Managing customer acquisition (bringing people to your website) and customer optimisation (designing a website that will convert visitors into customers) is always challenging, and can be very hard to achieve.
Is there a sure-fire way to succeed in both?
Quite simply, no. It is dependent on your business, budget, and available resources.
Both areas are multi-faceted and require a strong understanding for certain tasks. However, there are several areas to focus your attention on to drive traffic to your website and promote a successful customer journey; resulting in the one thing that all businesses want – a conversion!
Below we will look at activities that any company can engage in to help with this journey.
Identify your market
Before you spend time and money increasing traffic you need to be sure that you have correctly identified your market. If you have set up Google Analytics (or another analytic tool) on your website then you can look at the data this has collected to identify your target market, it may not be who you expect.
If you don’t have analytics set up, this is something that should be done ASAP as the data can be invaluable.
Google Analytics is a free tool and a must have for any business. If you are unsure of how to create and use an analytics account, then read this guide created by Google to walk you through the process.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
“Does Google see my website as relevant to my niche?” If the answer is no, then you won’t appear where you’re hoping in the search results. If this is the case you need SEO; the process of increasing website rankings within a search engine results page. To help you determine this, ask yourself if the content and layout on your website reflects what you sell? If it doesn’t then you need to begin with this, if it does then you can look into how to better optimise your existing content.
In order to do this, you can outsource SEO to an agency or create an SEO position in house, but first it is important to assess the scale needed. First thing first, is you need to search all of the terms you want to be shown on the first page of Google, (for example if you are a mail delivery service – does your website appear on Google when you search for this term) If you are ranking low for these (not on the first page) then you will need to allocate a budget for others more skilled in SEO to complete.
For a more in depth introduction to SEO you can visit our recent blog post ‘An Easy Guide To SEO’.
Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising
If you search for a product in Google, often you will see the first few results will be advertisements (the word Ad will be visible on the left). PPC ads are sourced through Google Adwords which allows you to bid on your relevant terms, and can be effective in increasing site traffic. PPC can also be outsourced or you can invest in your own PPC exec if your budget allows. If you plan to do this yourself then make sure that you research and understand how it is done. It involves reviewing search traffic for your chosen keywords on Keyword Planner (another Google tool) and bidding on your selected terms. It is very important that before you begin you clearly outline a budget based upon what you can afford to spend and what each conversion is worth.
This ‘how to’ guide from Google can help you better understand the Adwords process.
Communicate with your audience
Social media and email marketing are a great way of speaking to your market. Make sure that you have company social media accounts. Social media can be a great customer service tool and useful for promoting new products/services. You can advertise on these social media platforms if you feel your audience will respond to this; your advertising budget can be adjusted and increased when available. We recently discussed the Key Elements of a Social Media Strategy that can help you understand which approach is the best for your business.
Email marketing is an effective method of maintaining communication with those who have subscribed to your mailing list. There are many free tools available such as Mail Chimp, and these tend to offer both free and premium versions. If your subscription list is relatively small (2000 subscriber limit on Mail Chimp) then you can use the free version. It is important to remember that when sending emails relevance is key – don’t send an email unless you have something new to share as this can increase unsubscription rates. For more information on how to correctly use email marketing you should read 49 email marketing tips for beginners.
This can be difficult to implement effectively if you don’t have experience or an understanding of how customer optimisation works; if this is true for you then this is an area that should be outsourced – therefore a budget should be allocated based upon your requirements.
This topic could be an entire post on its own due to the level of detail and understanding required but we have outlined the tasks that can be achieved with a basic understanding:
Make each page easily navigable for the user
If a user has to search excessively for information, product pages, or a call to action (order here, subscribe here, call us etc.) then they are far more likely to exit your website. Make your pages clear and include a search function if possible. Another important, and simple, task to complete is to make sure that all important pages within your site (product pages etc.) can be found from the homepage; this can increase your traffic to the pages where conversions take place. Your site hierarchy is very important and can assist both SEO and user experience; this article by Kissmetrics can shed some light on what you can do to strengthen this.
Include a call to action
Make sure that you include an appropriate call to action on your web pages. For many pages this will be an email subscription form but on product/service pages this can be a buy now button or a contact us button on the homepage. It is recommended that these are placed above the fold – which is the portion of the screen visible without scrolling.
Don’t be afraid to make changes
Now that you have a Google Analytics account set up on your website you can use the data gathered to see how users interact with your pages; this information can be a strong indicator in to which pages need changing. If you have a high bounce rate – a user leaving after a single page visit – then there may be conversion issues within this page that need to be addressed. Similarly, if users are exiting your site from product pages without converting then these pages may need to be optimised to encourage the conversion.
If you want to better understand customer optimisation then read this article on optimising landing pages for more insight.
If this article has made you realise that you have work to do then don’t worry, most websites do! If you have little or no budget for this then try to make the most of the low-cost tasks discussed here and research the best practices. As the cost of outsourcing customer acquisition and customer optimisation can vary between websites; it is best to request quotes and ensure that your projected ROI exceeds your expenditure.