“The thing I still grapple with is turning website visits into sales – any advice on that piece?”
This question to my post, Drive Traffic to Your Website or Social Media Sites? (7 Things a Writer Should Know), inspired today’s topic. Driving paying customers to your website is only a matter of outlining and implementing the steps to take. Here are some things to consider.
- Make it professional and appealing. If your website is garish, disorganized, or amateurish, revamp it before inviting company over.
- Blog for your target audience. Not everyone should blog, but if the idea appeals to you, ask yourself who will come to your site. What would draw them and make them come back? To reach more people, you might want to consider other blogging formats like photo-blogging, vlogging (videos), and podcasts in addition to text.
- Keep an email list and notify it of new blog posts. You can include a purchase offer with a call to action at the end of each of your posts. This is especially effective because research suggests people most often respond to a product with a purchase after seven offers.
- Offer an email newsletter. This is one of the best ways to keep in touch with customers on an ongoing basis. Each time your newsletter shows up in their email inboxes, you and your product(s) will come to mind. This makes you part of the fabric of their everyday lives.
- Engage readers. Answer their questions, host a forum, offer samples of your writing. Anything goes, just so long as you entertain readers while remaining consistent with your brand. If you’re stuck for ideas, get together with a friend or friends and brainstorm.
- Host a contest to draw readers. Give away something of value and require email signup for entry. When your site gains page rank, you’ll likely receive offers of free products in exchange for promoting them. You can also sign up for affiliations that allow you to distribute sample products. As an example, during a blog parade I gave away a complimentary copy of scrapbooking software.
- Launch an ongoing giveaway in exchange for email list sign up. Giving away products when you’re trying to make money may seem counterintuitive, but offering something of value for free can more readily put you in the position of a trusted mentor to visitors. Remember that people buy from those they like and trust and who care about them. False motives stand out and won’t earn you sales. Be genuine and speak from your passions. Giveaways don’t have to be published books. Use your creativity to come up with ideas. Lists and reports have a high perceived value. Whatever you give away, let it come from you. On my Live Write Breathe site for writers, I give away free letterhead stationery and a query letter template that I designed. Since photography is one of my hobbies, at Novel Books, where I inform readers about wholesome books and authors, I offer free computer wallpaper and an additional chance to win book giveaways for email sign up. I’m currently revamping my Janalyn Voigt site, so I don’t have a giveaway going right now, but I plan to offer a free novella to familiarize potential customers with my writing.
- Offer a quality product or products. This should go without saying. If you want the best results for your efforts, be generous.
- Include a landing page with value for the reader and a single call to action. Resist the urge to bore visitors by making your landing page a site directory. That’s what your navigation menu is for. Instead, determine what you want to gain and ask for it in a clear appeal. What if you want more than one thing? Combine them. (Purchase an autographed copy of my latest book, How Penguins Waddle, and receive a free copy of my in-depth report on water birds. As a special bonus, you’ll also receive the monthly Antarctic Adventure newsletter.) It’s all about presentation.
- Promote. Drive traffic to your site by making informed comments (but not blatant self-promotion) on forums and sites with an audience similar to your own. Cross-promoting with another writer or business can also be effective. You should update your social networks with links to your sites and a catchy blurb or excerpt.
Most writers, being artists, can feel a little challenged when it comes to setting up shop. Converting website traffic to sales is what we have to do, though, to reach and retain readers.