3 Ways to Turn Your Website Into a Conversion Machine
by Brian York, Managing Director, AIM
“This operation is not being planned with any alternatives. This operation is planned as a victory, and that’s the way it’s going to be. We’re going down there, and we’re throwing everything we have into it, and we’re going to make it a success.” ― General Dwight D Eisenhower
Last week, marketers from every continent gathered at Chateau de Courtomer in Normandy, France to discuss the Agora model. In the span of two days we hunkered down in the Orangerie and discussed lead acquisition, customer relationships, paid search, SEO and video marketing. Between bites of baguette and games of Petanque we traded ideas for new products and promotions… we used our global experience to solve our shared global problems. We’ll report back in this space as we see these ideas come to fruition.
In our international markets, one of our biggest challenges has always been list building. Outside of the United States, the list universe is essentially non-existent. Native ad / content networks like Taboola and Outbrain have a presence, but not to the scale that we see in the United States. How do we succeed in these markets? We do what we know best… we build relationships. The majority of our international businesses use the tried and true 2-step model. That is, build a list through lead generation and build a relationship with our content. If we do this right, we ultimately acquire a paid reader. Sounds simple right?
Just how do we go about building our lists? Google Adwords has, historically, been the largest channel. But over time our channels have diversified, as they should. Putting all your eggs in one basket is a recipe for failure. Our marketing spend with Facebook has grown exponentially over the past few years. Many businesses are using native networks for lead generation and SEO has finally taken its place as an absolute necessity in our war chest.
SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s hard work… and it’s no magic bullet. SEO drives traffic… the website is responsible for conversion… and that’s what we’re going to discuss today.
Before any discussion about a website and its ability to convert passive visitors to engaged readers, we need to discuss goals. At Agora we typically have three different kinds of websites: 1) feeder sites, 2) fulfillment sites and 3) microsites. The goal for each of these sites is different and it MUST be defined and MUST be measurable. We are direct response marketers. Testing runs through our veins. How can we improve our results if we can’t assign a quantitative value to our goals.
The sites mentioned above typically have three different purposes:
1. Feeder Sites: These sites house all of our e-letter content. They are SEO magnets. The primary goal of this site is to get an email address.
2. Fulfillment Sites: This is where our paid readers come to get the content they paid for. This is the perfect spot to cross sell or upsell your reader into a new service.
3. Microsites: Do me a favor. After you read this issue, go to Google and search for the name of one of your products, the editor of that product and some key phrases in the promotion for that product. Do you dominate the top 5 spots in Google for all of those searches? If not, you should. We know people search for more information about us after seeing our promotions. A microsite is designed to capture that searcher and throw them back into the sales funnel.
One of the workshops last week in Courtomer was titled, “11 Ways to Turn Your Website into a Conversion Machine… and One Way to Help Your Customers Cancel!” We won’t be covering all 11 of these techniques today. We’re conscious of the fact that it’s a Friday and everyone has a lot to do before heading off to enjoy the weekend. So today we will cover the top 3… and we’ll save the cancellation discussion for a future issue.
- One of the workshops last week in Courtomer was titled, “11 Ways to Turn Your Website into a Conversion Machine… and One Way to Help Your Customers Cancel!” We won’t be covering all 11 of these techniques today. We’re conscious of the fact that it’s a Friday and everyone has a lot to do before heading off to enjoy the weekend. So today we will cover the top 3… and we’ll save the cancellation discussion for a future issue.
- Don’t roll your eyes when I say this, but popups are alive and well. I mention this only because I see so many sites that DON’T use popups. Or, if they do, they don’t use them on their mobile site. I have another favor to ask when you finish this article – go to all of your websites and check to see that an exit pop or a timed pop is in place. Then visit all of them again on a mobile device to make sure the popup works on mobile. The online world of Agora was built on popups… they have always been one of our most valuable sources for names. When Windows XP introduced popup blocking in 2004, many marketers stopped using them. As technology evolved, popups became a viable option again… use them! One Agora business latestly added a mobile popup and doubled their conversions… who wouldn’t want that?Do you know the mission statement for your business? Do you know the core franchise ideas? If not, you should. Discuss this with your publisher. These core ideas define everything, from your content, to your promotions, to your lead generation funnels. You should also have a free report for each of these core ideas. These reports can be used for thematic lead generation. Do you talk a lot about gold in your business? Give away a gold report on the gold pages of your website in exchange for an email address. One Agora business did just that and doubled their conversion rate. Core franchise ideas are the golden thread that tie lead generation, to content, to front end and back end sales, leads to a lower CPA and higher LTV.
- Last but certainly not least, remarketing is one of the most powerful tools in a marketers war chest. For those that aren’t familiar with the term (and I hope there aren’t many of you), remarketing allows you to serve ads to people who have previously visited your website, promotions, Facebook page, or pretty much any of your online assets.
If you can envision a target, our goal as direct response marketers is to start by hitting the bulls-eye and then slowly work outwards to less qualified people.Remarketing represents the first circle outside of the bulls-eye, those that had enough interest to look, but didn’t take your desired action.As Yoda once said, “Do, or do not.There is no try”.In this case I hope you DO.Remarket whenever and wherever possible… squeeze your site traffic to increase your conversion rate.
Before I go… a picture from last week. Part of the AIM team doing ‘Blue Steel’ in the billiards room at Chateau de Courtomer (left to right: Grant Perry, Natalie Eagling and Brian York).
Need help implementing any of these ideas? Get in touch with AIM and we can assist. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
All the best,
Managing Director, AIM
P.S. Remember your 2 takeaways to do right away: 1) check all of your sites on for pop ups on desktop and mobile devices and 2) go to Google and search for the name of one of your products, the editor of that product, and some key phrase in the promotion for that product.