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Traffic Conversion: Turning Visitors Into Customers

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On the Internet, there are two fundamental ways of acquiring website sales:  The first is to generate traffic to your website (traffic generation), and the second is to convert your website visitors into customers (traffic conversion).

Web copywriting is the primary element of traffic conversion. Make no mistake about it, as a web copywriter, your primary function is as a traffic converter.  After all, what good is all the traffic in the world if you can’t get visitors to your site do what you want them to do when they get there?

Traffic generators are those things that drive traffic to a website. Traffic generators include high search engine rankings, investing in pay-per-click search engines, affiliate marketing, e-zine advertising, joint-venture endorsements, and similar devices. 

There are thousands of ways to generate traffic. When you write marketing communications such as free reports, promotional articles, online ads, newsletters or e-zines, SIG files, and search engine listings, you assume the secondary role of traffic generator.

SIG File:  Your Online Business Card
A signature file, also known as a SIG file, is, quite simply, your dinature. 

It’s the part of your e-mail message that appears at the very that tells your story–who you are and what you do–or features I product or service you are promoting. 

A SIG file can he delivered in plain text.
Think of it as your online business card that you can use as tool, because it gives you the opportunity to advertise your web’s product, or your services with every e-mail you send at no cost to

Example:
John Smith
Director
ABC Hair Restoration Clinic
http://www. URL.com

Get your *free* report:  “9 Facts You Must Know About Hair Loss Before It’s Too Late”.  Send a blank e-mail to 9facts@)URL.com and the report be sent to your e-mail box instantly.

Wagging the Website
On the Internet, what do online businesses pay the most attention to and spend the most money on? 

The website, of course, because that’s the highly visible component of the marketing mix.  The website is where a business displays its products and services.

It’s where you close the sale and take the orders. E-mail, on the other hand, is not glamorous and is therefore viewed as merely a supporting component of the marketing process, which is a big mistake.

Most online entrepreneurs and writers overlook the significance of e-mail, and as a result, they write e-mails haphazardly, almost as an afterthought. 

They regard e-mail as something that supports the objectives of the website, or as a vehicle for customer service, or as a way to send out special announcements. 

In other words, they regard e-mail as a low-cost, inconsequential accessory to their web presence.

While e-mail can and does make a fine supporting actor, used properly it can assume a starring role as the primary sales tool. 

E-mail can be used to direct what happens on your site, not vice versa.  In essence, you can use e-mail to “wag the website.”

E-Mail Market
Why Your E-Mail May Be More Important Than Your Website
I’m not suggesting by any means that a website is not important or that you should forget about putting one up. 

I am saying that if you rely exclusively on a website for your sales without using the power of e-mail to fuel those sales, your Internet business is not going to get very far.

E-mail marketing is a hot item in e-commerce.  A layperson may think of commercial e-mail as spam.
But to the marketing industry, e-mail is a gold mine that allows companies to speak personally and directly to prospects and customers and to carry on a relationship that contributes significantly to sales.

As you know, chances are, less than 1 percent of visitors to your site will ever buy your product or service. 

Even the best marketers with the most successful websites seldom convert more than 5 percent of their web visitors into customers when their website is their only marketing vehicle. 

That’s why an opt-in mechanism is vital for capturing your visitors’ contact information, developing a relationship with them, and, as a result, radically increasing the chance of ultimately making the sale.

In view of this, writing powerful e-mail copy is one of the most important skills required for doing business on the web. You should never write e-mail unsystematically. If you do, you’ll be leaving a lot of money on the table.  Here is why:

1. Virtually every person who is online sends and receives e-mail, but not everyone surfs the web. 

E-mail provides greater visibility for any Internet marketer.  E-mail is also a far better vehicle than a website for distributing and collecting information, as well as for developing a dedicated following.

2. Relationship in marketing is at the very heart of all e-commerce.  You simply can’t build a relationship solely through your website, no matter how many interactive bells and whistles it has. 

E-mail, on the other hand, builds relationships. To produce an income, a website relies on people visiting and revisiting the site.

You may have heard the saying, “The money is in the list.”  What it means is that when you leverage your relationship with the prospects in your database (your list), you are more likely to close a sale. 

That’s because you give people a chance to know you and trust you. Even if your website gets only modest traffic, you can convert that traffic into more money than you can imagine through e-mail.

3. While it’s true that a website makes the front-end sale, you’ll be missing out on 90 percent or more of the potential profits if you don’t use e-mail to fan the flames. 

The real selling starts after the first sale is made, by multiplying that one sale into many, many more sales through follow-up e-mails. 
This is why the lifetime value of the customer–not the first sale–is paramount.

Lifetime Value of a Customer
How do you calculate the lifetime value (LTV) of a customer?  First, you figure out how many years your average customer does business with you customer lifetime). 

Next, you estimate how much business you’ll get from the average customer over that period of time (sales per customer). 

Then you factor in the number of referrals the average customer gives your company and multiply that by the percentage of those referrals that become customers. 

The formula will look like this:

Customer lifetime x sales per customer x number of referrals x percentage of referrals that become customers = LTV

Let’s plug in some hypothetical figures for an online bookstore:

Customer lifetime = 10 years
Sales per customer (per year) = $50
Number of referrals made by average customer = 4
Percentage of referrals that become customers = 26%
10 x $50 x 4 x 0.26 = $520

Next, subtract the cost of books sold, say $403, and that gives the bookstore a gross margin (gross profit) of $117 per customer. That’s the LTV of one customer to that bookstore.

If each customer has an LTV of $117, then the bookstore can easily determine how much it can reasonably spend to acquire each new customer and still make a profit over the lifetime of that customer. 

The profits probably won’t come with the first sale. They may not even come in the first year, since the cost of acquiring a customer call be high.

But if you build strong relationships and offer quality products and services, over the life of the customer, you should reap great rewards.

Note:  If the bookstore sells other things, CDs, DVDs, stationery, greeting cards, and so on, each new category introduces new revenue streams and significantly increases the potential lifetime revenue from a customer.

4. E-mail helps you keep the customers you have. It costs much less to keep an existing customer than to acquire a new one. 

It costs five to ten times as much to find a new customer as it does to retain an existing one. 

Additionally, loyal customers are more profitable to your business because they usually buy more of your company’s products, are less sensitive to price, and often refer other customers. 

They usually take less of your customer service time because they’re already familiar with your company.

5. An increasing number of traditional brick-and-mortar companies are discovering that a website is simply not sufficient for success in e-commerce. 

The Internet’s killer application–e-mail–is now the primary vehicle for interactive marketing. 

Why? E-mail is a highresponse-rate vehicle because it’s in-your-face, immediate, and inexpensive. 

It sells, promotes, informs, creates buzz, acquires and retains customers, reinforces branding, and provides customer service all in one fell swoop.

Having a mailing list of prospects does not mean you will automatically make money.  That’s not what “The money is in the list” means. 

The money is indeed in the list, but only if you know how to leverage that list through e-mail copy that deepens your relationship with the members of your list. 

You do this first and foremost by getting them to like you and gaining their trust.

In your e-mail, you can also use the same psychological devices you use when writing web copy.

But if you fail to get your e-mail audience to like and trust you, you won’t make sales.  It’s as simple as that.

How many times have you bought products that you didn’t particularly like, want, or need just because you liked and trusted the people who were selling them to you? 

Ralph Wilson, who according to the New York Times is “among the best-known publishers and consultants who preach the responsible use of e-mail for marketing,” exemplifies this premise. 

In addition to his reputation for providing outstanding marketing content in his website (Wilsonweb.com), he is well liked, trusted, and respected by hundreds of thousands of subscribers to his three e-mail newsletters (Web Marketing Today, Doctor Ebiz, and Web Commerce Today), something that undoubtedly contributes to the success of his online enterprises.
Which of the advantages that E-mail could provide you with that your online marketing has been reaping from?

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