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Clicks are only half the battle: How to turn engagement into conversions

Tips to convert your audience into buyers, donators and loyal visitors

As much as we love helping you create, send and track the results of your email marketing, we know that your marketing doesn't stop with email. In fact, email is often just a starting point for a customer who will then go on to purchase, donate, share, comment or RSVP.

The great news is that the folks on your email list are your most captive audience. So how can you encourage them to do what you're asking them to do (or buy something) without being too pushy? From the email itself to the "thank you" page, your success depends largely on the experience you create for your customers. Here are a few tips for shaping an experience that sends conversion rates skyward.

 

Nail the presentation

You've spent considerable time crafting your email's content and presenting your product or service, so don't slack on presenting the call to action.

1. Optimize the "path" to the sale. As KISSmetrics points out in their 101 conversion tips, your audience will immediately ask themselves two questions, "Am I in the right place?" and "How long is this going to take?" So, you need to move your audience forward in a logical way by providing a call to action and next steps that look and feel sensible. Additionally, test the copy on your button to find what resonates most with subscribers. If you always say "Buy now," try "Add to cart," "Make a purchase" or "Go shopping" to see what works best. 

2. Remove the will. Including the word "will" in your marketing ties your message to the future. It removes any sense of immediacy and urgency from your call to action and makes it too abstract for your audience to visualize. They're looking for something that helps them now, not something that "will" help them later.

3. Let your prices do the convincing. Do you know how powerful price is? It not only affects the assumptions people make about your product's value, but also how likely they are to buy from you again — or even recommend you to others. How your price is displayed, which items and prices appear next to it and even the digits in the price can make all the difference in your sale. Not, er, sold? Check out ConversionXL for fascinating pricing experiments to consider.


Make it easy to convert

It's sounds like a total no-brainer, but your job is to simplify the process as much as possible. Even if it's accidental, any frustration, obstacle or disappointment sends your visitor back to Google to find another company who can deliver with less hassle.

1. Reduce friction. Make sure your text size, colors and content work with, not against, you. Keep the copy digestible — remember, visitors are likely skimming, not reading — and focus on your visitors' needs, not your own. Want more tips? KISSmetrics has 10 of 'em.

2. Close the gaps. Do you know where in the purchase process your customers are most likely to abandon you? Monitor your analytics to identify and patch up those holes. Eliminate these five weaknesses, and your conversion rates will be stronger for it.

3. Serve up pages as quickly as possible. Your page load speed is paramount when it comes to retaining visitors. Impatient shoppers will go elsewhere if they're left waiting around too long. And even if you'd like to showcase snazzy photos of your products, too many graphics mean a trade-off in speed — so consider them carefully.
 

Keep your audience's attention

When folks receive your email or visit your site, most aren't giving you their full attention. They're multi-tasking, looking at another site to compare products or even talking on the phone. With endless ways to get distracted, you've got to work to keep them engaged. Here's how to get it right:

1. Be choosy about your links. When a recipient clicks a link in your email, they're essentially leaving your email's message behind — and they may not return to read more. So make sure you're delivering them elsewhere for good reason. Rather than directing to pages of your site, consider creating custom landing pages that speak uniquely to your email audience. Remember, they know more about you than someone who finds you through a search engine. That means you can deliver them to a deeper place in your sales funnel. 

2. Don't waste your images. Keep the look and feel consistent by building your landing page and emails with complementary styles and images. While images are a great way to grab attention, don't think that just any old image will do the trick. Consider the meaning behind the images you're choosing. As "conversion scientist" Brian Massey points out, if you choose generic stock images just because it breaks up the text, you are directing readers' eyes to something that's not helping you sell.

These reminders will get you well on your way to more conversions, but also keep in mind that a certain amount of your audience is still in the research phase — so consider it a success that they're "just looking." If you make the experience a good one for them, they'll convert when they're ready.