Whether you’re running a brick-and-mortar shop, a sleek office in an industrial park, or a website, you have one goal in running your business:
It doesn’t matter whether “Traffic” means literal feet passing through your doorway, telephones ringing, email alerts pinging, or visitors following links or entering keywords to access your site. Traffic is the goal, the key to the treasure chest, the rainbow that leads to the pot of gold: sales!
When you get foot, phone, or email traffic, the next step is no secret: you respond! A salesperson welcomes the visitor, a friendly voice answers the call, a representative replies to the email. Simple, basic, Business 101, right?
But what do you do when you get a visitor to your website?
Let’s face it – website traffic isn’t easy to come by. Even when you’ve identified your niche and you have a solid search engine optimization strategy, even when you’re using pay per click advertising effectively, it can be a challenge to get visitors to zip past uncountable other sites to land at yours.
So – lacking a friendly salesperson or receptionist, what do you do with those visitors when they arrive?
That’s the biggest difference between real-time and online business tactics. When you have real live customers in your store or on the phone, you’d ordinarily go for the sales, right? Afterward, you’d seal the relationship by inviting them to opt in to your mailing list for news, discounts, coupons, etc.
It’s just the reverse online. Most visitors aren’t looking to buy when they first land on your site: they may be browsing, comparing prices, gathering information, and so on. In fact, unless you have very good web content, most of them will stay less than 7 seconds – then they’re off to the next site, gone, and you’re forgotten!
Stop Them In Their Tracks…With Answers
Your job, before you try to win a single sale, is to capture those visitors. To win some way of staying in touch, staying in front of them, reminding them of your existence long after they’ve left your site. In short – to get them to opt in to your list!
This isn’t like asking a customer to sign up for your newsletter after s/he’s bought a product, as you would in a physical store. You haven’t earned any of those warm fuzzies – and unless you act fast, you’ll never get the chance to earn them! These passing visitors came with a specific problem or need in mind. They aren’t going to want to load up their in-boxes with yet another newsletter unless they know that it fills that need.
So you need to get inside their heads and anticipate their reason for coming to your site. What was the need or problem they were looking to resolve, and how can you answer it? Then, provide at least a part of that answer as an incentive to opt in to your list. You want to put some practical, usable tools in their hands, along with the awareness that you have much more to offer them.
How can you do this? With free information products – articles, e-courses, special reports, teleseminars, etc. – based on the knowledge that you offer to your real-time customers on a daily basis. For example:
- for a camera store: The Five Biggest Mistakes New Digital SLR Users Make, And How to Avoid Them
- for a dog breeder: The Seven Signs That Identify Your New Best Friend
- for a plumber: Leaky Pipes? Save Your Money and Don’t Call Us Till You’ve Tried These Easy DIY Fixes
Offer a Sample Taste of Information
You get the idea – you’re not offloading all your expertise, but answering a specific question that customers ask again and again, establishing the value of your services by offering a free information product that answers their immediate need, rather like the sample trays of products you find in the grocery store.
What else can they do? They need that question answered. And so they opt in to your list and become true prospects, with whom you can build a real relationship that leads to sales.