Converting Visitors Into Buyers

Dec 6, 2006 - 4:22 pm 2 by
Filed Under SES Chicago 2006

Measuring & Converting Track

Converting Visitors Into Buyers

Getting visitors to your web site is only half the battle. To be victorious, you need them to convert into customers by making purchases, signing up for services or fulfilling whatever are your goals. Learn about making this conversion. The latter part of the session takes volunteers from the audience and examines their web sites live to provide general feedback about changing them to improve visitor conversion.

Moderator: Allan Dick, General Manager, Vintage Tub & Bath

Speakers: Michael Sack, Director, SEM technology & Development, Idearc Media Corp. Howard Kaplan, Vice President of Strategic Development, Future Now, Inc.

AD = Allan Dick MS = Michael Sack HK = Howard Kaplan

AD is moderator and launches into the session. How to persuade users when they ignore search marketing.

MS - No power point presentation available for download. The challenge is to go back to job and put principles into action. Alot of information to cover in a very short time. He wants to outline problems we face. Marketers are concerned channels are eroding? 80% of businesses will invest in the web. Perhaps its the customers not responding to marketing? Customers are tuning us out. There's an erosion of mass marketing model. Costs on the rise. Cost of traffic is on the rise. Cost per click is up over 80% than last year. Customers are actively avoiding marketing and hype. Traffic may increase but conversions are low and disappointing. Customers leave w/o getting what they came for.

Study the top exit pages. Look at data, Look at scerario analysis reports. Highly recommended to get the data but what does it tell us about the people? Their fears, dreams, needs, wishes. How do we define conversion. The only thing they care about is how they want to buy. Shows a hilarious example from Joe Dirt movie where the seller isn't selling what the buyer wants. The marketer is selling what the marketer wants to sell because its what he likes.

We're moving away from push to pull marketing. Word of mouth is "Muscular beast". Aim for interconnectivity. Talks about behavorial sciences, like Pavlov. Behavior studies factor into marketing. Take your consumer, your marketing, ring the bell a number of time and you get the conditioned response. He used dogs becasue their digestive track is similar to humans. Runs an audio file of comedy skit on Pavlov and his tests on dogs. Why not cats? Day one, cat fu...ked off, day 2 rang door. day 3 cat had eaten earlier, day 4 cat stolen bad cheese, day 5 cat put a paw on bell made a thunk noise, day 6, I hate food. Customers behave more like dogs than cats. The cat has a staff, and a dog has master. Who controls the bell? We do. We do what we want, when we want. We are a volunteer in this process.

If conversion is important due to rise in traffic costs and consumers are ignoring marketing and they are in control, how to convert them? Conversion is a choice your visitors make. They click or not. Persuasion is a different story. Conversion is a reflection of customer satisfaction. They must achieve their goals. Give them the answer to their question. Help them scratch their itch. What is relevance? He talks about the scent of information. Talks about Jared Spool study and study he did on information scent. If words were desc. they clicked on it. If prices, they clicked. If generic keyword, no click. Trigger words are important here. A web page gives them what they seek or gives link to where it is. If not relevant to user goals, they click the back button.

The problem is "users". Usability is a software metaphor. Users are clearly volunteers in the process. What's the intent behave the keyword? Example, "web analytics consulting" doesn't convert. Describing what that is, will. Add words like "Fully customized" to the description. But what action do you want them to take? The goal is create positive scent. Scent fuels persusasive momentum. It keep consumer engaged and moving thru the process. Study drop off data. Why do they bail after 1 or 2 clicks? What is ave number of clicks in a shopping cart process? Likely more than 80% more than 3 clicks and consumers bail. Make offers clear, precise. Keep reaffirming they are in the right place. It's not just eye candy. It's a formula you are trying to aim for. How do you plan persuasive momemtum.

who are we trying to persuade? What is the action? What does taht person need in order to feel confident? These 3 things are key to persuasive momemtum. (try typing that fast!) There are ways to plan the user experience. Uncover your personas, plan their journey through scenerios, story the creative, test effectivness, implement, measure scenarios to optimize results. Personas help predictive models. You need to understand motivation and can plan for the outcome. Create persuasive scenerio funnel. Driving point to funnel point to way points to points of resolution. (Had a diagram of this.) Do they know what they are looking for? Try to figure out the angles of approach they have? He describes a few user personas. He uses a storytelling technique (I happen to know this. He doesn't call it that. Instead, he read the "Story" of each persona.) It's a good example of how you can create someone like a methodical persona. How would he react to what things on your site? Will they read copy? Or will the persona want the image? Some want copy written to them. Two people will look at and approach and respond differently to the exact same page. They have planned in advance for these two people by creating user personas in advance. Measure actual behavior to expected behavior. Customer satisfaction is key.Give them what they're looking for. What motivates that cat? What makes them decide to buy?

Resources AB Testing white paper, email him for a copy.


Apologizes for not having video and audio in his presentation and won't take as long as preceding speaker. Two sides of lifting conversions. Outside - in. Target keywords. They need to be able to find the site. Find right keywords. Make content findable by SE's. Other marketing avenues. It's more like pull vs push environment. You have to get them through the site. Correctly target your visitors. You will need to keep working on this and improving on it. What works today will not work tomorrow. Put time in testing and analytics. Get the site ready. Target your traffic and landings. Track and learn. Fix your shopping cart. These are 4 steps to improving conversions. Do not make it 20 steps to buy a hat (he had a client that did this.)

Compare your site to the best of the best sites. What makes their site converts. They will brag. Take them apart and try to learn what they have done. Copy them. No rule against that. Don't steal code. See their structure. Navigation.Messaging. How can you adapt this to yours. Emulate best practices. Don't be proud. Identify conversion points. Measure them all. Do you want them to call you? Every magician knows in advance the card you are going to pick.

Control the Experience. Why is the milk in the back of the supermarket? He asked a manager why that is. Because we paid consultants hundreds of thousands to tell us to put it there. This is science. Every store is watching you. They are studying your patterns. They are controlling your experience. What happens online? Can we emulate this? People want a similar experience. They don't want complex navigation. They don't want to get lost. Few companies have gotten homepages right. They are usually a poorly implemented idea. We assume people will click all the way down. They can be info overkill. Too many links, like over 50. Confusing navigation doesn't match the experience in the store. Imagine a store doing this to you. If they had a very large shelf with every product on it at once. This is what ecommerce does.

Showed KMart site. There are over 100 links on the homepage. Where do people go? It was hard to find the search button? Its easy to get lost. If you know Mike is walking into a store and he is more likely to buy if the milk in aisle 6 then you put the milk in aisle 6. What if you satisfy every single customer? You can't know what every sgl customer will want. Leverage the medium. Web is dynamic.Use landing pages. Put the milk anywhere, anytime. Don't need to know who walks into the store. The web enables other methods of ID. Use virtual doorways. one door in real world. Many doors in virtual world. We can use several keyword phrases in search engines to attract the different types of users. Route them this way. Personalization doesn't worl. Groupings of people does. We all behave in similar ways in choosing products. Understand what brings groups into your site. Use good layout, clear purpose, limited options, self id, good search function. Those are elements of a good homepage. Let people search your site. Use market research, make your site fit peoples searches, you will not change how they search.

Target right keywords. Use specific search phrases. Makes for higher conversions and better ROI. Target more search keyphrases. Stem popular keywords, use match type options, comb your logs. It's what they think, not what you think. How are people searching today? Majority of search terms are still one and two word phrases. The long tail is more desc. phrases, lower cost, higher predictability. Expand the "tail" by expanding the keywords. Target more and more phrases. Try to understand WHEN they are shopping for you. Time of day matters. Days, weeks, months have seasonality to them. You can target certain terms for certain times of day. They use heat maps to understand hot zones. They spend more money at certain times of the day on certain words and less at other times. Identify when you get the most conversion times. Target landing. Direct traffic to specific destinations. Direct users to desired content. Control how they navigate the site. Implement test analyzi adjust cycles. Determine best click paths. You want to understand the path people use on your site. Target landing by their intent. DVD players, not saying much from that searcher. Test different landing pages to see if they need more education. What is the best content to show. If they search for model, show them the model of that model. If they add "compare" to the search phrase, show them the list of all DVD models with different pricing. But keep testing the landing page results. He showed an example of testing 3 different versions of a product page to see which one converted better. Keep the one that converts the best. Must be able to track keywords, see click path, track direct and deferred conversion. Understand the impact of keywords as they relate to conversions. SEarch stacks and assists are terms used prior to conversion. Relative contribution. List of terms and how often used to help convert. Track offline conversion too. Include that into your data. You may be doing then you think you are. Elements of a good shopping cart. Few steps, 4 or less. Ask for the least info as poss. Privacy. Let people know where they are in the process. When will they get it. Don't hide things from people. Don't hide charges. Make it savable. Let them return. Give option to enter email to remind them about it. Giftable. Be nice about error messages. No surprise handling and processing fee. Huge reason for abandonment.

Q & A (some quick points)

Show of hands for first time visitors to an SES showed a large number.

You can put tracking codes on site to track online shopper who calls. Free shipping really boosts conversions. Offline presentation notes are available by MS at his email address. Email him to get the info on tracking offline conversions from a website. You can track how many times someone searched for your site by certain terms and the additional terms they add to the keywords they use. They call it a search stack. By use of cookies and other things, they know how people are finding them, and refining their search terms to get to the site.

Human contact is very important on sites. Add a phone number. People wonder why Live Chat and email and phone and etc. The reason is that people have many different preferences for making contact. Don't ask for a lot of information from them beforehand. How to people choose to interact with you is important to understand. They want to feel confident about it. Let them know the types of information you can provide if they make contact. For law firms, increased calls for no charge and anonymous calls. No personal information. Other incentives are no risk, no obligation.


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