Building traffic to your website is one thing. Converting traffic into sales is quite another. My experience has been that this is wicked hard to do! You can entice prospects with a great-looking website. You can hold their interest with great content. You can even convince them of the competitive advantages of your product or service.
But what’s still missing? Immediacy! The reason they should buy today! Right now! Instead of putting off the sale for some “maybe in the future time,” when the idea of buying may fade into distant memory.
Closing the Sale
In his book Streetwise Relationship Marketing on the Internet, author Roger Parker calls tools to close sales “incentives to buy right now,” and offers some specific suggestions and pithy thoughts on the process.
Parker notes that turning a prospect into a customer—making the sale—is what the relationship marketing process is designed to do. And on your website, this is done, he says, by providing open and premium content for customers at each stage, content that builds on the strengths you are demonstrating and the personal attention you are providing that makes the buying decision simple and the transaction pleasurable and painless.
The transaction stage involves providing specific incentives for visitors to buy right now. It involves “harvesting the seeds” that you planted during the awareness and comparison stages. The transaction stage is where you get down to business and ask for the sale, describing a specific product or service and providing an incentive to act right now.
Individually Targeted Products and Promotions Are a Powerful Way to Close the Sale
Often, your ability to offer the right product and incentive is based on the information you have gathered during the awareness and comparison stages, when you qualified your visitors and identified areas of greatest concern for them. To the extent that you have invited your prospective clients and customers to tell you about themselves, it will be easier and easier to get them to buy.
Transactions can take place both online and offline. Increasingly, however, the success of your business will be defined by your ability to erase the line between online and offline, merging online and offline customers into a single database.
Start by analyzing recent transactions. As you review your invoices and sales records, create three piles of invoices: one for new customers, one for repeat customers, and one for customers who were recommended by friends. Which pile is the largest? This will give you an idea of how effectively your firm is satisfying customers.
8 Questions to Ask to Add Sales Urgency to Your Website
- What types of incentives can I use to encourage prospects to make their first purchase from me?
- What additional product categories can I offer my customers? What other products or services are likely to be purchased along with my primary product or service? Your answer to these questions will help you develop co-marketing, or affinity, programs.
- What products or services are disposable or will expire if they are not sold? Examples of disposable products and services include tickets for whale watch cruises that become useless the moment the ship leaves the dock and winter jackets that become increasingly difficult to sell as summer approaches. Disposable products make ideal premium content coupon incentives.
- What products or services are so profitable that I can significantly discount them and still make a healthy profit—or are worth selling at a loss to create a new customer?
- Where can you identify opportunities for online transactions, such as room reservations, that will reduce selling costs, allowing you to reduce prices for all customers or—even better—offer registered visitors significantly greater discounts?
- What packaging pricing incentives can you offer, such as packages containing two or more products or services bundled at one special promotional price?
- What co-marketing opportunities can you develop with businesses that complement yours? For example, if your art gallery is located downtown, can you create evening out packages that include free parking, discounted meals at a local restaurant, and complimentary corsages from a flower shop?
- What are the seasonal influences on your business and how can you use them to create premium content rewards for registered visitors? For example, what incentives can you offer based on important holidays or your registered visitors’ birthdays and anniversaries?
Takeaways You Can Use
- Provide open and premium content at every stage.
- You can’t offer the right product and incentive without qualifying visitors first.
- Combining online and offline customers may be a potent formula.