Why the HELL Aren’t Visitors Buying?

Will a title like this get some attention?  We shall see, we shall see 🙂

But it is a good question, don’t you think?  This question is one I asked myself over and over again, even now at times, for my first website that sells new and used clogging shoes.  It’s a question you have to asked yourself as an eCommerce business owner. Getting traffic to your site is one thing, but if the traffic doesn’t do anything…

Here are some answers, in the form of questions, I recently gave a client:

  • Have you tried any promotions?
  • Are you getting people to sign up for something or getting visitor information?
  • What do the visitors do when they come to your site?
  • How are they finding you?
  • Are they coming back?
  • If so, what do they do when they come back?

These are questions you have to be able to answer.  Google Analytics or Statcounter.com are tools I use to answer some of these questions. A first time visitor isn’t always that prone to buy until they have a bit of trust with the company.  How can you gain their trust?

Other questions might include:

  • Do you have testimonials or feedback on the site to help build credibility?
  • Are you answering questions you feel visitors may have?
  • Is your site easy to follow?
  • Are you focusing primarily on visitor friendliness, search engine friendliness, or both?

There are probably even more detailed questions that you can ask about traffic.  Some others that come to mind would be “What is the path a visitor takes – home page, then ______ page, then back to home page, then ______ page, then CHECKOUT!”

You need to know what path you want the visitor to take; then make it as easy as possible for them to get through that path.  Maybe even give the visitor multiple ways to get through that path (ie. side navigation links, context links, footer links, pictures, etc.)

So, this is a start.  Visitor conversion is an ongoing maze all online business oweners have to figure out.  The bad news is, there really isn’t a “perfect answer” that I’ve found.  Test! Test! Test!  Then record the information, look it over, and decide what’s working best. Repeat what’s working and stop doing the ineffective stuff.  It’s really about that simple!  🙂

Creative Advertising, Are You Doing It?

I talk to clients all the time about internet marketing, search engine optimization, and a variety other things to help them see results with their online businesses. However, when it comes right down to it, it’s all about making sales. Whether you go out and cold call, talk to friends and family, rely on SEO and SMO strategies, or just generate sales over time, the sale has to be made.

Promotions and creative ads can really help you increase sales. I had a client recently who did a “Free Product Promotion” and saw amazing results. Remember, there are two main things I want to happen with a promotion:

  1. Make a sale! Obviously this is the best thing because hopefully, by making a sale, you’ll also make money – duh.
  2. Get information from the client. Getting names, emails, and contact information of any sort can be almost as good as making the sale. Generally if a visitor does something on your site like give you information, it means they are somewhat interested in what you are offering. Generating leads is actually a business some people focus on. By getting good leads, you can remind them about your business over and over again and eventually they could turn in to a big revenue for your company.

The story below is a perfect example of how this works. It’s also a good example of a well-written press release.

Free Health Drinks Attract Thousands of New Customers to BestHealthFoodStore.net

BestHealthFoodStore.net was offering free health drink samples until they were overwhelmed by thousands of requests from thirsty customers. Daily traffic was steady at about twenty-five visitors a day when store operators suddenly tracked over 2,000 visitors in less than 24 hours.

As the mad dash continued, operators of www.BestHealthFoodStore.net grew uneasy about the costs associated with the promotion. Jane Wakefield, a store owner, said, “We couldn’t believe our eyes as the requests poured in, from one every five minutes, to two or three per minute”. They were forced to discontinue the free health drink promotion.

Smith and Wakefield posted a note on www.BestHealthFoodStore.net mentioning their surprise at the thousands of people who wanted free health drinks. They encouraged visitors to look around the store, use a special code and receive 20% off any purchase. They also offered free health podcasts and articles.

Obviously, this is powerful advertising for a new Internet health food store, but can they afford to send free health drink samples to so many people and stay in business? How many of those people will ever buy anything from BestHealthFoodStore.net? Wakefield answers this question by saying, “It is encouraging that many of the requests reveal a genuine desire for higher quality health products than what is being sold in stores or advertised on TV”. Whether or not there will be enough buyers to keep them in business remains to be seen. For now, though, www.BestHealthFoodStore.net offers all natural, low carb, high fiber foods and health drinks not found at the retail level.

So, as you can see, by doing a creative advertising strategy, this new website business got so much attention they weren’t really sure how to handle it. The important thing is, they’ve learned how effective a creative ad can be to get traffic and build a database to market to now and in the future. I’ve encouraged them to learn from this and make it even more profitable next time. Recording the details of the campaign and then not repeating the mistakes (or repeating the things that really worked) are key to the success of any business.

Now, how are YOU going to implement these ideas with your business plan?

The Jeremy Palmer Affiliate Marketing Test

Affiliate Marketing is defined as:

a method of promoting web businesses (merchants/advertisers) in which an affiliate (publisher) is rewarded for every visitor, subscriber, customer, and/or sale provided through his/her efforts. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affiliate_marketing

As of today, 10.3.2007, I’ve made a total of $380.55 in commissions from Commission Junction starting in Jan 2007. That’s $2,103.55 in sales, 22 sales, 41 items, 1,059 clicks and 72,654 impressions. My best site to date has made $246.11 in commissions, followed by $105.30 and $17.74. As you can see by the numbers, I’m not an avid or dedicated affiliate marketer by any means and have focused more of my time (and money) on dropshipping for my eCommerce business.

As you’ve read recently, I went to CJU 2007 and had the opportunity to meet the one, the only, Jeremy Palmer. He is one of the “big dogs” of affiliate marketing. Thanks to a friend and fellow Utah blogger, I watched a couple testimonials about how Jeremy Palmer has done amazing things for his clients. I met two of these clients at the CJU 2007 Affiliate Marketing Conference in Santa Barbara, California. One of them, Justin Bowem, actually won the Horizon Award as one of the top performers in 2007. These experiences have opened my mind a bit to the potential of affiliate marketing. Obviously there are people making “bank” with commissions on sales.

I got to talk to Jeremy, Justin, and James Hamby at CJU 2007. My time with Jeremy was only for a few minutes, but I got to talk to Justin and James for quite some time. I love asking questions. Here are a few key points I learned from them that are good to take in to account:

  1. Learn website design or know someone who does. I’m not a programmer or designer but know a few people around the block that may be able to help me. You can also find people like this at www.guru.com, www.elance.com and www.getafreelancer.com.
  2. Be prepared to spend money on advertising. Pay Per Click advertising is key if you want to get quick, targeted traffic to your site. However, getting traffic and getting “conversion” are two different things. Just spending the money to get traffic and not knowing what is and isn’t working is like throwing money down the drain.
  3. Analysis, analysis, analysis! Jeremy uses Google Analytics like it’s going out of style. This is a free analytics tool that will tell you almost anything you want about your visitors and what they are doing. Knowing what they’re doing is only a part of the analysis though. It’s also important to know what you want them to do and how to get them to do it. This comes with time and practice.

So, keeping these things in mind, and realizing it may be a shot in the dark, I’m going to challenge myself in front of all my clients and readers.

The affiliate marketing experiment: I recently downloaded Jeremy Palmers eBook about High Level Affiliate Marketing. I plan to print this ebook out and read it at least 2 times within the next month. With the information I learn, I plan to make at least $1,000 in Commissions within the next 3 months. That is at least $333.33 per month net profit starting in November and ending in January 2008. Granted, this isn’t much, but as I’ve said a thousand times – “Small Success leads to Big Success!” I plan to dedicate $250 per month for 3 months to a PPC marketing campaign, something I’ve never done before.

I look forward to seeing the results and then teaching them, in detail, to my clients. Be prepared to get updates from time to time on my progress.