Recruiting new subscribers and customers can be a daunting task—no matter if you’re a new player or established veteran in your field. Paid advertising, hard-hitting email campaigns, longtail SEO efforts… it can all feel like a significant amount of work for what might amount to very little reward.
But there’s good news! You can reduce your risk and turn your prospects into customers. In fact, it’s actually pretty easy.
Here are five strategies to increase your conversion rate and get prospects to say yes to your products and services.
1. Clearly Communicate Your Rock Solid Value Proposition
Do you ever land on a website and you’re not sure if you’ve made it to the right place? You can’t tell what the company does or what the publication’s subject matter even is? It’s not uncommon. Many fail to properly communicate their value proposition.
Unfortunately for those sites, according to ConversionXL, value proposition is the number one thing that determines whether people will continue reading about your product or bounce from your site.
Your value proposition is a clear statement to your customers that how your product solves their problems, what benefits it offers, and finally, why you are different from your competitors. With that in mind, if you don’t know what your value proposition is—or if you’re afraid you aren’t communicating it clearly—start by asking yourself these questions:
- Who are you targeting?
- What problem are you solving for them?
- How you are doing solving that problem better than anyone else? Why you? If you sell a video series, for example, why should they pay for your videos instead of finding something similar for free on YouTube instead?
It’s worth noting that it’s not just about what your value proposition says. It’s also about how you present it to your visitors. According to further research by ConversionXL, it’s important to simplify your web page, use specific images that further clarify your services, and write out your value proposition in as clear and direct language as possible.
You know your value is rock solid. Make sure your audience knows it, too.
2. Give Them an Offer They Can’t Refuse
Everybody likes a deal. Give your audience an offer they simply can’t—or rather won’t—say no to.
Money Back Guarantee
If the customer doesn’t like your product, let them back out of the deal without a penalty. And if you really want to wow your customers, go above and beyond with your money back guarantee. Dawn Dish Soap, for example, will send you two times what you paid for their dishwashing liquid if you don’t think it’s up to snuff.
High Stakes Bonuses
Consider offering your audience bonuses that are worth more than the cost of your product, such as guides, research reports, gift memberships, access to archives, etc. Just look at Amazon Prime. For customers who use Amazon frequently, they pay $99 a year for free shipping, ultimately saving them money in the long run. But the perks of Prime go far beyond two-day packages. Prime lets you stream free music, tv, and movies, plus offers photo storage and more.
A Steep Discount
In the first month or year of subscription, offer your customers deeply discounted rates. (Just make sure you’re clear about the price renewing at the regular rate afterward.) Once they’ve experienced the value of your product, they’ll be content to see their rates rise. Most magazines have been using these tactics with offline efforts for years — introductory teaser rates, often 50% of the full price, to get new subscribers in the door.
3. Limit Their Need for Decision-Making
When you go to a restaurant, do you prefer to order from a thoughtfully planned menu with only a dozen or so dishes that complement one another? Or do you prefer to see a 10-page menu that offers everything from chicken fried steak to margaritas to sashimi?
Research suggests that when we are presented with too much information, the overload of options and data leads us to falsely believe that even mundane or harmless choices have great significance. In short, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you have too many choices. Rather than converting, your prospects might simply close out their browser tab instead of having to decide at all.
To get them to say yes, only ask them to make one decision on each page.
First figure out your ultimate goal: Is it an email sign up, a click to another page, or a conversion? Be clear about the purpose of every page, and don’t confuse the visitor by giving them too many options. When offering a decision, it’s important to be realistic: a first time visitor to your homepage is not going to subscribe to a $1,000 webinar. Consider who will be on the page, where they are coming from, and what they want before you decide on your one goal per page.
Don’t forget to test your goals. Try to have different version of pages based on the behavioral data you have such as new or repeat visitors, their source of traffic, or geographic location.
4. Answer Their Questions and Concerns (Before They Ask)
Don’t run the risk that a prospect will leave your site because they have unanswered questions or they see something on your site they don’t understand. Your copy should address any questions or concerns your prospects might have about your product or service.
What exactly is included? Focus on the benefits of your product upfront, of course, but at some point you have to be clear about the included features. What are the most common objections you hear when speaking with prospects? Address them all online.
Not sure what questions a product or service might elicit? Test your new products on your whales before you release them to the greater public. Whales (or your most loyal, profitable customers) love being part of a product development process. For one Sterling Woods client, we got a 38% response rate on a product development survey when we sent it to this segment.
5. Take Advantage of Social Proof.
Finally, don’t forget about social proof. Nielsen reports that 83% of consumers in 60 countries say they trust recommendations from friends and family over any other form of advertising.
Testimonials and reviews, “As Seen On” media placements, case studies, and word of mouth recommendations are the best form of advertising your business can ask for. It’s one thing to tell your audience what your value proposition is, it’s another entirely for them to hear it from someone they trust. It legitimizes your brand.
How Sterling Woods Can Help
The Sterling Woods Group teaches clients our five forces to methodically make more money online. The goal: make sure you lock in double-digit growth year after year using the power of digital media. Many companies have experienced over 50% growth using our system. Beyond the financial benefits, clients tell us that – for the first time in years – they feel truly focused.
We offer workshops, coaching, and keynote speeches. Sterling Woods is also an agency that launches new digital initiatives, so clients don’t have to add overhead. Our agency business model is unique in that most of our fees are based on performance.
About the Author
Rob Ristagno, Founder and CEO of Sterling Woods, previously served as a senior executive at several digital media and e-commerce businesses, including as COO of America’s Test Kitchen. He started his career as a consultant at McKinsey. Ristagno holds degrees from the Harvard Business School and Dartmouth College and has taught at both Harvard and Boston College.
Rob is the author of A Member is Worth a Thousand Visitors: A Proven Method for Making More Money Online, set to be published in 2018. He regularly speaks at key media conferences, including at Niche Media events, Specialized Information Publishers Association meetings, and the Business Information and Media Summit.