions of the day, many viewers tune out after merely a minute, so a good goal for length is around 30 seconds.
5. Can You Get a Witness?
Including a testimonial that touts your products or services will increase trust and underscore your brand’s authenticity. It shows others have made the leap and seem happy they did. Happy customers, happy company. If that isn’t already a saying, it should be. Not only are satisfied customers a sign of your success, but word-of-mouth marketing is virtually unparalleled in its ability to attract additional customers. In fact, having positive reviews makes 91% of consumers more likely to use a business. A testimonial can come in the form of a product review, a positive tweet, or a video of a customer ranting and raving about your services.
User-generated testimonials establish credibility, and take advantage of that FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) that always seems to be going around. If new visitors to your site see that others are compelled to spread the word, that’s a good thing! Preach! Over 50% consumers will leave a review if asked to, so it really doesn’t hurt to say, Can I get a witness?
6. Get an Expert Opinion
Similar to customer-generated reviews which are detailed above, having an expert share their thoughts on your product or services is priceless. There is a sense of increased credibility when recognized experts in the field are featured on your site. They not only speak with authority, but they are an authority on the matter. Potential leads will convert to customers when assured that the best in the biz are on your side. Whether it be a guest blog from Neil Patel on how you taught him everything he knows about online marketing, or a review of your organic toothpaste from the Dentist down the street, having an expert interject is a good idea.
7. Social Media Must-Haves
As mentioned above in #1, it’s important to have small digestible bits of information on your site, because if you keep it short and sweet, they Tweet! Be sure to keep those buttons visible, and don’t make people scroll too far before coming across a Pinterest-worthy pic or quote. If you don’t already have your social media sharing all set up, Adam Connell of Blogging Wizard has highlighted 11 of the best social media sharing plug-ins from which to choose.
Having easily shareable content invites your visitors to be part of your team. User-generated content is viewed by others as one more form of social proof. If you can move someone from a visitor, to a customer to a brand ambassador or evangelist, that’s a winning strategy. Go team!
8. Create Multiple Entry Points for Purchase & Engagement
But Grandmother, what big buttons you have! The better for converting clients, my dear. Scientists already know we behave a lot like other animals, whether it’s memorizing routes in mazes or pressing little levers to receive a reward. So the trick is to find what keeps us coming back for more. Yes, quality content, as we’ve already noted, but also an invitation to engage. Sometimes it’s just like Jeopardy, and you need to phrase things in the form of a question. That’s why it’s important to have those “buy” buttons in multiple places.
Welcome visitors right at the virtual entrance with a quick option to buy and be done with it. Other online shoppers may prefer to peruse your site for a while first. Make sure there’s an opportunity to act as they browse. And sometimes you’ll have to nudge people a few times before they take action. Don’t forget the “before you go” button that can trigger a sense of urgency and gives them one last chance to take advantage of a time-sensitive offer or discount of the day.
9. Personalize for Pete’s Sake
That is, if your customer’s name is Pete. We often hear people say, “Don’t take this personally,” but honestly, that is exactly how we want to take things. We want our interactions to be personal. We all want to be asked about ourselves, complimented for our decisions, and nurtured along the way. Think about how you can personalize your customer’s experience at every point. Consumers are 40% more likely to view items that are recommended based on information they’ve shared with the brand. People like to feel heard, but they don’t want to feel like there’s a spy hiding in their computer screen, so be sure to strike a balance between utilizing customer data and abusing it.
Make it real whenever possible. If you have the resources and bandwidth, you could encourage continued engagement with a live chat feature. When appropriate, use their name and ask succinct questions. Let your customer or potential client know that you’re there to help them. Personally.
10. Kick it up a notch with that Call to Action (CTA)
We saved Call to Action for last since it’s usually the final instruction or ask. It’s important to consider both content and design when it comes to the CTA. You may want to have a header where you can direct donations or collect customer emails. There should be an option to act as they scroll through your blog, and without overdoing it, you might want a pop-up or button at the bottom that makes one last appeal.
And speaking of appeal, this is when that emotional appeal comes into play. When phrasing your CTA, think about the benefits that your product provides and connect that to an emotion. Do your services spark joy (to borrow a popular phrase)? Focus on the joy and how to convey that on your website through design choices, tone, and the images you choose. Create a compelling way to say “come join us.” And rather than explain why, get them to ask “why not?” Utilize the various advertising strategies we laid out at the beginning to trigger people’s natural “take action” responses. If you can get people to smile or breathe a sigh of relief when they see your logo, that could lead to a sale, and better yet, a satisfied customer. That’s a win-win for everyone.