*** Today, the first step in anyone’s buying quest is without a question visiting the Internet, and the first thing that they are looking for is information. The Internet offers a lot of opportunities for research and education about the products and/or services and the companies that are offering them, and this “research” phase is an inevitable step in the whole buying process.
From the perspective of a business owner, this means one thing: if you want those visitors to your website to stay and ultimately become actual clients, you need not only to understand their needs and demonstrate how your product/service will solve them, but also have a very strong understanding of and cater to each step within their buying cycle.
There is always a path that leads to conversion, and it is your website’s job to make that path clear and each step along it desirable.
Website is a great online marketing tool and if built with the right goals in mind, it can potentially drive online conversions to their highest. Having a website means that at some point during their buying cycle potential buyers are likely to come across it – either through a search engine, social media or a link from another site. And the moment they come to your website’s landing page will be your website’s moment of truth – the ultimate test that will show whether your website is perceived as worthy of staying and doing business with or as just another sales tool (of which there are plenty) and becomes abandoned.
The sad truth is that most websites will in fact be abandoned before they even have a chance to tell their visitors how great their product or service is. Why? Because most websites today are still acting as online sales brochures. With their content focusing around their own business structure, products and services they simply forget the fact that their visitors have actual needs which their product actually solves! After all, visitors that come to a website are real people looking for real solutions and they are not necessarily at that stage of their buying cycle when they are ready to click that magic “purchase” button.
So how can your business increase its website’s potential to capture leads and drive them into a successful buying cycle?
Understand your Buyer’s Needs
Understanding the audience to whom your website should cater is the first and foremost step in order to build a strong content strategy. It takes some actual effort to brainstorm who your buyers are (also called buyer personas), segmenting them into market segments and building a persona profile for each which will answer some important questions around what your buyers’ needs are, how they usually solve them, where they look for their information, what language they use to describe their needs, and so on.
Understand the Buying Cycle and Design your Website Around it
A buying cycle of a buyer persona who is looking to buy birthday candles is likely very different from the buyer persona who wants to buy a car. Understanding the buying cycle in detail will make it easy to design your website in order to serve as an effective sales tool each step along the buying cycle. We will provide more detailed articles in the near future to cover this in more detail.
Website visitors rarely come to your website to look at the list of features of your product or advertisements. There may be a buyer persona who will visit specifically for that, but that will likely happen later in the buying cycle. Therefore, stuffing your website with product or service information cannot be considered buyer-persona-specific content that is meant to educate, engage and entice into the next step in the buying cycle.
Organize Content around the Buyer Persona Needs and the Buying Cycle
There are several ways to organize your website content based on your buyer persona needs, but the most important thing is to actually understand what problems your business will solve for them. Start with the website navigation and make it easy for your visitors to find where they should click next, based on their needs or interests, and then lead them to buyer-persona-specific landing page whose content will cater to that buyer segment. Then make sure that for each step in the buying cycle of each buyer persona you offer something that they will consider valuable and ultimately to the point of conversion (be that a sale, a subscription or a download). Make your content interesting and engaging, fresh and easy to read. Use the language that your buyer personas used (based on your research) in order to have the natural appeal.
When writing content for the web, keep in mind the following specifics about reading on the web in order to write in the way that will make it easy to read your content:
- Reading on the web is tiring for the eyes due to the direct source of light emerging from the monitor (compared to the reflected light when reading on paper).
- Reading rate is 25% slower on the web than that on paper.
- People reading on the web are usually impatient and tend to scan for lists, keywords and hyperlinks rather than reading full text. In fact, only 16% would read full text whereas the rest will skip through paragraphs scanning for indicators that this text is what they need.
- People have different preferred styles of content where one will prefer video content over text, and others will prefer text but be intolerable to videos.
Keeping all of this in mind, your writing for the web should be clear, concise, relevant, on topic, digital, interactive, in various forms.
Make it easy to Complete the Buying Cycle
And finally make it easy to complete that ultimate conversion at the point when the prospect is ready to make that purchase decision (or subscription, or download – whatever your conversion goals are). Complicated processes tend to drive people away.
Websites are not selling tools. Even though your website-s ultimate goal is to convert your visitors, the strategy behind those conversions is much less linear than that. The age of one-way communication is over, and it is only by adapting to the new ways that businesses can survive in the very demanding and competitive world or Internet marketing today.