Tweaking the Steps Along Your Sales Path
By Karyn Greenstreet
copyright © 2009, by Karyn Greenstreet. All rights reserved.
Do you sell products and services via the internet?
Do you get the results you want?
If you didn't get the results you want, it is helpful to re-visit each step of your "sales path" to see where tweaks can be made.
For instance, let's say your sales path starts with an email broadcast, which directs the reader to your website. Here are the different statistics you will want to analyze to see what's working and what's not.
- Open Rate: The open rate indicates how many people opened your email. Open rates, on average, hover around 35-40%. However, you can also assume that 50 percent of people are opening your email in such a way that images are not shown. (When images are not shown, no image "beacon" is sent back to the email company and you can't track that the recipient opened the email.) So if your statistics show a 22% open rate, you can double that and safely calculate that it's really closer to 44% who have opened the email. If your open rate falls below the average of 35%, then you need to re-write your email to be more informative and compelling.
- Click Through Rate (CTR): Just because someone opens an email doesn't mean they read it. (Surprise!) One way to calculate whether people are actually reading your emails is click-through rate. CTR measures how many people actually took action on what they read by clicking on a link in the email. You can track CTR either through your email system or your website/shopping cart statistics. (I recommend you use Google Analytics, if you are not already using it. It's free and it allows you to manipulate easily what you're looking for.)
- Time on Page: Once they click through from the email to the website page where you are making your offer, how long are they staying there? You can get this information from your website statistics. This number tells you whether visitors are actually reading the text or not. If you have too much text, people may be turned off by it (I call it the "I'll read it later when I have time" syndrome). Perhaps the way the text is formatted isn't conducive to reading. Maybe it's too hard to read because the font is too small. Or maybe (gasp!) it doesn't answer their questions or is not good marketing text, and needs to be re-written entirely.
- Call to Action: On every website page and in every email, you must tell the reader what to do next. Don't assume that they know to click on a link or to call for an appointment. Tell them.
- Conversions: Once they reach your website, do they take the action you want them to? When a website visitor takes an action, we call that a conversion; it converts them from a visitor into a prospect/lead, or even better, into a paying customer. You can compare your website statistics with your own prospect and sales statistics to see how well your website page is converting visitors. For example, if five people call you to ask about your services after visiting your page, and there have been 50 people who visited your page, then your conversion rate is 10%. If they land on your page, read it, and still don't take action, then there are serious problems that need to be addressed.
Every step along the sales path, from email to shopping cart (or prospect phone call) is an opportunity to tweak your technique. Once you find the right combination of steps 1-5 that brings the best results, you then repeat that over and over again.