10 Tips for Converting Website Visitors to Customers

Money-in-hand“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.

  1. Make it professional and appealing.  If your website is garish, disorganized, or amateurish, revamp it before inviting company over.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Offer a quality product or products. This should go without saying. If you want the best results for your efforts, be generous.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

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Radio Days

When I completed my first book, my boss was incredibly supportive and offered to get a marketing package for me of my own choosing. Having very little understanding of book marketing, I was soon swimming in a flood of possible opportunities of all different shapes, sizes, and price tags. I finally settled on the Readers Favorite’s Book Promotion Packagewhich I found to be reasonably priced and reputable. One of their strategic partners, The Authors Show, welcomed me as a preferred guest as part of said package.

I had never been on the radio before and was rather anxious about sounding like a moron.  I didn’t worry for long, though, because it was clear that The Authors Show staff had the interview process down to a science. They sent me an author interview form to complete. It asked for pertinent information about the book. They allowed me to create 8-10 suggested questions that would relate to its content and would connect with an audience. There was a place to create a synopsis, a call to action to encourage buying behavior, and a list of preparatory questions so I would have an idea of what to expect.  Some of the questions were very thought provoking and have helped me during other marketing initiatives as well. For example: What benefits will the buyer get from reading the book?

After I completed the interview form and submitted it, I didn’t wait long until the interview was scheduled. It was conducted over the phone by Don McCauley, who was very kind. Before we got started, he encouraged me to relax and be as natural as possible. He assured me that they would edit the interview and remove any pauses or filler words.

When the time for the interview came, I was sure to secure a remote location without any distractions or background noises. I used a headset which seemed to help the audio quality. My gracious host made me feel very much at ease throughout the call which only lasted about thirty minutes.

Once the interview was edited, it came out to be fifteen minutes long. The interview was featured on The Authors Show for an entire month. During this time, I leveraged all the social media tools in my arsenal to get the word out: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, my website, et cetera. After my time on The Authors Show website was up, they sent me an MP3 file of the interview. It’s still available on YouTube and accessible through my website. People have marveled, “You sound so knowledgeable!”  That’s nice to hear, but it’s because the marketing company set me up for success.

Aside from Amazon, the radio interview has been the best marketing vehicle I have found so far, and it’s by far the most impressive facet of my campaign.  It lives on the front page of my website and enjoys prime real estate. I will always be grateful to my boss, to Don, and to the good people at The Authors Show for providing me with this great facet of my marketing toolbox.

Have you ever used radio as a book marketing tool? How do you get the word out about your writing?

Drive Traffic to Your Website Or Social Media Sites? (7 Things A Writer Should Know)

Image-of-Traffic

With so many people on social media sites nowadays, it’s tempting to ask yourself if you should forget about driving traffic to your website and focus on marketing elsewhere. Why not go where people already are instead of making what can seem like a herculean effort to drive traffic to your site?

The answer to this question is that yes, you should go where people congregate, but yes, you should also invite, bribe, entice, and otherwise encourage others to your website. Here’s why:

  1. Social networking sites own your list of friends and followers. You don’t. If one of them goes out of business, it won’t matter that you have 4,000 followers. Every one of them will vanish into cyber space. By contrast, the list you build through your website belongs to you.
  2. People want to know where you live online. If you’re spread thin across social networks without a strong central hub, your brand will be ineffective at best. Branding is all about distilling your essence for others to grasp with minimal effort. If your online presence is scattered, you’ll have a hard time maintaining a brand.
  3. A neglected website reflects poorly on its owner. Those who connect with you on social sites will sometimes visit your website. A languishing website may make the casual visitor wonder what else you neglect in your writing business. The same can be said of a languishing social media account. You shouldn’t try to be everywhere, so pick and choose where you will and won’t maintain an online presence.
  4. Exclusivity. If your website becomes one of those places people gather, you won’t have to go out and haul people in to connect with you.This takes a great deal of thought and legwork up front, but after that it can pay off.
  5. Less competition. That’s usually not true on social sites where instant messages, notifications, advertisements, and the updates of others all compete for attention. You still need to have an interesting website, but at least visitors will have fewer interruptions while you try to maintain their interest.
  6. Higher search engine rankings. The more traffic your website generates, the higher it ranks in search engines. A higher search engine ranking means that those who enter keyword searches matching content on your website will find your site closer to the top of search results. This brings traffic to your site without any additional effort on your part.
  7. The ability to sell products. Once you give friends and followers a valid reason to come to your site, you can then offer products to them. This privilege can be abused, so be considerate. Remember that visitors to your site want an immediate takeaway, usually for free. Without one, they may not hang around long enough to buy anything.

Do all your social media accounts point to your website? If not, I suggest you change that as soon as possible.

What are your thoughts on this subject?

Related Posts:

SEO Is Not Enough To Grow Your Blog Subscriber List!

Marketing with Integrity: 5 Tips On What Not to Do

Social Media Numbers: How Many Friends and Followers Are Enough?