The modern website, is less about brochures and more about calls to action and getting people to move from casual observer status to prospect, then to lead and finally to customer.
Which is why conversion rates and website traffic have become such hot trending topics in forums, social networks and on seminar circuits.
So it follows that if you have a website, you'd definitely want to know a few things about how to increase your website's conversion rate.
To keep this simple for right now, let's imagine that you're looking for ways to get more people to sign-up to your email list.
1. Valuable and Desirable Incentives
First, you need to forget about giving people who sign-up to your list, any old thing.
When it comes to first impressions, this is really where it begins, because unlike your website (which sits about looking beautiful because you had professional designers build it that way), when someone signs-up to receive emails or to get that sign-up incentive, this is going to be their first real experience of the level of customer support and care that you give your clients.
If you've gone out and found some long outdated piece of irrelevant nonsense or found a badly written e-book that's covered in someone else's branding to use as your incentive then you've lost your opportunity to make a connection and retain this person as a prospect. There's absolutely no point in having people sign-up if they unsubscribe straight after they've received your sign-up incentive because it's so awful.
Instead, grab your latest presentation, the newest research you've done or that fantastic prototype or idea you've been tinkering with and work out how you can turn this into your sign-up incentive (as a powerpoint presentation, an audio recording, a video demonstration, a photographic montage, a mindmap, a checklist, a chart of numbers etc).
If you get butterflies in your stomach, a dry mouth or feel in anyway uncomfortable about putting up your latest 'whatever' for your sign-up incentive, then that's the one you must be using!
With the rapid pace of change online, there's no time for being coy about your newest project, research or idea. If you don't leverage it in some high value way, such as by building your email list, then you may just end up in the dust of some other fast tracked entrepreneur who gets their lesser version released and selling first anyway.
It's these front running ideas, plans and projects that people love to connected with. It helps them feel more important and of value, so stop hiding these things away and give people what they want.
2. Multiple Opportunities To Sign-Up
Go back to the last time you had to make a decision about purchasing something really, really expensive like a house, car, boat or whatever it was for you.
In the real world, you can go see this thing and look it over. You can touch, feel or experience what it's like and ask as many questions about the item as you like and even talk to the seller. When you don't make an instant decision about buying this item, the seller will follow you up with phone calls and emails to remind you of the thing that you're interested in. Yes, because they want to sell it, but also because you're interested in it.
When you're 100% confident that what you have for your prospects is a good match for them, then surely you would want to be reminding them of the opportunity they're missing by not signing-up to your email list.
The sign-up form for your email list must be on every page of your website... and for good measure be in at least two different spots on your home page.
Ideally, you'd even have an entire page dedicated to getting people to sign-up and then put links to this page on other pages of your website.
To accommodate the differences in what attracts people, you may even want to have some of the links as text links and others that are images and some that are web buttons just to increase your chances of getting people to click.
3. Test and Measure Sign-Ups
In a previous article The Surefire Way to Increase Your Online Conversion Rates the technicalities and benefits of using Google Website Optimizer where discussed so that you could easily begin testing your own conversion rates.
Copy-writing guru John Carlton tells a great story about how he more than double the conversion rate of a website, by changing the word 'Get' to 'Gets'.
The only way you can know that a such a simple change will have such a phenomenal effect is if you get some testing and measuring done on your website where it counts.
Your sign-up page is one place where you need to be spending time making changes so that it becomes more persuasive and people want to sign-up.
It's surprising how often our own words get in the way - either by talking too much, not saying enough or simply just using jargon that makes the message unclear.
When you're testing and measuring with something like Google Website Optimizer, you finally get the chance to discover the right words. And the benefits you get out of truly knowing what appeals to your prospects is enormous.
With this knowledge you can change how you position your business in the market, create brand new products, find lucrative hidden niches and basically create ads that work online as well as offline.
By getting serious about conversion rates, you are taking your business marketing to the next level - Getting you closer to the people who really are interested and want what you have.
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