Pretend for a moment that you could watch someone visit your website the same way you could watch a customer enter a brick-and-mortar store. There she is- she just landed on your site, and she’s having a look. She clicked your “About Us” page- that’s a good sign. Now she’s traveling through your landing pages for each of your services- that’s great. Ah-ha, it looks like she’s found what she’s looking for, and she’s spending a lot of time reading one services page in particular, even clicking through to some of the links on that page. Now she’s on the “Contact Us” page, and the form is right there, ready for her to fill out. The sale is so close you can almost taste it. Unfortunately though, she doesn’t complete the form, navigating away from your website altogether.
Obviously, you didn’t get the sale today, but you’re not that upset. After all, she seemed to be pretty serious about doing business with you, right? She’s bound to come back and buy from you the next time, right? Unfortunately, you are probably wrong.
The truth is, we’ve learned something that may turn your entire notion of how customers interact with your website upside-down. Although in the real world lots of people decide to buy after window shopping for a little bit, the stakes are much higher online. In fact, after we studied 350,000 website conversions, we learned more than 80% of the time, conversions happened on the first visit. Remember the theoretical customer who spent so much time perusing your website? Even if she does come back, the odds are not good that she’ll convert. Only 11% of the conversions we studied occurred on the second visit, and after that, the numbers only get worse. Even if someone visits your website five times, there’s only a 1% chance they will convert. The message is clear — there is no “next time” when it comes to the internet marketing lead generation.
Because your window is so small and that first visit is so important, building a website that converts visitors on their first visit should be your primary concern. To do so, it probably means you’ll need to fine-tune your content, navigation, imagery, credibility, and emotional appeal. The slides here outline why these five elements are so important for converting visitors on the first visit, as well as some ideas for optimizing those elements, so you don’t have to worry about grabbing visitors’ business — as well as their attention — right away.
Frequently, in the real world, shoppers who are “just looking” end up becoming customers. On the internet, however, someone who is “just looking” is likely to remain that way forever unless your website has been built from the ground up to spur that visitor into action immediately. Review the slides to see for yourself just how important converting a visitor on the first visit is, and then learn how you can guarantee that your website will be converting visitors much more effectively.
This is a guest post from our friend, Brad Shorr, who has more than 25 years of marketing and sales experience, and has been featured on leading business sites including Forbes and Entrepreneur. He is the Director of Content Strategy at Straight North.