This article by John Rampton is part of our Blogtober event, which features blog posts written by industry influencers in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Although a significant part of your marketing efforts is focused on increasing traffic, the end goal is actually to convert this traffic into sales. There are strategies you can employ to generate that traffic, guide visitors once they arrive on your website, and continue the relationship even after their visit to generate sales.

Here are 10 very familiar marketing styles you may already be using, but now need to look at in terms of conversion.

Before Potential Customers Visit Your Website

Targeted Online Advertising

Your targeted online advertising campaigns have to be focused on the messaging your audience is actively looking for: this includes searches to help them fill a need or solve a problem. You can use Google AdWords, and Facebook ads are great if they’re applicable to your business niche, where consumers want to find you on Facebook (like a retailer). You can run various campaigns to see which ones are generating the most traffic, follow-ups, and conversions, and then hone your advertising strategy toward those messages.

Nielsen noted in 2012 that there is a growing trust in online advertising:

“Thirty-six percent of global online consumers report trust in online video ads, and 33 per cent believe messages in online banner ads, up from 26 per cent in 2007. Ads viewed in search engine results are trusted by 40 per cent of global respondents in Nielsen’s survey, up from 34 per cent in 2007. Sponsored ads on social networking sites are deemed credible by 36 per cent of global respondents.”

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

You want to ensure your landing pages are optimized. Make sure all the other pages on your website are, too, as well as your social media pages: use the keywords and phrases your customers are using to find you. While many people are online just doing research, they may already be ready to buy. Help them find you and connect with an understanding that you offer exactly what they want.

Your competition may not be providing the exact same product or service, so the fewer places potential customers find to buy what they are looking for, the more likely you will be to provide them with what they want. Consult a service that tests and analyzes your SEO, such as Woorank.

Social Media

People who like your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter are more likely to be the kind of leads who can turn into sales. You just need to get them to your website. Therefore, think of social media as having a built-in filtering system. All you need to do is post high-quality content to your various social media accounts that is engaging. Follow-up on comments on these posts and generate conversations with these followers. Use call-to-action buttons and have a link to your website on every social media channel. When you are engaging with this traffic, you have already initiated them into the conversion process.

When Visitors Are on Your Website

Engaging and Reliable Website

Your website doesn’t have to be complicated and full of copy with excessive adjectives and fluff. If anything, that turns traffic away. What you should focus on is having a clean, professional-looking website that loads quickly and that uses a website hosting company that provides guaranteed continued service.

Kissmetrics found that a slow website load time can instantly decrease your conversion rate by 7 per cent. They also found that 40 per cent of visitors will abandon a website if it doesn’t load quickly. Therefore, you will quickly lose that traffic you could have made into a sale. There are many tools you can use to test your website, like Pingdom, so you can identify any loading issues or other bugs that will make your website seem unreliable.

Relevant and Fresh Content

Words and visual content matters. They are the reason some products and services outsell others. Your website content must identify and solve problems that are central to your potential customers’ life and work. In order to keep visitors flowing to your site and make sure they stay, you have to continually update your site with fresh content and new information that convinces them to buy from you. This strategy of regularly updating your content also provides a way to encourage visitors to come back to see what else they can learn—even after they’ve already made a purchase. They may find they want to share your content with others.

Custom Landing Pages

Don’t send your traffic to your home page: It’s not going to engage visitors effectively because it’s impersonal. Instead, by having custom landing pages, you segment your traffic and send them pages that provide the personalized information they need. Landing pages are also an excellent way to track the effectiveness of different online marketing tactics like an AdWords campaign, a Twitter ad, or other types of marketing that get traffic to your site. Companies like GetResponse will help you build custom landing pages quickly and effectively.

Collateral Materials

It’s important to provide collateral materials on your website that will interest visitors and keep them on your site longer. This could include information they can download, like a white paper or case study that illustrates how a product or service will work for them. These free takeaways can be valuable to the traffic being driven to your site.

Even better is the use of video content: This has been proven to be one of the most convincing types of marketing collateral. According to comScore, 45.4 per cent of all Internet users watch at least one video online, while the average viewer watches over 32 online videos a month. They also found that the number of Internet videos people watch adds up to at least one online video per day. Furthermore, 90 per cent of online shoppers say watching a video helped them make a purchase decision from a major website. This research illustrates that this strategy can be an effective way to convert your traffic into sales, as it keeps them on the website longer during the decision-making process and shows in detail what you can do for them.

After Visitors Leave Your Website

Opt-In Form

You need a way to collect information about visitors on your site so you can contact them to follow-up and close the sale. By giving them an opt-in form on the home page, or as part of a special landing page, they can quickly share their contact information. This will help you build a database where you can capture those leads and close them with personalized content. The opt-in form should include your value proposition and acknowledge that you understand what your visitors want or what problems they face.

Remarketing

Even after people leave your website, remarketing provides a way to keep your company at the top of their mind. With remarketing, your brand essentially follows them onto other pages in the form of an online ad. It’s also helpful when people do research and realize you were the better choice, but can’t remember how to get back to you. Seeing your remarketing ads is an ongoing reminder that can work you into their purchase decision; those ads will remind them what you offer and of your value proposition. Make sure you include a call to action to come back and buy.

Email Campaigns

As a way to remind your traffic of your products and services, follow up with email campaigns to those who supplied their email address to receive more information. This is an excellent way to regularly tell them about new products, give them more information, or show you understand their concerns, needs, and desires. For those who are not ready to buy, this is a good way to stay in contact without overselling it.

There are a multitude of ways to convert your website traffic into sales. Start slow, with just a couple methods, to make sure your sales and marketing teams can handle the volume. Implement these conversion strategies to help your salespeople find more quality leads and close more deals.

John Rampton is the founder of Palo Alto, California-based Due, a free online invoicing company specializing in helping businesses bill their clients easily online. You can connect with him @johnrampton.

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