Consumers visit a retailer’s website an average of nine times before deciding to buy, according to research from Rakuten Marketing. Even if you don’t sell products or services online, it’s crucial to create an online presence that will attract customers and allow them to learn more about your business. And with the right online presence, you can use your website to drive revenue, even if you don’t utilize e-commerce selling.
Consider these three strategies for optimizing your website to convert visitors into customers.
1. Implement a Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing involves creating and sharing informational material that stimulates interest in your brand or services. No matter the product you're selling, it can be highly valuable as a revenue driver. Content marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing and brings in three times more leads, according to Content Marketing Institute.
You can start producing content by launching a blog, creating reports, white papers or videos and posting them online for free. Focus on providing information that is relevant to your target audience but doesn’t explicitly promote your company. For instance, a farmer’s market might post recipes or ideas for using seasonal produce, and an accountant might post about little-known tax deductions or how to organize your receipts for tax filing.
If you don’t have time to create content yourself, consider outsourcing content production to a content firm or freelancer. There are plenty of writers and video producers helping businesses create and publish great content; find one near you through LinkedIn or your local Chamber of Commerce.
2. Collect Email Addresses to Keep in Touch with Current and Potential Customers
A robust web presence gives you an excellent opportunity to amass contact information to stay connected to your customers and keep your business top of mind for them. You can offer online coupons, insightful reports that you’ve developed through content marketing efforts, or other benefits in exchange for email addresses. You might also consider offering new visitors coupons or other perks through social media and directly through your website. When a discount is available, customers are more likely to provide you with their email address.
Once you have the email address, never misuse or sell it. Create a mailing list and use it only to send out updates, useful content or discounts on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. Hearing from you periodically will help keep customers engaged. Plus, they'll be able to easily refer your business to others by forwarding your emails or coupons electronically.
3. Create a Review Strategy to Build Online Customer Reviews
Research shows that 93 percent of consumers say online reviews have an impact on their purchasing decisions. Potential customers are more likely to do business with you if you have positive customer reviews because third-party reviews add credibility. But you can’t just sit back and hope your customers will choose to leave a review; most are unlikely to do so unless you ask.
Set a goal to get a certain number of online reviews per week or month, and pinpoint the types of reviews you want. For instance, any business can benefit from a positive Google Review, but certain types of businesses may also want reviews on TripAdvisor, Yelp, Facebook and Amazon.
To meet your goal, ask for reviews on social media and directly from customers through your email list. You can also add a link to add a review on your order confirmation for online orders, and with printed cards or on receipts for in-person business. Some small businesses even offer discounts for those who leave online reviews. Be sure to respond to reviews, and especially try to make things right if someone leaves a negative review.
As you work to boost revenue using your website, be sure to continually measure the success of your efforts against the goal you identified at the outset. For instance, you can monitor click-through rates on your emails and track the number of reviews received. If you’re not getting the results you want, keep tweaking your efforts until you find the recipe for online success.