The results of a new study, released by Marketing Sherpa, on website consumer conversions have been doing the rounds recently on the search marketing blogs, and are worthy of a mention here.
The study, entitled ‘Digital Window Shopping: The Long Delay Before Buying’, has discovered that it’s now taking an average of 34 hours to convert a website visitor into a customer.
The fact that it was only 19 hours in 2005 – and has increased by 80% – has alarmed a few people. Many are now scratching their heads and wondering how they can regain the confidence of these hesitant consumers.
Marketing Sherpa Content Director, Anne Holland, has offered four suggestions on how businesses can improve their conversion times:
1. With every page now potentially a landing page, it’s crucial to provide an ‘about us’ explanation or link on every page so that visitors know where they are. You don’t want to waste all the time and effort on an organic search strategy just to lose shoppers because they think they’ve arrived at the wrong place.
2. Grab email addresses early before visitors have reached the shopping cart. That way you can develop the sales process even after they’ve left. Offer discount coupons, a newsletter or white paper to persuade them to trust you with their email address.
3. Content, content, content – provide generous descriptions, specs, case studies, comparisons and reviews to remove hurdles tripping up a sale. Consumers don’t just make a buying decision by price, but by trust. What’s your business’ background? How have you dealt with a customer’s problems in the past? Why is your product and expertise superior to your competition? All questions you can answer through clearly worded, engaging content.
4. Offer an exclusive bonus that can’t be found elsewhere. Give visitors a reason why they should buy from you. As in point 2, offer a white paper, discount or free gift with every purchase. Leverage your knowledge and expertise to provide the customer with something of value and you’re laying the groundwork for repeat sales at the same time.
A lot of search marketers seem to be dwelling on the need to change their PPC campaign analytics to reflect the fact that less consumers are purchasing on the first visit
Perhaps the main concern should be why fewer consumers are converting in the first place. With the internet now a resource for product and service information, many shoppers will spend hours trawling forums and reading reviews before they’ve built the confidence to make a purchase. If you can provide a one stop resource for all that research, and answer all their questions, then they won’t need to leave in the first place.
Many businesses continue to spend a large portion of their internet marketing budget on short term PPC, in the hope of converting a certain percentage of visitors. Maybe it’s time to think about investing more in a website’s copywriting so you can convert a higher percentage on a long-term basis.
Reports on the need for good quality copywriting, and a generous supply of content, are piling up all the time. Consumer mindsets have changed. Maybe its time more business mindsets did as well.