If you’re selling something then you need customers, and one of the most important facets of marketing is to attract said customers with the minimum of fuss and the least, in theory, amount of money. In the past, shop windows were the ideal means of providing entertaining, stylish and attractive displays that told passers-by exactly what you were selling and the reasons why you were better than the other guy down the street. Special offers, eye-catching promotions, excellent advertising and word-of-mouth all ensured steady footfall to your store, however, when your only point of sale is your website then attracting and converting customers is a whole new ball game.
First things first, your website needs to be seen and for this to happen you need to have it at the top of the search engine results page, either by paid or organic means. Once your site is noticed then having customers visit, enjoy and, ultimately, convert to sales is pretty much the essence of modern shopping. The main difference from the high street is that customers have pretty much the whole world at their fingertips so researching and comparing the market is a lot more extensive than how far you’re willing to walk.
SEO is basically ensuring your website is going to offer a user exactly what they’re looking for and optimising for company name/brand, service/product and locale is exactly what’s expected from both search engines and savvy users. As it’s estimated by Google that 78% of searches are for non-branded keywords, ensuring your website is able to rank accordingly is essential.
As mentioned, customers make a purchasing decision based upon: researching and comparing so making sure your site is optimised to assist in this process is exactly what you should be doing in order to avoid users going elsewhere. Frequently asked questions, easy to read product/service info and writing in plain-speak are excellent means of enabling a user to get exactly the information that they require without the need to look anywhere else other than your site.
Think about how a customer is going to do their research and then ask yourself what a search engine will offer as a means of assistance before making sure your site is optimized for long-tail as well as short-tail keyword terms.
After a customer has found everything that they need to know with regards to research then allowing them to make a comparison decision directly from your site is exactly what you should be doing to, again, prevent them going elsewhere. Blog posts, videos, 3rd party quotes and customer testimonials all present excellent means of showing what your product/service does and how it compares to other similar products on the market. If you’re optimized for terms that include: which non-brand name is the best, non-brand name review, brand v’s brand comparison etc. then you’re going to be hitting the nail right on the head when it comes to how users compare before they buy.
Shares, likes, in-bound links and referrals are all exactly what search engines are ranking positively for, so make sure you’ve allowed customers to visit your site and gain as much information possible so they can make a reliable and well-informed purchasing decisions, and pass on the love to their friends, family and followers.
Optimise every page and ensure visitors have a relevant call-to-action that is obvious, easy to use and does exactly what it says it’s going to do. When faced with a buying decision customers want to know that they’re either getting the best, getting a bargain or getting something that comes highly recommended by a trusted source. Take a look at our series of blog posts on inbound marketing for a more in-depth understanding about the use of content to convert visitors to leads/customers.
In the words of Frank ‘Hoss’ Cartwright from Blackpool’s hotel Le Ponderosa: ‘That’s the future Brian: everything under one roof.’