This post is going to focus on the tactical aspects of conversion rather than the strategic, not because tactical is more important, but because I think it's neglected. I'll leave all the strategy talk for another blog post at another time.
What do I mean by tactical? I mean the fundamentals of conversion, closing the individual sale. I know a lot of us don't want to sound too sales pitchy, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about convincing your potential customer that buying from you is a good idea. Many years ago, I was a salesman selling stocks over the phone at some boiler-room operation that will remain nameless. Back then, I really did not understand how to sell. I was so bad that one of the people I called over the phone asked to speak with the guy sitting next to me, who was feeding me lines. I clearly didn't know anything and the customer knew it.
Needless to say, I didn't close many accounts, even though I had tons of leads. One of my biggest problems was that I lacked confidence. I was almost afraid to ask for the sale and so I couldn't close effectively. It took me a while to finally get it. When I did get it, it was almost too easy.
My proudest moment came with my last sale at that company, which was also my largest opening trade. In fact, it was the largest opening trade in the entire office. This investor sent me, some guy he never met before, approximately $30k over the phone from one conversation. How did I do it? Confidence had a lot to do with it. I didn't know I was going to close him, but I knew I was going to close. I was literally doing the "cabbage patch" dance during the call. But what did I actually do? I gave him a reason to buy and then asked for the sale.
Just give me a reason! ... to buy from you
I was at a sales training class once and we talked about benefits and features. We talked about how so many people get the two confused. Here's an easy way to tell them apart. Features are the window dressings. Benefits tell the customer what they will get if they buy. For example: a feature of a tablet is the touch screen and the benefit of a tablet is the convenience of watching movies anywhere you want. You may need to take another look at the content throughout your website, especially on your landing pages. Are you talking about benefits or features?
Ask for the sale!
It sounds so elementary but it needs to be said. If you want your site to convert you must ask (or tell) your visitors to buy from you, call you, or fill out your form. In the context of a website, you must give visitors multiple opportunities to buy. I've seen so many websites where the buy now buttons are buried deep on some internal page. That button needs to be on every single page. Whatever you want your visitors to do should also be featured on your homepage.
Putting it together
The final step is juxtaposing the above mentioned elements. That means after you give a visitor a reason to buy, immediately ask for the sale. It's so simple it's almost stupid. Imagine a talent agent trying to sign a new hot vocalist. "I'm going to make you a star. Now sign this contract!"
This is not a cookie cutter methodology. Your sales process may be much longer, require face-time, or take place in a completely different environment. You may have to figure out how your website figures into your sales process and apply these concepts. Regardless of those variables, the fundamentals are the same. Give customers a good reason to buy from you. Then ask for the sale. Sometimes you have to assume the close. But regardless you have to A-B-C, Always Be Closing!