Switching Traffic to the Sales Lane
These days, the tech-savvy small business is using search engine optimization to steer customers to its home page. But once those online visitors land, how do you get them to buy? Sure, you can pay a lot for site analytics that give you insights into those potential customers’ shopping habits. But small-business owners now have a variety of simple yet effective tools to tempt visitors into opening their wallets.
Here are the three best ways to convert Web traffic into sales:
1. Install a click-to-call feature. Body By Brooklyn Inc., a spa in Brooklyn, N.Y., had trouble getting people to reserve appointments online, so it turned to Karma Martell, chief executive of KarmaCom Inc., a New York interactive marketing company, for help. Ms. Martell suggested that the spa offer a more direct way to get customers to book spa times quickly and easily via a click-to-call widget on its Web site. Here’s how it works: Customers click the link. A box pops up. They insert a phone number and press a button. A short while later, customers receive a phone call, with the spa staff on the line. “It’s a fabulous way to get instant conversions,” Ms. Martell says. Mira Goldin, the spa’s owner, says she has a 5% to 10% conversion rate on the $250-a-year feature. The spa can also program its hours of operation so that the widget disappears when there’s no one available. Other click-to-call widgets are offered by Jajah, TringMe and Flaphone.
Using personal involvement to close a lead from the Web is smart, says Justin Kitch, chief growth officer for Intuit Inc.’s Small Business Group. “A little light human touch can have a big wow factor,” he says, “because the customer is not expecting it.”
2. Chat with customers online. In late April, home improvement e-tailer Improvement Direct Inc., of Chico, Calif., used a chat feature on its site to converse directly with customers about its products and services. The response was overwhelming. “We got flooded,” says Brandon Proctor, vice president of marketing. “We couldn’t believe how many chats we were getting.” In July alone, the company had more than 300 chats daily and converted them into sales at a rate of 9%. Although it had eight staffers answering the chats, the company was forced to temporarily shut the feature last month because of its popularity, Mr. Proctor says. The company is set to relaunch the chat feature, using Bold Software LLC’s BoldChat program, in the next week or two with more staffers. Cost: $15 to $200 per month, depending on the package.
For a free chat program, you can try Meebo Inc.’s chat program, just like Mike Gallagher, a golf club specialist and club fitter for TopGolf golf shop in Wood Dale, Ill. He also runs FittingBlog.com, where he installed Meebo’s chat widget a month ago. He chats with about five to 10 prospects daily and the number of fittings has risen nearly 20% in the past month. It’s “a way to better interact with our customers and have more of a one-to-one relationship with them,” says Mr. Gallagher, adding that the technology reassures customers who’re spending hundreds of dollars for a golf club fitting.
3. Offer a try-before-you-buy program. For the past three years, Brendan Quirk, owner of Competitive Cyclist, has seen a 60% conversion rate from its nationwide demo program, in which customers can try out a $4,500 bike before buying it. The Little Rock, Ark., high-end bike e-tailer has a fleet of about 175 bikes that it ships to anyone in the continental U.S. for a fee of $300. Customers try one for a week and have 14 days to buy the bike; if they do, they’ll get a $300 credit towards the purchase. The company sends out 600 bikes a year. Mr. Quirk says he’s taking out the No. 1 hurdle that’s preventing customers from taking the big leap: buyer’s regret.
By Raymund Flandez via wsj.com