When we put up a website, blog or even an article, in most cases we do so hoping for the visitor to do a particular thing, take a specific action. Those actions are called conversions. We are converting the visitor into something else, a subscriber, a customer, and so on.
As you know from daily life, getting people to do what you want them to can be tricky. We have our own agendas, we see the world differently, there is also self interest, which can work for or against you.
That is why many bloggers and webmasters take the easy route. They don’t even try to get any real conversions, they are happy to sit at the bottom of the web metric food chain.
The value pyramid looks something like this, but obviously will differ from case to case:
As you can see, when dealing with CPM (page impression based ads), you are only concerned with the bottom two rungs, visits and page views. They are the easiest to obtain and therefore the lowest value. Your visitor here doesn’t need to like what they see and might have been tricked into visiting. Traffic is not a sign of quality.
Next up is the clicks. If you make money from Adsense or other pay per click ads, this is where you spend your effort. You might also try to get many clicks as a way of influencing other webmasters. When people see a site in their referrers generating a lot of traffic they tend to take notice.
Another value to take from clicks is if you deal with a wide appeal affiliate merchant like eBay or Amazon. Those clicks can eventually turn into sales but the selling is not your problem, all you need to do is drop that affiliate cookie onto the visitors browser and the merchant does all the hard work.
Again, clicks are not a sign of quality. The visitor might be just wanting to get away, to anywhere but here. In fact, many Adsense webmasters count on just that.
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Now we are in the zone where a blogger or webmaster has to earn their money. You don’t get return visits, or subscribers without offering some value. Even more true with opt-ins as the visitor needs to trust you not to spam them or pass on the list to someone else who will. Up until this point you could have been automating, spamming and churning out pages by the thousand with not a care for quality.
When you want people to return, that is when you need to get serious about your content.
You need to concentrate on not just demonstrating value on the first visit, but showing enough promise that there will be value in future for them to give you another try. Hopefully you will do a good enough job that they will keep checking in on you and turn into loyal readers.
Leads and Sales
You will have no doubt heard many times that “the value is in the list”, and it is broadly true. If you get a lot of people to want to hear from you on a regular basis, more importantly if you have an engaged audience, then you should be able to make sales.
A number of times you will have read me say that I would rather have a smaller and more engaged readership, and now you know why. Across the properties I own, part own, write for or work with, I have access to millions of page views. I would give all those page views up for ten people who really want to hear from me. Just think about that for a second. Wouldn’t you?
Unlike many bloggers, my mortgage gets paid when people believe in me enough that they seek my advice on blogging, new media and internet marketing. I love to see a Digg front page as much as the next guy, and there is a certain value in that, but if people just click or view pages then my bills don’t get paid.
To make a sale, and even more to get repeat sales, you have to step right up and show real value and engender enough trust to overcome the very significant objections of doing business over the internet. You have to show that not only is your product or service worth the money, but that you can be trusted to deliver what you promised.
Plus of course you have to ask for the sale.
Loyal Customers and Fans
When you deliver on your promise, then you have a chance at repeat custom. Even better, if you delight your customer, you might just get a fan or two.
In order to do this your customer must experience your product or service in the most positive way possible. You are not merely delivering a package and saying “bye bye”. That product has to more than meet expectations, be more than just “worth what was paid for”. The customer needs to reap the benefits of what they were sold.
This isn’t always possible, it’s not a perfect world, but you must try. The pay off is someone who will forever sing your praises, and the value of someone willing to tell the world how great you are is beyond measure.
When you are thinking about what you are doing online, do not be content with merely attracting traffic and gaining some clicks. The real value is in the relationships, the trust and the actual value you can create. Are you truly helping people or are you just going through the motions and writing the appropriate keywords?
It might be with a smaller audience you create more value for both you and your audience. Worth considering, right?