5 Smart Strategies for Boosting Traffic To Your Site & Increasing Sales Using Email
A long-forgotten mode of communication is email, but it could be the key to breathing life back into your business during this recession. You've heard it before: "the money is in the list." The problem is that it's getting harder and harder to market to people through email.
Spam filters, and unsubscribe rates are high because many marketers don't know how to properly use a mailing list. The old days of endless pitching are over. Consumers are wary of giving out their email addresses because they've been burned by spam in the past. There are 5 ways you can turn things around, though, and stand out from the crowd.
This is salesmanship 101. Few people know how to do it properly, but if you can master the art of storytelling, then you will stand out from the noise in your marketplace. Most businesses go on an endless pitch-fest as soon as they receive an email address.
Customers don't care about your product. They care about their own problems. Old-school salesman have always relied on telling interesting stories to sell their wares. That strategy still works today, and is especially important online. Telling stories helps you to build rapport with your potential customers and gets them to sell themselves. Since you're not telling them to buy anything, they don't feel pressured. If your stories are interesting, you'll be able to sell your products and services regardless of what the economy is doing. Make the stories relevant to whatever you're selling and use analogies to help potential customers see the value in what you're selling.
Train Readers to Visit Your Site
You can use email to boost traffic to your site by training visitors to return to your site. If your story-telling is good enough, you can often drop a link back to your site where they can read more about the solution to their problem. Sometimes, you can even link to an all-out sales letter. If you've been sending them friendly, non-sales related emails for several weeks, an all-out sales letter (if it's done tastefully) can actually boost traffic and sales.
People have been burned by spam. You tread on very thin ice when you try to relentlessly pitch your list. When a person signs up to receive a free report, or some piece of information you have promised, he isn't expecting a thinly veiled sales pitch. This worked in the 1990s. It won't work today.
You make matters worse when you don't even offer what you promised. Surprisingly, many marketers are guilty of this. They promise something of value prior to getting the visitor's name and email, and the welch on that promise. What does the visitor get? Nothing. Put yourself in your potential customer's shoes. How likely would you be to buy anything from someone who only wanted to sell you something and didn't appear to really care about the problems you're trying to solve?
When you relax the pitching a bit, you'll find that more of your emails get opened, more people click on the links inside of those emails, and you'll get more "engagement." This, in turn, leads to more traffic to your site. Eventually your readers will want to know more about you. At that point, they'll be inclined to visit your site.
Use Intelligent Autoresponders and Segment your List
A simple autoresponder isn't good enough these days. Choose a company that offers advanced segmentation. When people do buy from you, you don't want to continue sending them offers for whatever it is that they just bought. You also don't want to keep telling stories to people who may not be interested in hearing from you every week.
An autoresponder with advanced list segmentation capabilities allows your list to self-sort. Your list gets to choose the level of contact you make with them instead of you dictating how often you send them email. There is an old saying in sales that is as true today as it ever was: "people buy when they're ready to buy, not when you're ready to sell." Ignore this maxim at your own risk.
By segmenting your list, your potential customers are put at ease. There's no pressure to buy anything from you so the annoyance factor of being on your list is low. If someone wants to hear from you every day, they can. If they want to hear from you only once per month, they will.
Advanced list segmentation is available from top-tier autoresponder services like Infusionsoft and GetResponse. These services allow you to track click-throughs of links, and segment your list based on user action or inaction.
If a user opens an email, you can segment this person and send emails based on that action. If a sale is made, you can move them from one series of emails to another. This allows you to target your users in a way that simple autoresponders can't.
For example, let's say you send out an email about the importance of buying life insurance on children. Only people who have children are likely to open, read, and click on any links contained in the email. Armed with this information, you can segment everyone who takes action on that email and send them messages that are more relevant to them (i.e. send them emails that are "family friendly" or that contain helpful or useful information for parents).
While these types of autoresponder services are more expensive than entry-level services (especially Infusionsoft), it's well-worth the money. You'll experience fewer spam complaints and a lower unsubscribe rate.
Don't Try To Sell Directly From Paid Ads
Building your list is done most efficiently by buying traffic. You can easily track your cost-per-lead. You can also better target your audience in many cases when compared to organic traffic. On top of that, the results come much faster through paid advertising than through organic traffic.
However, if you try to sell your leads directly from the ad, you'll waste a lot of money trying to convert that traffic right off the bat. It's much better to try to get your traffic to sign up to a mailing list. This way, you won't lose them if they decide not to buy on the first visit.
If you send visitors directly to a sales page from a banner advertisement, you risk losing 97 to 99 percent of the traffic you just bought. This is because typical direct response conversion rates hover at around 1 to 3 percent. What happens to the remaining 97 to 99 percent of the people who don't buy from you on the first visit? They're gone forever. With a mailing list, you have a second, third, fourth, and potentially even an eleventh opportunity to sell something to them.