If your business has a website, it needs to earn its keep.
If it sells your products, it should provide visitors with every piece of information they need in order for them to make a purchase. If it promotes your service or charitable organisation, it should convert casual visitors into leads by encouraging them to pick up the phone or email you for more information.
Even if it’s just a brochure website, it should be generating interest in your product or service. If it’s not doing this, it’s not providing a return on your investment.
There’s a huge difference between having visitors passively navigate the content of your website before disappearing (and probably not coming back) and being able to actively reach out and address them on a personal level.
But how can you engage with casual visitors and turn them into potential leads?
Build an email list
Despite consistent rumours to the contrary, email is not dead and shows no sign of expiring anytime soon. It continues to be the highest converting marketing channel and shows absolutely no sign of being knocked off the top spot. Why? Because it gives you direct access to people who are looking forward to hearing from you for very little cost.
Forget social media - it doesn’t even come close. It's too transient and what's more, if you don't own it, you don't control it (tweet it!).
If you’re not using your website as a tool to build an email subscriber list by making it insanely easy for visitors to join, you’re literally leaving money on the table.
When's the best time to start building an email list? Well, how about 2 years ago! Luckily, the second best time to start is now.
In this article we’ll look at reasons why people rarely commit to buy on the first visit and a great solution for integrating email lists with your website.
Why visitors don’t buy
The buying process is seldom straightforward as:
- visitor goes to website
- visitor adds product to basket
- visitor checks out
It just doesn’t happen. Why? You sell a quality product or service; it’s worth the price you’re charging and you have existing customers that prove people actually want to buy.
The hard truth is that even determined buyers may visit your site a number of times before they decide they’re ready to buy. And, of course, those who are less determined (the majority) will be lost along the way.
So what are the barriers which stop visitors from becoming buyers?
They don’t understand how your product or service benefits them
A lack of understanding is the biggest issue. Most website content focuses on features at the expense of helping the customer understand how the product or service will make their lives better. A huge list of features is very different from explaining the tangible benefits your customer will gain by purchasing.
For example, if you sell socks, you could list dimensions, type of material, colour, etc. But so what? Customers would much rather know what benefits those features provide. The socks keep feet cool and moisture-free, for example.
Yes, arguably the feature enables the benefit, but to the customer, features are secondary. Benefits are what they relate to.
Was the tagline for the original and iconic Apple iPod “1GB of hard disk storage”? No. They went with “1,000 songs in your pocket.” See what I mean?
They don’t trust you or your product / service
Big brands like Marks & Spencer have spent years and invested millions in building a brand that you ‘know, like and trust’.
By focusing on benefits, you may have convinced a potential customer of the value of your product/service but, unless you’ve built a brand, they won’t know much about you or consider you a trusted source. One way to eliminate this barrier is to establish your credentials as an authority in your niche. But how?
One of the most effective ways to build trust quickly is through teaching. By literally giving away quality information that your potential customer cares about for free, you establish yourself as a credible source rather than just another product salesman.
Successful chefs post ‘how-to’ videos on YouTube precisely because they know that teaching builds trust and credibility, which makes it infinitely easier to sell a product.
They forget you
Visitors to your website may consume some of your content but, if they’re not ready to buy they’ll leave and may never come back. There are many possible reasons for this but the most common are:
- they were just doing research
- they were put off by unexpected charges (such as shipping)
- they forgot
That last one is frustrating. With a standard sales process, if a visitor is not yet ready to buy you have no means of contact to remind them to come back. That’s not helpful for making a sale.
Lowering the bar with incentivised email opt-ins
Expecting visitors to come to your website and make a purchase there and then is not realistic. The barrier may be just too high. So, rather than risk losing the sale altogether, why not offer an alternative which makes the barrier much lower?
Email opt-in forms allow you to take advantage of a customer’s interest by offering them something of value (for example, a downloadable eBook or series of emails) which teaches them about your product or service and positions you as an expert in your niche, in exchange for their email address.
Once you have a visitor’s email address you can send this valuable information whilst occasionally reminding them of your product. It's not too 'salesy', keeps potential customers engaged and can make the all-important difference between being forgotten and making the sale.
It may take a few interactions for a potential customer to decide they’re ready to purchase, but at least you have that opportunity.
Stop losing sales
There are many email marketing (because that’s what we’re talking about) solutions on the market today. Each one has a raft of features (there’s that word again) which can be difficult to navigate.
I’m more than happy to recommend Drip as an easy-to-use but very powerful solution. With Drip you can send personalised email newsletters (with attachments, if required), automated 'welcome' emails when someone joins your list, scheduled email sequences (e.g. 5 emails, over the course of 7 days) and much more. Managing your subscriber list is easy. There's no software to download, just login and use it from any web browser.
Drip makes it easy to build trust, educate your potential customers, and maintain a long-term conversation with them so they won’t forget about you.
Interested? Find out how to get started with Drip here or, if you’d like help to get all this setup and integrated with your website, click here to apply to ShopMonster today. We get great results and are happy to help.