Last updateWed, 11 Jul 2018 7am

How to turn web visitors into sales


So you know how much traffic is visiting your website - and you know how many enquiries you are getting from it. But what happens to the traffic that doesn’t make an enquiry?

What do I mean? What about the people that visit your website and aren’t ready to buy? Let’s face it, not everyone is going to make their buying decision straight away - but if you’ve done nothing to stay in front of those people once they hit the exit button they are back at square one as far as you’re concerned.

Let’s give an example. Jane and John both run a store. Both businesses are getting around 100 website visitors per week - and from that both Jane and John are receiving four e-mail enquiries for product, of which they are able to convert 2 into sales - all pretty much the same right?

Many businesses would be happy with four enquiries, but the question is what happens to the 96 people who don’t ask for more information?

They are at various stages of the buying process. Let’s assume that say 20 of them are tire kickers who are just filling in time. That leaves 76 other prospects unaccounted for.

Around 50 have a brief look but are not interested in the offerings of the respective stores and go elsewhere to look at purchasing. Shame, but that’s the way it happens sometimes.

That leaves us 26 prospects that haven’t made a purchase - but have not yet said no. They are still weighing up their options before deciding.

Sadly most websites make little or no attempt to identify these customers and invite them further into the sales funnel.

Let’s go back to our two store owners. John does nothing further to re-engage the prospects that don’t buy. Jane, on the other hand, wants to give herself every opportunity to take the process further. She offers an e-mail sign up that enables all participants to enter a monthly draw for a $100 voucher.

Jane finds that 10 of the prospects sign up for the voucher giveaway. This tells her they are still interested, and Jane gets their e-mail address.

Jane follows up the initial e-mail with a series of e-mails offering information about how to care for her product, what to look for when purchasing her product, a free coffee voucher from a nearby coffee shop (that can only be collected from her store) and an invitation to an upcoming store event. She finds 7 of the prospects take her up on either the free coffee or evening offer. As they come in she is able to discuss the needs in more detail with 5 of them and 3 finish up making a purchase. Final score, from 100 website enquiries:

Jane - 5

John - 2

Game, set and match to Jane. She has managed to increase her conversion rate by 150%, from 2 sales to 5, while John is left languishing and not realizing the opportunity he’s left on the table. Jane makes 12 additional sales via this method over a month, worth a total figure of $3200.

When it comes to marketing most businesses fall short at the final hurdle after they have done most of the hard work. They invest large sums of money getting 20% of their prospects over the line and then neglect the low hanging fruit they have just created out of the other 80% who have been warmed up but not yet sold.

Sadly this tends to come from a tendency of businesses to sell from step 1 before a relationship has first been developed. It’s a little like trying to hit home base on the first date - you’ll get your face slapped on an awful lot of first dates when investing in 6 or 7 dates with the same girl may have got you there sooner!

The truth is most people won’t buy from the first interaction - in fact surveys have shown that it can take as much as 7 interactions before a customer makes a purchase. Yet 50% or more of your website visitors may be first timers. If you keep trying to make the sale happen on the first interaction and fail to follow up you’re leaving a lot of potential customers hanging.

The days of selling have gone - people need to be wooed first, and for most people this wooing can be done through education. Most people search the internet to educate themselves before making a purchase - in fact 20% of all web searches are precisely that. So why not educate? Giving your customers something rather than asking them for something is much more likely to lead to a positive buying experience. That’s why blogging has become such a successful means of generating customers - all a blog is is information.

An investment of as little as $20 per month can you get you an automated e-mail system to add to your website enabling all visitors to be contacted with a welcoming series of e-mails that will warm them up without trying to close the sale immediately, and the offer of a monthly $100 prize draw (real cost to Jane $50) will often be enough to persuade interested prospects to submit their details.

The total cost to Jane is $70 to generate $3200 in extra sales. After costs she is left with $1500 - a return on her investment of 2142% - and for good measure the winner of that months prize voucher spent $260 with it so she recovered the full cost and more! Plus she now has the opportunity to re-engage these prospects again later for a fraction of the cost of normal advertising channels.

 To paraphrase John F Kennedy “Ask not what your customers can give to you, ask what you can give to your customers.”

So how are you creating a giving environment to turn your prospects into buyers?

David Brown is President of the Edge Retail Academy, an organization devoted to the ongoing measurement and growth of jewelry store performance and profitability. For further information about the Academy’s management mentoring and industry benchmarking reports contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 877-569-8657.