Closing the Sale Using Your Web site

The marketing goal of every Web site should be to convert visitors to customers.  This is easier said than done, as many Web sites are online brochures that focus more on describing the company than converting Web site users.  In this first of a two-part series, you will learn to generate conversions from the Web and close more sales from Internet leads.

Any visit to a Web site that results in some form of interaction is a conversion.  There are many ways to measure a Web-based conversion, such as:

  • An online purchase
  • A phone call from a dedicated Web site phone number
  • A form submission for more information
  • A form submission to receive something for free
  • An e-mail to the company sent from the Web site
  • Subscribing to an e-mail newsletter, podcast or other content
  • Signing up for a Webinar, seminar or other event
  • Driving out to your store or office
  • Sending a link to a friend or referring a friend
  • Viewing multi-media on the Web site
  • Making an online donation or pledge
  • Printing a coupon from the Web site

The key is to track and measure these conversions and to make sure you have conversion-related strategies in place.  These exchanges are the beginning of a relationship and should be placed into the sales process so that an ongoing relationship between the company and the customer can develop.

These Web strategies should be defined in your Internet marketing plan and measured to set a desirable conversion rate, overall marketing ROI and ultimate sales goals.

More Web Traffic or More Conversions?

It is common for Web marketers to want more traffic, when many times what they really need is a better conversion rate.  Set a goal of 3 to 5 percent of your Web site traffic converting.  If this traffic is coming to you because they already know your brand, then set a goal of 5 to 10 percent of that traffic converting.

How to Measure Conversions

Set up an account on Google Analytics or some other site monitoring software and track conversions by the type of visitor.  Develop an ROI method to calculate your sales revenue from Web-based conversions.  Google is very good at measuring conversions and setting up conversion paths, especially if you are running paid ads.  Train marketing staff to look for these conversions and ask people how they heard about you and what motivated them to make contact.

Tips to Generate More Web site Conversions

Here are a few ideas for generating more conversions from your Web site:

  • Web site visitors are impulsive, keep content scannable and links simple
  • Set the right message and call to action in your content
  • Place calls to action near popular content and on every page
  • Allow for more depth of content for analytical people
  • The “shopping cart” must be first rate, easy to use and intuitive
  • Use color photos with captions on all photos
  • Landing pages are customized for the unique Web search terms
  • Content and knowledge drives conversions, not flash and graphics
  • Product photos on all pages and detailed descriptions are quite important
  • Provide a money-back guarantee
  • Call your Web site the official Web site
  • Use unique Web phone numbers on every page, along with e-mail and contact forms
  • Test special offers and incentives, especially free shipping
  • Is the motive of the Web site to sell stuff or help people?
  • Draw qualified traffic from the search engines
  • Have a professional, high quality design
  • Use consistent branding and messaging on the site
  • Be well-organized in navigation and usability; this builds credibility
  • Load the Web site with content and media that excites visitors
  • A compelling offer that moves people to action

Sign Up Now!

Should Web site visitors have to sign up before you send them information?  It depends, but it is not usually a good idea because users don’t like it. Test variations and see what happens.
Be generous with your content. You will see results and more conversions.

So what should you do once you’re ready to ramp up your site and make it more alluring and user-friendly?

You’ve got lots of options. First determine what conversions work best and then develop an ideal path to conversion on your Web site. Review your top performing competitors across industries and test various ideas and offers. Use unique, Web-based phone numbers on your site for tracking, and be sure to watch your stats weekly or monthly on Google Analytics or some other tracking software.

Also, be sure to set a conversion rate goal and create a tracking system for measuring conversions and ROI. Test assumptions through “test runs” and by asking for feedback from Web visitors.

Get creative and be realistic about results.  When you have maxed your conversion rates, than get more traffic.  Keep working with your Web site to get better results, and remember it is always under construction.

Tom Young is CEO of Intuitive Websites, Inc., in Colorado Springs, Colo. He can be reached at

Copyright © 2007 Vistage International Inc.

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