The 9 Most Powerful Leverage Points to Turn Website Visitors into Customers

    August 2, 2004

High traffic counts are a worthless statistic unless it adds to your bottom line.

Thousands of unique visitors a day to your website may seem like an achievement, but you can’t pay your mortgage with it. You must learn to convert those visitors into buyers.

Increasing your website conversion rate (the percentage of people that come to your website and then make a desired action – like buying something), is the latest buzz among Internet marketers and a highly sought after skill.

You could hire a conversion expert for thousands of dollars, buy a course that promises miracle conversion increases, or you can keep reading and learn 9 powerful principles that will increase your conversion rate.

1. Attract the Right Visitors

You must embrace the shocking reality that not everybody wants what you have to offer. If you are selling spoilers for Honda cars, I don’t want your product, even though I own a car, a Honda even.

If you are selling very expensive shoes for women, my wife doesn’t want your product, even though she is a woman who wears shoes. She isn’t interested in the expensive part.

Do you see how you might possibly be attracting the wrong people to your site?

Unless you really know why people buy your product, you can’t know who you are looking for. Market research, understanding product benefits, and surveying your buyers all provide laser-tight focus on who your target audience is, saving you precious advertising dollars and increasing your conversion rate.

2. Develop a U.S.P.

So you have decided to sell Fantasy Fiction Books online and have started attracting the right audience. But ask yourself, “Why should they buy from you instead of, Barnes & Noble, or all the other booksellers on the Internet?”

Enter the Unique Selling Proposition, a simple statement that communicates why buying from you is more advantageous than buying from Competitor X.

Low price can be a USP, although not the only one. Walmart uses it to devastate their competition. “Always low prices. Always.”

Other USPs could focus on convenience, selection, quality, reliability, better servicewhatever need not being filled in the industry or any benefit that you offer better than the competition.

Developing a strong USP provides potential buyers an initial incentive and a reason to come back again and again.

3. Write Good Sales Copy

Sales copy is simply words that attempt to persuade towards action.

Good sales copy communicates the most powerful and compelling reasons why someone should buy your product. It is geared toward the benefit of the visitor, not your company. It includes an attention grabbing headline that compels people to actually read your copy. Reasons to buy are clearly listed and easily recognized when scanning the page.

Sales copy is incredibly neglected yet one of the most powerful leverage points in selling on the web. You will get many more people to buy your products when you form a powerful argument full of great reasons why they would benefit by buying from you.

4. Inspire Trust

People naturally don’t trust businesses, especially online businesses. If they haven’t bought from you before, you have a hurdle to overcome.

* You can inspire trust by presenting testimonials of users that have bought, used, and benefited from your product. If you are in the B2B market, give case studies how your product or service benefited another business. Include specific numbers for greater credibility.

* You can offer a powerful guarantee that shifts the burden of risk off of the buyer and back on to your company.

* You need a solid and comprehensive privacy policy that tells people what you will do with their information. They probably won’t read it, but they need to see it there.

* You need your business contact information in a place people can find it.

* You can tell people about what kind of security your shopping cart uses.

* You can include seals from the Better Business Bureau or TrustE if you belong to those services.

Bottom line – fear can keep people from buying. You must overcome that fear with facts that inspire trust.

5. Create a Powerful Offer

Begging your visitors to buy from you rather than your competition is pointless. You must give better value, offer stronger guarantees, and have more convenient payment options than your competition.

For examples of powerful offers, watch infomercials that have been on the air awhile. TV time isn’t cheap and infomercials that run for longer than a couple of weeks are probably making good money. Even if you are turned off by the approach, examine the offers and learn why people are buying those products. Infomercial marketers help create offers so good sometimes you feel foolish to pass them up.

6. Eliminate Annoyances

You can’t get people to buy if they are turned off by your website and leave.

According to a 2002 study by Retail Forward, the top 5 website annoyances were: pop up ads, banner ads, congested web pages, slow page loading times, and difficulty finding a product.

Let your competition annoy its visitors and let them come to you. Make your site easy to use and get rid of the most common annoyances to give your visitors every reason to keep coming back to your website.

7. Find Out Why People are Buying

As already mentioned, you must attract the right visitors to your site to increase conversion rate. To do that, you must find out why your customers are buying from you. It may not be the reasons you think.

Interview enough customers and you will see several powerful reasons why they chose to do business with you. That information can help you refine your USP and sales copy to further dominate your competition. Always let the market tell you why they are buying, never assume.

8. Capture Emails

Not everyone will buy from you the first time they come to your web site. If you can collect their email address by giving them something of value for free, you earn the right to market to them again and again.

Say 100 people come to your site in 1 day. 2 buy from you. 25 give you their email. 2 buy later from email offers you send them. You just doubled your conversion rate. Email can be a powerful conversion rate increaser if used wisely.

9. Test, Refine, Re-Test

Rarely does anyone start with a killer conversion rate. There are many ways to apply the principles we have talked about. Only by testing one offer against another, one headline against another, one USP against another, will you find out which option your market connects with the most.

Testing and refining helps you constantly improve based on knowledge gained from factual data. Nothing can be left to chance, assumption or whim if you are really going to make your website into the powerful sales force it could be.

Start implementing, testing, and improving these 9 powerful sales leverage points and you will see your sales rate steadily increase to the benefit of your bottom line.

And that is something you can take to the bank.

James Rosenquist is the owner of “
He gets 35,000 unique visitors daily to 3 of his sites.
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