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Marketing With Google Analytics: 2. Site Visitor Reports

Sarah Jamieson - Tuesday, April 01, 2014

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Google Analytics has over 80 reports with customizable features so you can see the data you want, how you want. You can also create your own custom report with just the information you want.

Visitors

Discover how visitors interact with your site, the type of visitors you’re receiving (new vs. returning, geographic region, etc.), and information about their browser and network capabilities.

How many new and repeat visitors came to your site, and how much did they interact with your content?

The answers to these questions tell you how well you’re doing with:
 

  • Driving new traffic to your site
  • Visit quality and engagement with content
  • Here are some basic terms to help you understand more about your visitors and the pages they viewed on your site:

 

Pageviews

 

The total number of pages viewed. Counted every time a page on your web site loads. Pageviews indicate how much your site is used.
 

Average Pageviews

A measure of visit quality, indicating how much visitors engage with your site.

A high Average Pageviews number results from targeted traffic (visitors who are interested in what you offer) and quality, relevant content (your site meets visitors’ needs).

A low Average Pageviews indicates a need to improve in one or both areas.
 

Unique Pageviews

The number of visits during which page was viewed. For example, three pageviews of a page during one visit = one unique pageview.
 

Time on Site / Page

This is a measure of visit quality that indicates the level of visitor interaction at your site. However, Time on Site or Page is not 100% reliable because visitors often leave their browser windows open but are not actually viewing your site.
 

Length of Visit

A measure of visit quality. A high number of long visits indicate many visitors are engaged with your site. You can see the entire distribution of visit times rather than just Average Time on Site / Page.
 

Depth of Visit

A measure of visit quality. A high number of visits with many pageviews per visit indicate your site is delivering what visitors want. You can see the entire distribution of visits, rather than just Average Pageviews.
 

Bounce Rate

The percentage of visits that ended after viewing only one page. Bounce Rate is a measure of visit quality. Often landing pages for ad campaigns are not adequately targeted, causing a high bounce rate. Always make sure your landing page features the product, service, or information that the ad promised.

You may also be driving traffic using keywords or ad copy that is too broad, resulting in untargeted visitors.

For blogs, bounce rate is usually not relevant, because most visitors only view one page.

Visit (or Session)

A period of interaction between a browser and a web site, ending when the browser is closed or the user is inactive for 30 minutes.

Visitor

Visitors are identified by a cookie so they are counted only once. This is designed to estimate as closely as possible the number of actual people who visit.
 
 

New vs. Returning Visitors

Lots of new visitors mean you’ve been successful at driving new traffic to your site.

Lots of repeat visitors mean you’ve been successful at engaging visitors with your content.
 

Map Overlay

– Visualize visit volume (visits and pageviews) and quality (conversion rates, per visit value, etc.) measures by geographic region, with the ability to drill down to the city level.

Languages

Tells you the preferred language visitors have configured on their computers. This can be valuable for targeting your content development and marketing spend.

Recency

How often visitors return to your site is a measure of how engaged they are with your site and their readiness to buy.

Loyalty

– A high number of repeat visits indicate visitors who are loyal to and engaged with your brand.

You can also see how recently prospects have visited, and how often they visit.

Browser Capabilities and Network Properties

Optimize your site appropriately for the technical capabilities of visitors’ browsers and networks.

This helps make your site user-friendly and engaging and can produce higher conversion rates and more sales.

Get answers to questions such as, do visitors’ browsers support Java? Which version of Flash is installed? What is their connection speed?

Track and Analyze Segments

You can define a specific segment of visitors to track separately.

For example, visitors who have selected an option on a form can be tracked separately. This is a good way to track the market segments you identified in your market research survey.

You can also define a segment by site interaction. For example, visitors who have joined your email list or commented on your blog.

Benchmarking

This is an optional functionality that shows how your site’s metrics compare with data from categories of other web sites.

Metrics you can compare include Visits, Pageviews, Pages per Visit, Bounce Rate, Average Time on Site, and New Visits.
 

Custom Visitor Segments (User Defined)

User Defined is an area within the Visitors section of GA where you can assign a “label” to track visitors who complete an action on your site.

 

For example, you can assign the label “Customers” to visitors who make a purchase.

 

Labels continue through multiple visits to your site, so you can use these labels to track the behavior of visitors in a certain segment.

 

Labels are called “User Defined Values” or “Custom Segments” in GA.

 

Assign a User Defined label to visitors, who complete an action on your site, including:

 

  • Visiting a page

    For example, you can assign the label “Customers” to visitors who reach the “Thank You” page displayed after a sale.

    Or you could assign anyone who visits the “Web Design” pages of your site to the “Web Design” segment.
     
        
  • Clicking a link

    For example, you can assign the label “Needs Help” to visitors who clicked your live help chat link (great for identifying pages that are confusing)
     
     
  • Submitting a form

    For example, you can assign the label “Sales” to visitors who selected this as their profession on a form.


    Here’s an example: Let’s say you want to divide your visitors into two groups, subscribers to your email list and non-subscribers:

    When visitors sign up for your email list they are cookied so they will be tracked as subscribers when they return to the site. 
     
    You can then compare purchases and other data for the two groups to see if your email list is making a difference to your bottom line.

    You can also track changes you make to your email list over time to see how they affect performance. 

    For example, does changing the day of the week you send your email newsletter have an effect?

 

Let’s look at another example, from GA.

 

You can see below that there have been:

 

- 28 visits from people labeled as “Customers”

- 4 visits from people labeled as “Needs Help” and

- “Not set” indicates all other traffic:

 


 

Source: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/07/segment-your-traffic-with-user-defined.html
 
 

Benchmarking

Benchmarking is an optional service that shows how your site’s metrics compare to other participating sites in your industry vertical market.

Benchmarking provides a valuable context for site performance and trends.

You can also compare your site to other industries.

 

This can be valuable, for example, to learn more about industries you are thinking about advertising in.

Metrics you can compare include:

  • Visits
  • Pageviews
     
  • Pages per Visit
     
  • Bounce Rate
     
  • Average Time on Site

  • New Visits
     

This benchmarking report shows a comparison of apparel sites of similar size:

 

Source: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2008/03/benchmarking-now-available-plus.html

In my next GA blog I'll discuss Traffic Sources.

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Marketing With Google Analytics: 1. Introduction

Sarah Jamieson - Sunday, March 30, 2014

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Online businesses have a huge advantage because everything online is easily measurable! Most businesses I have surveyed never track and test their processes, so ongoing testing will put you way ahead of the game. It’s easy to keep finding new ways to improve performance.

There is room for improvement in everything connected with your eBusiness.

The results obtained from analytics are scientific. They are the only way to refine and optimize your business and marketing processes for the highest performance!

Remember, exponential growth does not have to just be one big improvement – it is lots of little improvements that add up.

If you neglect analytics: testing, tracking, and optimization then you are throwing away one of the greatest advantages of running an eBusiness.

I know that the following analytics material is somewhat dry and difficult to read. However, I suggest that you make a quick overview of the whole chapter and refer back to the items on an ‘as needs’ basis.

With our Persuasionworks system you can choose to use our analytics or install Google Analytics - or use both.

Tracking with Google Analytics

Google Analytics (GA) is a web site tracking tool provided free by Google. It used to be a system that you paid for, but Google bought out the system and now provide it gratis. You can’t beat free!

GA is intuitive and user-friendly, and it’s perfect for beginners and non-techies and it also has the advanced functionality to keep experienced marketers very happy!

Just because it’s free doesn’t mean it doesn’t have powerful features. Google Analytics will give you “insight payoff” that’s the equal of tracking programs costing thousands of dollars.

What Google Analytics Does for You

Basically, GA shows you:

  • Where your visitors came from;
  • How they interacted with your site;
  • How to improve your site so more visitors take the actions you want them to take.

With this information, you can improve your site and marketing performance to make more sales with higher Returns on Investment (ROI):

  • Sales process – Spot the weak points where you’re losing visitors, and “plug the leaks” to improve conversions.
  • Content engagement – Track visitors’ engagement with your site content and social media. Engagement is key to building relationships, positioning yourself as an expert, and creating loyalty. 
     
    Find out how to improve visitors’ experience on your site so they consume more of your content, revisit more often, and interact more with you.
  • Traffic sources – Compare the behavior and profitability of visitors from each of your traffic sources (such as ads, search engine listings, emails, and keywords). GA will track your visitors from click through to conversion.
  • AdWords – GA integrates with AdWords to provide extra information that can increase performance and ROI. GA automatically tracks cost and conversion rates by keyword and landing page.
  • Most and least popular and effective pages – See which pages are viewed the most and find out which pages are most and least effective at getting visitors to take the actions you want. 
  • Goals – Track how often visitors take the actions that are important to you, like purchasing, signing up for your email list, or even spending a certain amount of time on your site.

Ok, that's the intro to GA. Next blog: Google Analytics and Site Visitors.

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Persuasion Point 5 (a): Calls to Action - Join an eMail List

Sarah Jamieson - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

This  blog is adapted from a series of articles I wrote with my colleague James Atkinson entitled: SEO Strategy: Buyer Persuasion Points

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This blog is about those prospects you have deemed ARE ready to buy.

Up to this point I have suggested that your marketing efforts should not be openly related to ‘sales’. But of course your entire marketing process is about SALES. It’s just that in the earlier Persuasion Points prospects are not ready to read or hear your sales message.

There is not much point in leading a prospect to a sales page if they are not ready to buy. The result is well, - they won’t buy!

Naturally there comes a point where that sales process must openly be about what you are selling. Ideally the prospect will already be in one of your ‘information’ eMail Marketing lists.

Accordingly, I suggest that you separate your social networks, search engine content, and PPC from the point where the information process openly becomes a sales process.

I’ve found this much easier to do in an eMail campaign. But of course you should test where best to start your “open” sales process.

But of course you also need to cater to those prospects who simply want to buy NOW. Most of these ‘buy now’ prospects will arrive via PPC. The image below shows the two types of prospect eventually reading your sales material:

 

Each of the green dots is a persuasion point. For more on going direct from PPC to Sales Letter see: Sales Force Automation.

The Role of eMail and Persuasion

One of the biggest mistakes web site owners make is not capturing the names and email addresses of their visitors so they can follow up later.

Even sites with high conversion rates lose the vast majority of visitors. Distraction plus lack of trust, information, and time to read and consider the offer all contribute to this.

The bulk of web site visitors do not buy anything on the first visit. The average web site conversion rate is around 1-2%. That means up to 99 out of every 100 visitors leave your site without buying, and most will never return!

When someone visits a search engine or a social site, they are usually actively seeking information about something. In my experience, people seeking information are much more willing to take action, for example, opt-in to your email list or buy from you - if you fulfil the need they are trying to meet. By contrast most offline advertising is incidental to what the user is trying to do, read the paper, watch their favourite TV show, listen to radio music and so on. Products that are advertised offline may fill a user need, but the users’ response rate will be lower because they are not ACTIVELY searching for a way to meet the need.

Online, you can position your message at multiple “key information points” where people go to search for a solution to their problems. For example: In the search engines, you can be the most relevant search listing or PPC ad; in social sites (forums, article directories, Facebook, etc.), you can be the helpful friend giving free advice; on related sites, you can show up as a relevant advertisement.

This hunger for information online also creates the opportunity to build a relationship with users - through repeated contact to deliver information. Online marketing is all about relationships, so this is a big advantage.

Online market research surveys let you find out exactly what information different market segments desire, and the language they themselves use to talk about it. It’s akin to reading prospects’ minds. You can then create content that is ultra-relevant and desirable for each segment. Information marketing is all about talking their problem before your product.

And because you understand their problem so well, and offer relevant information, you build trust. This can position you as the only choice in the market when you eventually deliver your sales message.

On the internet you can get your message in front of millions of people and can potentially generate huge amounts of traffic and sales. At the same time, you have unprecedented ability to target your message to the people who are most likely to buy, and then to quickly measure virtually everything they do.

With online marketing you have instant access to sophisticated statistics like click-through rates, conversion rates, ad and keyword stats, email open rates, split and multivariate tests and so on.

This kind of targeting massively increases your sales conversion rate. When you use people’s own language and the exact features and benefits they’ve told you they want, you are telling them exactly what they want to hear - in order to BUY. In my experience this usually equates to a large increase in sales.

This is very different to offline marketing, where market research is very expensive (e.g. focus groups), making it hard for small businesses to benefit from research.

In addition, offline segmentation is a tough process. You can only target your offline message to a relatively broad group, based on the demographic profile of the average viewer of a certain TV show, reader of a certain magazine, and so on.

So, persuasion begins in search engine and social network content – then flows through into the eMails that you send out to your prospects. It must be a slow and well thought through process. Don’t start your sales messages immediately your prospect opts-in to your list.

Take your time and build the relationships – then give out the sales message. It has to be a “natural” process – not forced. It has to flow in a logical way.

Yes, it is time consuming and difficult. But remember this, once you have set up your content > sales process it’s pretty much automated. 

I often read that you must get your message out seven times before it is effective. That’s not been my experience. I think the important issue here is not some magic number of email messages, but rather of simply letting your prospects get to know you and creating a reciprocal relationship – over a period of time. 

Computer screens are pretty faceless and it’s difficult to have eye ball conversations with prospects. On the face of it, then, you would think that it’s easier to build relationships OFFLINE.  My experience however, is the opposite.

The internet is not as faceless as it first appears. You CAN build relationships online – very quickly and relatively inexpensively.

I mentioned above that providing information and content is a great way to build relationships. Of course writing articles and making videos for the social networks takes time and this is a cost to you – but often you can do it at minimal cost.

In any event, when your prospect is deemed ready to buy – you must refer them to a sales letter which is the topic of my next blog.

Persuasion Point 5: Prospects Respond to an Action Call

Sarah Jamieson - Tuesday, March 25, 2014

This  blog is adapted from a series of articles I wrote with my colleague James Atkinson entitled: SEO Strategy: Buyer Persuasion Points

In this series of blogs on Persuasion Points, have shown that there a number of points at which an online business can influence and persuade searchers and prospects. Persuasion Points are predictable and can be discovered through market research.

These points are excellent places at which online sellers create and begin ‘reciprocal relationships’ with searchers. The right types of reciprocal relationships eventually lead to sales.

I have earlier discussed the following entry Points: 

  •  Prospects have a need or desire
  • Prospects start researching online 
  • Prospects start an educative process
  • Prospects engage in social relationships.

Thus, knowing the ‘Persuasion Points’ of buyers in their marketplace a business can then “convert at all the bases” so that the entire search-to-sales continuum is covered.  To put it another way – you should publish content that allows searchers to FIND your business no matter which Persuasion Point the searcher enters the search-to-sales continuum.

I now move to the fifth of these points – Prospects Respond to a 'Call to Action'.

When a prospect wants to solve a need, desire, or problem they’ll often seek or encounter an online ‘call to action’ offer. This is where many sellers BEGIN their sales process. You of course know better!

In online jargon, sales relationships are often referred to as “direct response”.

What is direct response?

It’s an offering that demands a direct response. For example, the seller / marketer seeks an opt-in to an email list or directs you to a sales letter then seeks a buy response. Thus for more information the prospect may: click on a Google Adwords, join an email list, click from an email to a sales letter, click a BUY button on a sales letter and so on.

All eBusinesses MUST incorporate direct response attributes which is another way of saying you need a sales process.

In internet marketing, the terms “direct response” and “direct market” appear to mean the same thing. But there are qualitative differences. So, I want to briefly discuss two aspects of direct response marketing

1. The direct response as internet marketing ‘norm’

The use of the direct market model EXCLUSIVELY – without the benefit of surveys, prospect segmentation, SEO, and Social Marketing is the most prevalent online business model and is widely taught by internet marketing gurus as the only eBusiness model that works!

Because it holds a ‘normative’ position, this type of direct marketing causes many systemic dysfunctions in markets.


When I was learning internet marketing, I used the direct market model exclusively and extensively. The old model WORKS – though it is expensive to operate and you need to be very wary of advertising costs – especially Adwords. 

Strictly speaking direct response by itself is a MARKETING system, but many eBusiness owners would consider direct response as their primary eBusiness “model”.

This form of online marketing is practiced by many large corporations and individuals who appear to function from a “making-money” point of view. This type of activity may eventually lead to a form of systemic dysfunction in particular marketplaces.    
For example, in the “internet business” market, GREED and “making money” drip through the pages of endless emails and sales letters.

Wary buyers eventually turn off the hype and conversion rates drop below 1%. Put another way, 99% of potential customers are not really “listening” and the cost of doing business in a market becomes prohibitive.

The direct marketing standard is actually an offline business model. I’m sure you’ve encountered this model. All that junky paraphernalia stuffed into your mail box is one part of the model. The online model uses the same techniques adapted to the internet.

It works, but it’s becoming less & less effective, more & more expensive - especially now that Google and other search engines are shifting their search algorithms towards shared social relevance.

2. ‘Call to Action’ as a necessary part of a sales process
 
This facet of direct response is simply the sales process part of my system. It is the fifth of the Persuasion Points that I show above.  

All online businesses must have some form of direct response ‘call to action’ sales process. This is one of the advantages of running an internet business. It is relatively easy to set up these systems – such as obtaining an eMail opt-in, directing prospects to a sales letter and so on.

The model allows a great number of areas in which persuasion principles can be built into your sales process.

The internet is a wonderful place to establish “like-minded” communities. It’s relatively easy and inexpensive. When you “sell” in a community environment – you are tapping into a long-established way of doing business.

Picture a hardware store in a small town - run by a Mr. Jones. When you want help to fix a leaking roof you go to Mr. Jones. He advises you how its done and provides all the necessary materials. He does not try to “sell” you a bunch of unnecessary goods.

You have a reciprocal relationship with Mr. Jones. He advises you and he knows you’ll buy what’s necessary to do the job. Reciprocal relationships - this is the best way to sell.

For more information of how our Persuasionworks system functions please see: Online Marketing Strategies.

In the next blog I’ll look more closely at various ‘calls to action’.

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Persuasion Point 3: Prospects and the Educative Process

Sarah Jamieson - Sunday, March 23, 2014

This  blog is adapted from a series of articles I wrote with my colleague James Atkinson entitled: SEO Strategy: Buyer Persuasion Points

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When prospects want to solve a problem or need, they initially WANT information about that topic. The information helps them solve the problem.

This is the third  of the Persuasion Points that I list in earlier blogs. This the point at which you begin to create reciprocal relationships – that ultimately lead to a sales process.

People go online to find out about things – to educate themselves about all sorts of subjects. Before you begin to write content that educates you should conduct a survey to help you discover exactly the distinct segments of your market, what each segment wants, and what drives them to buy. Thus, market research creates a blueprint for your products and marketing messages. It is the foundation of all successful persuasion and marketing. See Prospect Segmentation.

When searchers seek information they are NOT particularly receptive to advertising or sales letters – they are looking for information.

This is a golden opportunity for you to engage your market as they search for solutions. You can use your content and interactions with them to shape their views of the market and position yourself as an authority in that market.

Most of all, you can gain prospects' trust. Trust is the foundation that must be in place before you make a single sale. That’s why web sites spend so much time on testimonials, credentials, sales numbers, proof screenshots, and so on. It all builds trust.

In this pre-buying stage, prospects are most responsive to non-sales content that builds trust – things like informative, useful and relevant blog posts, videos, and articles.

The Power of Content

Your survey should have already pinpointed the exact problems that your market wants to solve, thus providing you a golden opportunity to help prospects – and position yourself as a trusted authority at the same time.

You can publish the content on your web site, blog, and social networking profiles. The content may be text, videos, audios, images - any medium really that is going to grab your prospects’ attention.

Your main vehicles to get visitors to your content are the search engines and social networks. You need an integrated strategy to position yourself high on the search engine organic results and to make yourself highly visible in the social networks.

As they continue to consume your content, you should be influencing and shaping the views of your prospects and placing yourself in a position of strength – as a trusted authority.

Producing lots of excellent, useful free content can be highly persuasive and enables you to activate a number of the influence principles discussed in our articles section. When you are genuinely educating people about how to solve their problems you can do this without the pressure of the sales environment.

Positioning yourself in this way provides a number of advantages. From free content pages you can get followers to join your email lists - so you can communicate with them whenever you choose.

Pre-existing relationships result in more sales, less resistance, and no need to use hard sell tactics.

Because they already like and trust you and see you as an authority, they will naturally give you their business. In so doing you can position yourself as the best choice when your prospects are ready to buy.

Relevant Content Leads to HUGE Traffic and Sales

Search engines know that users are only interested in one thing: relevance. You’ve got to give the search engines what they want – relevant content that meets searchers’ needs. See The Relevancy Regulators.

Once you do that, the search engines give you what you want – lots of targeted visitors.

The same rule applies to social networks. You simply can’t fake your way to social prominence using sales messages!

The only way to harness the enormous power of the search engines and social networks is to follow a strategic plan to provide - on a regular basis - two things:

  • High-quality, relevant content
  • Relevant social interaction

The prospect’s information search starts long before the sale and often continues well after the first sale for as long as the person remains interested in the market.

They Google it, and in many markets they identify and read / watch the new information on their favorite content sites daily, or sign up for email lists so they can get content delivered regularly.

In my previous blog, I’ve explained in "The Search Continuum" how you can take advantage of the prospect’s search for information. We can now influence prospects throughout the buying process which can be presented in different places – for example:

  • Pre-Buying Education Content

    This is the stage where prospects have identified a need and are searching for information and solutions. They are still forming opinions and assessing which features and benefits are important. The keywords prospects enter in the search engines at this stage are called “information” or “educative” keywords.

Virtually all traffic originates from a search engine or social network!

The pre-buying stage is important because information gathered at this stage actually creates buying decisions. In the past, prospects would have gathered this information from their circle of friends, but now the information search has moved online.

Thus, the internet allows you to put your message in front of prospects and shape their perceptions of the market.

So what’s the best way to influence prospects?

At the pre-buying stage prospects use search engines and social networks heavily because those sources are believed to provide unbiased, transparent, and non-sales information.

It is for this stage that you create high-quality educative content. The results of your earlier survey should provide the answers to questions that prospects are seeking.

Your answers are then perceived to be ultra-relevant to prospects’ needs.

During the pre-buying stage, prospects are researching the market and the available solutions. At this point, they aren’t ready to buy yet, so ads and sales letters that aim to get an immediate sale won’t be effective. Something more subtle means are needed – influence and persuasion. Using your survey, you’ll find out exactly the topics people in your market are desperate to know more about.

Use this knowledge to create irresistibly relevant content that speaks directly to prospects. The content must be free and have no apparent sales message. Your goal is influence: to position yourself so that when they are ready to buy, they naturally come to you.

Sales Eucation

This is the educative process that directly leads to sales. I try to keep my pre-buying educative process separate from my sales education process.

Probably the easiest way to do this is to run sales education via autoresponder email and video campaigns. But of course this is a matter for your own online business model. In addition, WHEN you start your sales education is also a matter for your own business model.

The Sale

This is the process that directly leads up to the sale.

It includes direct response elements designed to make the sale, like ads and your sales letter.

The survey will tell you the “buying”keywords that can lead to an immediate sale so you can put your ads in front of the prospects who are ready to buy right away.

The Backend

Many online business models rely heavily on the backend – that is, they’ll take a loss on creating a customer through say Adwords in the hope that the customer will buy more products on the backend. Because you can contact customers directly by email, marketing costs fall in the backend. Thus, conversion rates are higher when you sell to existing customers.

Your content goal in the backend is to continue building strong relationships that create powerful loyalty to keep your customers buying. I suggest you strengthen your relationship with customers with lots of quality content and personal contact.

As you continue to create first-rate content such as blog posts, articles, and videos and distribute them socially, you’ll achieve some important benefits. You will:

  • Deepen your relationship with your customers
  • Increase familiarity, an important component of influence
  • Control mindshare
  • Remind them of your unique benefits
  • Strengthen their loyalty
  • Increase their willingness to buy from you again.

All of these are important embellishments to your overall persuasion and sales process strategy.

In my next blog I'll look at Persuasion Point 4: Getting Sales From Social Networks.

 

Hey … What’s “Persuasionista”?

Sarah Jamieson - Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Well - that’s what I’m called around here.

My colleagues and I have created an online marketing and eCommerce system. We’ve been working on the software for years and now we’re ready to take it to market. Persuasion is at the heart of the system.

Persuasion?

Yes, persuasion!

Software is important, but it’s just a means to an end – like cars, phones, computers, and so on.

“Hey Persuasionista … phone call - client!”

I still have to talk to them, sort it out, fix the problem, convince, persuade. One of most important qualities ANY business needs is the ability to persuade.

What My Blog is About

So, that’s what my blog is about – the points at which an online business interlaces between software, persuasion, and SALES. The software allows you to measure and manage your business but you still need persuasion to get sales. That’s why our system is called Persuasionworks!

Online Relationships and Persuasion

Look at it this way: Buyers and sellers are simply two sides of the same coin.
When you provide what your buyers want – they’ll buy! And to get them to buy or to keep buying – you need a reciprocal relationship with your prospects and customers.

Online relationships are NOT face-to-face personal sales relationships – such as occur at say a local electronics shop. In this situation, the salesperson gets to know you face-to-face and then uses various persuasion techniques to encourage you to buy. If you've been shopping there for a while, he or she may know all about the stuff you own, what you'd like to upgrade, and which new gadgets you've got your eye on.

On the other hand, the means by which you effect all your internet relationships are via written and spoken words delivered on a SCREEN.

This may seem a somewhat thin basis for creating sales relationships – but really all the influential principles of persuasion can be woven into the fabric of online relationships.

Internet interactions are powerful motivators of online sales when the relationship is built on reciprocity – creating Reciprocal Relationships.

The relationship is an exchange - a give and take. You give something of value to prospects who in turn eventually give something of value back to you – in this case money. In addition, value provided by the online entrepreneur can also be built on other persuasion principles - for example:

Commitment and Consistency

Free downloadable ebooks or white papers may act as more than a favor that needs to be reciprocated. That paper can provide prospects with valuable information shortcuts built around commitment and consistency.

Tailor your message so that prospects see the market in a way that suits your own business model.

Social Influence

An online social network can be used to show prospects social proof that many people use your products to solve their problems.

Liking and Partiality

Online narratives like videos and written content can be utilized very effectively to make yourself likeable and relateable and to show a strong understanding of your prospects' problems and their desired solutions.

Authority and Influence

The internet is a wonderful tool to build authority and influence. The web is a tireless medium that's open for business 24/7.

Scarcity and Exclusivity

This is one of the most commonly used persuasion tools online. The number of ways in which you can drum up scarcity and exclusivity is only limited by your ability to engineer shortages and construct uniqueness. 

All internet commerce occurs through relationships created by words.  These are what I call words of connection, social association, and persuasion.

You are judged almost entirely by what you write and what you say:

Online shopping is now the fastest-growing retail sector. Shoppers go online for a number of reasons including:

  • Convenience,
  • Ease of purchase,
  • Product research, and
  • An ever-increasing comfort level with the internet  

Consumers go online to research a particular product or market. A merchant can take prospects “off the market” at a very early stage in the “search pathway” and eventually lead the searcher through to purchasing a number of related products. I show you how to research here.

In fact, the economic downturn may be boosting online sales growth. In the search for value many buyers are shopping online rather than driving to the store. Consumers believe buying online is often cheaper than offline.

So, online sales, as a whole, are forecast to experience explosive growth in the next few years. I believe the trends driving this growth will continue for a long time yet.

In addition, there are unique differences between offline and online businesses that create remarkable opportunities for the online entrepreneur. For example, ultra-relevance is one of the most decisive advantages offered by internet marketing and you won’t see its equivalent in offline marketing. I'll explain this in later blogs.

In every market, people search online for information to educate themselves - their fears, desires, and everyday ideas. 

Searchers also explore specific product types for information or comparison before they buy. This research happens in the search engines and social networks. I call this information / education period the “pre-buying” phase.

My research indicates that many internet marketers ignore “pre-buyers”. Pre-buying prospects are simply looking for information - and they aren’t ready to buy. An online survey gives you the ability to stop prospects searching and as a consequence, stops prospects finding your competitors. You can take people off the market with ultra-relevant content.  For more see: Prospect Segmentation.

Put another way, you can inoculate yourself against your competition. Your ability to give each segment exactly what it needs can position you as an authority and build huge trust and loyalty that is very hard for a competitor to defeat.

You can deliver online content that BOTH:

  • Meets the immediate needs of prospects
  • AND

  • The needs they DISCOVER after searching.

There is a huge opportunity for marketers who are prepared to provide pre-buyers with ultra-relevant content. You can engage, educate, and create trust and loyalty with your ultra-relevant content - until prospects are ready to buy.

And, when prospects are ready, you present them with a sales funnel that completes the entire persuasion process you have built. 

In my next blog I am going to take you through what I call Persuasion Points. This will help you understand how you can interweave software and persuasion to make SALES.


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