Ask not what buyers can do for you. What can you do for them?
There are a couple of things all store owners know about their websites: how many visitors they get and how many inquiries those visitors make. But what about visitors who don’t make inquiries, who visit but aren’t ready to buy? Your job is to tempt them with offers that practically guarantee they’ll return and buy. Maximizing your online conversion is one of the easiest ways to increase sales, and converting leads into sales is a much better strategy than starting over with cold prospects.
A fictitious example: Jane and John run stores. Both get about 100 website visitors per week; from that, both Jane and John receive four email inquiries for product, two of which they convert into sales.
Many businesses would be happy with that. But what about the other 96 people? The simple answer: They are at various stages of the buying process. Let’s assume 20 are just killing time. That leaves 76. Perhaps 50 may look, decide they aren’t interested, and go elsewhere. That leaves 26 prospects who haven’t bought but haven’t said no—and most retailers make little or no attempt to identify them.
Let’s go back to our store owners. John does nothing to re-engage the 26. Jane offers an email sign-up for a monthly $100 voucher drawing; 10 prospects sign up. This tells her they are still interested—and, more important, allows her to capture their email addresses.
Jane follows up with emails offering information about caring for her products, a free coffee voucher from a nearby café (that can only be collected from her store), and an invite to a store event. Seven prospects respond to either the coffee or the event offer. As they come in, she discusses product with five of them; three make a purchase.
Jane has increased her conversion rate by 150 percent, from two to five. And John doesn’t even realize the opportunities he missed.
Most people won’t buy on the first interaction; surveys show it can take as many as seven before a customer makes a purchase. Yet at least 50 percent of your website visitors may be first-timers. If you keep trying to make the sale on the first visit and fail to follow up, you’re leaving a lot of potential customers hanging.
For as little as $20 per month, you can add an email system to your site enabling all visitors to receive a welcoming series of emails—warming them up without trying to close the sale immediately. That, plus a monthly $100 prize drawing, often will be enough to persuade prospects to submit their details, and, eventually, to buy.