The First Conversions: What Script Writers Can Teach Online Marketers
Conversions aren't exclusive to the late stage of the sales process. Microconversions matter too. Think about these as the setup leading to the third act:
Getting the First Act Right
To punch up the "first act" or get the early stage conversions right, you need to think about the 98 percent or so of your audience who didn't buy something. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What are their tasks?
- Did they find what they need?
- How likely are they to come back?
- Can you continue the communication and relationship with them?
From your clickstream or traffic monitoring tool, you're not likely to be able to answer these questions. Don't try to answer these questions using traffic — you will not get far. Instead, review things like internal site search (the words used in the search box on YOUR website, not Google and Bing) and voice-of-customer tools that show surveys to visitors. These tools will give you solid data about user intent and task accomplishment rate for tasks prior to the sale.
Once you know what the main tasks are and how well your visitors can accomplish them, you can reallocate your time and resources to fixing the biggest problems on your website, not just the ones on your product page.
Making Sure They Get to the Third Act
The other thing you can do is make sure your visitors can actually FIND your product page. After all, it doesn't matter how explosive your third act is if most of the audience gets bored and leaves during the first two acts.
You can do a lot of things to make your site more effective, and three of the four things I usually recommend aren't exclusive to the product page:
- fix on-site search;
- reduce your navigation categories (unless you're Amazon.com); and
- position your trust symbols where they can decrease anxiety.
Tim Ash is the author of the bestselling book Landing Page Optimization, and CEO of SiteTuners. A computer scientist and cognitive scientist by education (his PhD studies were in Neural Networks and Artificial Intelligence), Tim has developed an expertise in user-centered design, persuasion and understanding online behavior, and landing page testing. In the mid-1990s he became one of the early pioneers in the discipline of website conversion rate optimization. Over the past 15 years, Tim has helped a number of major US and international brands to develop successful web-based initiatives. Companies like Google, Expedia, Kodak, eHarmony, Facebook, American Express, Canon, Nestle, Symantec, Intuit, AutoDesk and many others have benefitted from Tim's deep understanding and innovative perspective.
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