Get the visitor to initiate further contact

 The third dwarf

  1. Previously: we talked about the Seven Dwarfs of effective websites.
  2. Then we looked at the first of these dwarfs, finding qualified visitors.
  3. We discussed ways to keep them beyond a second
The CTA is a critical part of the conversion funnel

This is where you find out if you are in the right place, selling the right hamburgers, visible and sending out good aromas.

When people begin to complicate marketing, be it digital or otherwise, they do nobody a service. Sure there are many skills to learn and some people are simply gifted, but ultimately you have to find a hungry mob and feed them.  If it’s not working the most likely problems are:

  • wrong mob or no mob,
  • they’re not hungry,
  • they can’t see you,
  • it doesn’t smell so good.
  • the closed sign is showing.

If you are deluding yourself that they have to walk past you  eight times before they can be expected to buy, you need to catch on. Sure, if the whole mob walks past a good few times and there’s always an inviting smell and happy looking group dining, you will win the odd extra customer you might not otherwise have had, but don’t fall for this nonsense that keeps journalists in cheap lager. If you were at the point where 2% increase in enquiries was going to get you excited, you wouldn’t be reading this. Furthermore, there may well be many other things you could do at that stage such as new products, cost reduction etc that would have more impact on your bottom line and be  far more measurable and scalable.
Do keep the product and the presentation inviting, but don’t expect that to solve your marketing problems.

Put out your Open Board and don’t be afraid to ask them.

Ok let’s stick to the script here, you have identified your audience and they are visiting, they see you and you hope they will start buying.

  • Let them know you are there to do business without being too overt.
    This could mean a bright unmissable CTA on your page above the fold so they don’t leave because they cant see a place to click “Yes I want to buy”. It could also mean a popup dialogue as they attempt to leave, saying hey, you haven’t tasted these yet. Maybe you need to give them a free taster and get their appetite going.
  • Don’t make them feel they are the only ones foolish enough to come to your place.
    Restaurants often offer free meals or even pay good long people to sit there in the window looking happy. Give some stuff away and ask them if they liked it, if they did ask them to recommend it. Online you can ask all your existing and past customers if they liked and valued your product and then get some of them to write your reviews. Make absolutely sure that they guy you ejected for upsetting the staff doesn’t get to write a bad review and have it sit there unanswered. Stay on top of your reputation all day every day.
  • Talk to them and learn about their likes and dislikes and most of all their feelings.
    In the beginning this standard product management process. Beta and Alpha releases of software were intended to fill this need, but it works equally well in all industries and nothing will endear you to customers like listening to them so you can adjust their product or maybe the overall product if you keep hearing the same things.
    Simple online profiling can be set up by a developer using Google analytics with UTM tags, or you can use an enterprise tool like Hubspot or Salesforce, or a free opensource tool like Mautic. We use it extensively, but it does require considerable patience to master it and maintain it.
    These tools will identify not only pages but clickable sections like tabs and accordions, links etc that were clicked and can be used to tag the user profile identifying a particular need or preference or a buying stage. E.G If someone clicks a section to learn about price comparisons, that might be tagged as “transactional” or “ “close to buying” depending on your preference and you might use these pages to send automated email offers, send the record to the sales CRM for a call or whatever your strategy may be.
  • Always get her phone number.
    If you don’t have any means of communication, how will she know hat you listened and changed the product just like she recommended? Think this through and find a really irresistible freebie you can give her to convince her she should trust you with her phone number. Of course emails are equally good or even better sometimes, but you must develop strategies to build up a little data slowly in small increments, because people will baulk and leave if you face them with a lengthy form, but once you know her email, you can then ask her phone number and first name and she will think ,‘well they already know my email and they don’t spam me so ..”
    Last year I did some work for a University and there CTA lead to a form that I gave up on after 24 minutes and nowhere near the end. This was just to request a standard downloadable curriculum pdf. You guessed, they didn’t get many sign-ups.
    Just remember, apart from being illegal, collecting data for the sake of it is just getting side tracked and it will build a huge problem in the end. Stay focused and stay on topic. Relationships and dialogues are the key not monologues and broadcasts.
  • Keep records and identify weaknesses then analyse and fix.

Even if you only sketch it on a page, you need to know where in the journey they are walking away and look for issues that might be adding to this. We’ll  come back to this another day.

When this under performs,  resist the temptation to run straight for a heat map or something that looks cute and technical, but instead:

  1. Go right back to the beginning and devise a way to satisfy yourself that they definitely visited and they definitely remained past one second.
  2. Use industry benchmarks as a very rough guide to how many you hoped would have clicked your CTA and make sure the traffic was enough to be certain that your poor figures are not simply that classic misunderstanding of the law of averages. If you are convinced that something is wrong organise the list of potential failures according to your own instincts and then begin to work your way through them.
    1. Is the offering popular elsewhere? Are competition doing OK?
    2. Is there anything about the offering I need to verify or change?
    3. Did they ever get to see the offering?
    4. What is the USP? How many strangers can answer that question within 5 seconds of looking at the page? Then 3 seconds, then 1 second.

If the results are OK, are you sure this is representing the offer well to the user? Maybe you need to consider face to face consultations or polls if you can get answers.

  1. Did the users understand the offering and was there definitely no glaring misunderstanding? Is there enough information? Too much information?
    How you present this can be changed to invite clicks to a popup or new page for more detailed information. This in turn gives you feedback about the customer reaction and levels of interest, just don’t get them lost in a dead-end navigationally.
  2. Are you dealing with their key fears and concerns? Maybe your industry has had bad press, there are misconceptions abroad?
  3. Are you appealing to their desires? are you identifying and solving their problem or allying fears? If you are not doing at least one of these successfully, it won’t work very well.
  4. Is the CTA button, or link invisible, or putting them off?
    It’s very simple to set up multiple variants of the CTAs and even navigation schema and see which ones work better over time. Ultimately this is the best way to get to the bottom of issues and not doing is to exclude so much potential for both customer insight and increased profit that it is bordering on a criminal decision not to do it. The same tools I mentioned above and indeed many others can offer a/b testing or even multivariate, though that is a different beast to be handled appropriately.

With a little guile it is not that hard to eliminate, bit by bit, all the likely issues and make substantial changes, something I would recommend even when things are going well, to find out what might work even better.  Be aware though, the notion that all things can be ultimately optimised via small changes tested in A/B tests is a fallacy. Sometimes it simply requires a much bigger landslide change to get anywhere and playing with the colours of buttons wont hack it.

An example that drives it home for me personally is my own experience of driving to Warwick University every morning for 3 years and dreading an hour on the M42, but resigned to the drudgery. I even learned Pilates so I could keep fit while siting in traffic. With 3 months to go, one morning there was a crash and I swiftly changed to a hitherto unknown route  and found myself entering by the back gate 20 whole minutes ahead of schedule. Since then I never wait too long before trying a different approach and big changes are often the ones to try first. Just don’t be scared to think it.

In summary

The part that is ubiquitous in all this and not formally introduced thus far is of course that collecting the right data in the right way and using it correctly is at the heart of everything you do. Without it you have no chance at all of making any improvements. Above all don’t be blinded by all the continuous reference to big data. Rarely is bigger better when it comes to analytics, enough is important and if you are in doubt pick up any trend you hold dear and keep reducing that dataset until the trend disappears. You will find yourself with a very small dataset at that point. The important thing is to understand what the various variables are telling you and to be able to combine standard web analytics data with profiling tags, email, text, notifications and offline channel data to build a 360 degree view of customer engagement, even if it is only with a subset. Only in this way can you confidently optimise your offerings and how you sell them online.

Every few months, rather like Moore’s law in reverse, the amount of information people are willing to absorb and the time they are willing to spend absorbing it is decreasing exponentially. If you are writing whitepapers and expecting web visitors to read and respond, you are in the wrong business. The best place to begin is with a good course in writing adverts for Google ads or a similar platforms. 

Why? Because this will force you to learn how to focus on the key message, make it noticeable and then memorable and get it across in a few lines of text. When you then have the luxury of a small page to work with, you will find it altogether easier to go wild and tell them a bit more. If you need to give them more information make it available in small popup pages that don’t get them lost, or break the navigation journey, but importantly it is optional for those who want it while not getting in the way of the others.

If you are thinking, “That’s rich coming from someone who just published a long blog, I’d remind you that the audience here is as much Google spiders as it is humans and volume of text is critical if you want your stuff rated on Google.

If you would like some a free consultation to find out how we could help you achieve your goals or take some of the burden off your hands, please feel free to call Edward on 0844 8842310 email us at or drop your email and well get in touch to organise a chat 
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