Today's blog post is by Peter Sandeen. Peter's an expert on “website conversion” for small businesses and professionals and one of the featured experts in my 21 Resources for Improving Website Conversions mega-post. Peter's kindly written a follow up article on the key strategies for turning website visitors into clients…
You get visitors to your website, but only a few of them ever turn to clients.
Worst case: none of them are the kind of people you’d want to work with.
You’ve probably tried changing your home page and maybe even hired a web designer to polish the design.
Still your results aren’t nearly as good as they could be.
At the same time, some of your competitors seem to get more than their fair share of clients.
If I said you could get every visitor to turn to a client, I’d be lying (especially if I claimed they’d all be fun to work with).
But there are definitely some things you can do right now to increase your conversion rates and start getting more clients (the good ones)…
You’re Not Saying The Right Things
You seem to be doing everything right:
- You attract great potential clients to your site; you could help them, and you would enjoy working with them.
- You have a site that looks professional; it doesn’t have all the latest bells and whistles, but it looks clean, and it’s easy to use.
- You say all the usual things that you’re “supposed” to say: the basic information about you and your business.
Unfortunately, that’s not nearly enough because your competitors do the same things.
Your visitors are likely to go to their sites as well. Their sites look just as professional as yours does. They say the same things on their sites as you do.
And if you’re unlucky, they’ve started to optimise their sites to increase their conversion rates.
So, why would your prospects choose to work with you?
The one thing your competitors might still get wrong is the same thing you’re likely to get wrong: they’re presenting a monologue when they should start a dialogue.
Your Visitors Don’t Feel Like You’re Talking to Them
Most people seem to forget that their websites should have a conversation with their potential clients.
It’s not there just to tell the visitors facts about you and your business.
The whole point is to capture the visitors’s interest and persuade them to take the next step towards hiring you.
There are several things you need to do to make that happen.
- Tell what specific results you can help them achieve. When people come to your site, they’re looking for a solution to something; either they have a problem they want to solve or they have a goal they want to achieve. You need to tell them you help people with those exact problems and goals.
- Help them see you’re an expert. Your title and formal education are rarely enough to convince visitors; having a fancy degree says hardly anything about your true expertise. Would you like to work with the person who was the worst of their class? So, find another way to prove you know what you’re doing.
- Give them an easy next step. Don’t ask people to hire you immediately. Don’t even ask them to call you before they believe hiring you is a good option for them. The first step could be joining your email list, reading a case study about one of your previous clients, or filling a self-evaluation questionnaire that you use to qualify clients.
Give them what they want. Help them imagine the results you can help them achieve. Show them the next step they should take.
But even if you get the basics right, you could still increase your conversion rate significantly.
The 3 Conversion Principles
Turning visitors to subscribers and clients —consistently— is difficult if you don’t know how to systematically improve your conversion rates.
These conversion principles help you look at your site and pages objectively and find the opportunities for improvement.
Clarity and Relevance:
- Visitors need to understand how to use your site without thinking about it. If they need a user’s manual to find their way around your site, they won’t even try to do it.
- They need to feel your services are relevant for them. If their business has more than 100 employees and you only talk about helping “small businesses,” they won’t believe you’re the right person to hire.
Perceived Value and Desire:
- If you can help them achieve something extremely important, they might jump through a few hoops to hire you. Nothing affects your conversion rate (and your business’s success) as much as how well you communicate your value proposition—the reasons you’re the best option.
- If you don’t give visitors any reason to act quickly, they won’t move forward. People are natural procrastinators—most of us anyway—so their default action is no action.
Trust and Risk:
- You need to earn your visitors’s trust before you can hope for them to hire you. Would you hire a coach, consultant, lawyer, or doctor if you didn’t trust them?
- Find ways to minimize the risk hiring you imposes on your clients. Can you guarantee results, deadlines, or budgets? Don’t ask your clients to take a risk you can remove.
What Makes The Difference?
The conversion principles are the foundation of the work I do; every recommendation about conversion optimization I give is based on them.
But they alone aren’t enough to make your website reach high conversion rates.
They create the foundation for improvement.
But the first thing you should think about is your value proposition.
It’s a collection of the most persuasive reasons people have for taking the action you ask for.
The conversion principles are essentially meant to help you make the communication of your value proposition more effective.
“Clarity and relevance” help you understand how people see your value proposition. In other words, if your site isn’t clear and relevant, people don’t see the reasons for even paying attention to you.
“Perceived value and desire” help you evaluate how people see your value proposition; do they think they have good reasons to listen to you and do they really want what you offer.
“Trust and risk” help you minimize the obvious reasons for not taking any action.
But first you need to know what is your value proposition.
If you’re not sure about it, take a look at the 5-step process I use with my clients to find the core of their value propositions.
And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.
Right now, Peter Sandeen is probably knee-deep in snow with his wife and dogs (he lives in Finland). But you can download his 5-step system for finding the core of your value proposition and landing page checklist to improve your conversion rates.