21 secrets for turning your website visitors into buyers

Still in my boxers and last season’s t-ball coach t-shirt, I “attended” an Acquisio webinar on Facebook marketing last week (ain’t working from home grand?). A follow up from the moderator prompted me to explore their blog (It can be seen at:  http://www.acquisio.com/blog/?mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRonuKvPZKXonjHpfsX56u4qXqag38431UFwdcjKPmjr1YcGTdQhcOuuEwcWGog8wQ9JD%2BmGdY8%3D) where I read about a guy named Bryan Eisenberg deliver his famous “21 Secrets to Top Converting Websites.”

“Conversions” is webspeak for the number of visitors who actually purchased something on your site. So, without further ado, the 21 secrets to becoming a top converting website is listed below. As you read through them ask yourself if your site has/does each secret. My site (www.markfadden.com) needs some help in almost every catergory to become a top converting website. For in the words of that Mississippi scribbler Johnny Grisham, “never forget that writing is a business.” Our websites are our storefronts, put the amount of spit and polish on yours that it deserves.

  • They communicate UVPs and UCPs. Why? They need to remember why they want to do business with you.
  • They make persuasive and relevant offers. Free shipping is the number one motivator for people to buy.
  • They reinforce the offer site-wide. The second you erode your customer’s confidence, there’s a 90 percent chance they’re going to bounce.
  • They maintain scent. For instance, banner ads and landing pages should look interrelated. Colors and offers should carry through. But landing page optimization is not enough. It needs to connect throughout all customers’ journeys and processes.
  • They make a strong first impression. A good story can help.
  • They appeal to multiple personas/segments. There are different types of decision making processes and you can’t reach them all the same way. Personas build predictive models. Simple personas include decision making styles, buying stages and some basic segmentation. Robust personas include Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator psychological profiles.
  • They don’t do slice and dice optimization. If you slice and dice lots of variations of a page, it takes time and resources and there’s an opportunity cost. A better way is to use the Persuasion Architecture ® process. Test for impact, not for variations.
  • They leverage social commerce and use voice of customer. Amazon was the first to leverage customer content to sell. You’ll find reviews that are poems, romance stories, and jokes. This content sells products because users trust other people like them.
  • They use it for navigation. Anything you can help people do to sort out products, it’s a good idea. A sort by rating option can drive conversions.
  • They use it for promotions. Adding user-generated content enhances e-mail conversions.
  • They use it for credibility. A shoe shopping site put a return-o-meter on each product based on the return rate of the shoe. It gives shoppers a good idea of whether the shoe is true to size or not and that builds credibility.
  • They use social commerce for feedback and research. Your $100 solution – UserTesting.com. There are a lot of other low cost solutions as well. Usability is great, but it’s not enough. It’s the experience that matters, not just knowing how things work.
  • They user persuasion principles like scarcity, reciprocation, authority, consistency, consensus, and linking. They focus on making things more persuasive.
  • They even make forms engaging. Why must a user create an account before you sign up? Try putting it on the thank you page because once they’ve given you money, they’re likely to give you more.
  • They provide point of action assurances. Make people comfortable so they’re more likely to stick around.
  • They keep you in the process. Expected shipping time, an explanation of what you’ll do after they fill out the form, etc.
  • They consider e-mail preview.
  • They budget for experience. If you’re not budgeting for making your site better, you can’t win in the conversion game. If faced with the choice of build a better experience or advertise more, pick the better experience. Invest in continuous improvement. Align customers and business objectives.
  • They utilize a system for prioritization. There are probably hundreds of things on your site you may want to fix, so prioritize. This will help the organization buy into it.
  • They make data driven decisions. To do Web analytics/optimization correctly you have to make a to-do list regularly. What marketing efforts or parts of your site have challenges? What you think needs to be improved and what things you want to test? And what efforts you should do less of or more of?
  • They know how to execute rapidly. Within two hours of Michael Jackson’s death, Amazon had reconfigured their MP3 landing page. You have to get good making changes everyday, every hour, what it takes to be successful
  • So there you have it. Will all of the 21 secrets of top converting websites be applicable to your website? Probably not. But, most will. Now get cracking on making those necessary changes. Or bribe your 15 year old nephew who’s a whiz at html to do it. I hear a $50 itunes gift card should just about cover it.

    The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

    Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow… 

    ****************************************************

    Here’s what readers are saying about Mark’s latest thriller The Brink:

    “I finally had a chance to sit down and read The Brink–all the way through in a day and a half. The story is gripping, even frightening, and you capture the suspense in the rhythm of your prose. In places I was reading so fast I felt like I was in the chase! I’ll put it on the shelf next to my signed copy of Lonesome Dove, in the gallery of great contemporary writers!” – Bob H., Amarillo, TX

    “[Mark Fadden] is the next Dan Brown.” – Arlene D., Southlake, TX

    “Truly a pager turner for me. I could not put the book down. Every time I thought I had figured something out, the next twist came up. If you like conspiracy theories, you’ll love this one.” – Sharon L, Houston, TX

    Want to start reading The Brink right now? Download the eBook version from amazon.com for less that $10 at http://www.amazon.com/The-Brink-ebook/dp/B003OYIEPC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1284567122&sr=8-2 or bn.com at http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Brink/Mark-Fadden/e/9781450210492/?itm=1&USRI=mark+fadden.

    Get 20% off when you order a signed copy of The Brink as a keepsake for yourself or as the ultimate one-of-a-kind gift at http://shop.markfadden.com/

    Decreasing your bounce rate

    Bounce rates are important. Don’t know what a bounce rate is? You should. In the words of John Grisham, “never forget that writing is a business,” and bounce rates are the heartbeat of today’s author’s online platform. Whether about a website or a blog, your bounce rate shows you the percentage of people who bounce off to other websites or blogs rather than surfing more content on your site or blog. Chances are if you have a high bounce rate (high percentage) then folks aren’t interested in your site and they aren’t interested in your book. If you sell copies of your book on your site (and you should) then a high bounce rate is an area of concern. As soon as you finish reading this post, you should go fix your site or blog to lower your bounce rate. Don’t know where to find your bounce rate? Check your site analytics or blog statistics information.

    How to lower your bounce rate? I got these ideas from Karan Labra’s article on techfudge.net:

    Target the right audience.

    Bloggers tend to get high bounce rate because they may not be targeting the right audience. If you get visitors who aren’t looking for the content you provide then you give them no reason to stay on your site and navigate more. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that you target the right people.


    Know what your visitors expect.

    If you are not able to provide what your visitors are looking for then they might not be concerned what else you have to offer. They will simply leave your page if they do not find what they were expecting . Just know what your visitors want and try to fulfill their needs.


    Internal linking

    Internal linking is a great way to keep your visitors preoccupied with your site rather than letting them think of visiting another website. Interlinking related pages is the best possible way to make your readers aware of the stuff you have to offer which interests them.

    Well you can use different plugins like:


    Modify your navigation.

    Integrate your categories in the navigation itself and make it reachable by your visitors. This will allow them to lookout more content and help them stay on your site for longer.


    Have a unique design

    Having a unique design makes your blog distinguishable from other blogs and will help your visitors register it in their minds. Moreover the more appealing your design is the more readers will it attract. People would like to stay on your site for longer rather than visit sites with ugly layout and bad navigation.


    Engage into discussions

    Carrying out healthy discussions on your blog will make it look alive and will make new visitors engage into those discussions too. This will make them stay longer on your site and thus again help decrease the bounce rate.


    My concluding words would be that, just keep investigating what your readers are looking for and provide what they are really searching for. Answering their real questions is the key to success. Be informative and helpful and you will see a significant improvement in your stats.”

    Good advice, right? More good advice comes tomorrow night as I recap my meeting with the North Richland Hills Lions Club. There’s gold in them there unusual venues, fellow writers! I also got some great ideas on improving our author presentations to community groups. If you follow these steps, you should double your potential book sales. You won’t want to miss these ideas!

    Until then,

    The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

    Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow… 

    ****************************************************

    Here’s what readers are saying about Mark’s latest thriller The Brink:

    “I finally had a chance to sit down and read The Brink–all the way through in a day and a half. The story is gripping, even frightening, and you capture the suspense in the rhythm of your prose. In places I was reading so fast I felt like I was in the chase! I’ll put it on the shelf next to my signed copy of Lonesome Dove, in the gallery of great contemporary writers!” – Bob H., Amarillo, TX

    “[Mark Fadden] is the next Dan Brown.” – Arlene D., Southlake, TX

    “Truly a pager turner for me. I could not put the book down. Every time I thought I had figured something out, the next twist came up. If you like conspiracy theories, you’ll love this one.” – Sharon L, Houston, TX

    Want to start reading The Brink right now? Download the eBook version from amazon.com for less that $10 at http://www.amazon.com/The-Brink-ebook/dp/B003OYIEPC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1284567122&sr=8-2 or bn.com at http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-Brink/Mark-Fadden/e/9781450210492/?itm=1&USRI=mark+fadden.

    Order a signed copy of The Brink as a keepsake for yourself or as the ultimate one-of-a-kind gift at http://markfadden.com/buyabook.html

    News Release – Texas author begins book marketing lecture tour

    Sept 17, 2010 – Colleyville, Texas – The Internet has changed almost every facet of the way we do business. For authors, the Internet is a powerful tool to reach readers, but few understand how to fully utilize it to maximize their marketing dollars. Fortunately, Colleyville author Mark Fadden is hoping to educate other authors on how to use the Internet, and more specifically social media, to sell books.

    “Never forget that writing is a business,” was Fadden’s central message of his Get Your Book Read! lecture last night at the Little Elm Public Library in Little Elm, Texas. Fadden’s latest thriller, entitled The Brink, which was recently published in May 2010, uses the current financial crisis as the foundation of a fast-paced suspense thriller in which a fugitive Texas Ranger helps a woman running for her life, only to get sucked into a secret society’s plot for global financial Armageddon. The book was awarded both the Editor’s Choice Award and the Rising Star Award from its publisher and Fadden had the most successful signing of the year at the Colleyville Borders bookstore. “As writers, we wear the artist hat. We use our creativity to do our job. But, if you want anyone besides your mother to read the book, you must take off the artist’s hat and put on the entrepreneur’s hat. You’ve got to think of creative ways to sell books.” For Fadden, that includes everything from talking directly to area book clubs and showing up at their meetings when they review his books, to being a part of cooking classes like “Pots & Plots” at the Colleyville Market Street grocery store. Students in the class cook a meal from the books they read and then talk about the book as they eat.  

    Fadden began developing what the publishing industry refers to as his “author platform”, which is basically his marketing plan, long before the book was actually published. He built a website (www.markfadden.com), created a book trailer, which is similar to a movie trailer, and recorded a video interview that can be seen on his homepage. He also designed bookmarks and had them printed through an online print shop, which he hands out by the handfuls at events. With every signing he does, and every lecture he gives, Fadden adds fans to his email database, a list he has backed up on both paper and a hard drive that are stored in a fireproof safe. “People might think adding one fan at a time is tedious, but you have to remember the Law of 250. On average, most folks know 250 people. If they read your book and like it, they’re going to tell their friends about it. If you meet 4 people at a signing or lecture, that’s 1,000 potential new readers that might pick up your book. Like I stress in my presentations, social media and online marketing is important, but word-of-mouth advertising is still the tops.”

    The Brink is Fadden’s third novel. His first novel, Five Days in Dallas, was published in 2003. It received critical acclaim and Fadden himself was even called a “masterful storyteller” by a Writer’s Digest reviewer. Fadden has several book signings and lectures scheduled in the next few months. His event schedule and the first 22 pages of The Brink can be previewed at www.markfadden.com. Email him at mark@markfadden.com to get a copy of his Get Your Book Read! PowerPoint presentation. Fadden has also created a blog about writing novels and book marketing using social media entitled, “The Nightstand Diaries,” which can be read at www.markfadden.wordpress.com.