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Boost Conversions Step 5: Reach All Your Audience Segments

This guest post is by Kate Swoboda of The Coaching Blueprint.

Go ahead—ask anyone, whether it’s a small business owner, a solopreneur consultant, or someone who’s determined to hit it big with their hand-made crafts:

What action would you like people to take, as a result of visiting your website?

(Note: this question may or may not make you a hit at parties, so proceed with caution).

Chances are, they’re going to all serve up the same answer: they hope that people will either buy something or book an appointment.

People have designed their business websites with one aim in mind, and that’s to get people to buy stuff—queue the series of squeeze pages and pitches and sales funnels.

It’s what we’ve been talking about here on ProBlogger all week. And it’s a worthy endeavor—I like making my rent payment each month, too.

There’s just one problem: not everyone who lands on your website is ready to buy. In fact, I’ll wager that most people aren’t, yet. What’s more? No matter what you do—no matter how much you “prime” someone to buy, or “remove objections” so that they’ll buy, a vast majority of the people who land on your site just ain’t buying, because they simply aren’t yet “buyers.”

A great many marketing sites out there will tell you to just ignore those people and move on to the person who’s ready to pull out their credit card.

Here’s an alternative idea: What about appealing to all of the different users that land on your site? How much more business would you get over the long haul if you took the approach that there’s something for everyone who comes to your website?

That’s what I want to finish up this series with today—to show you how to take what we’ve discussed about reviewing your offer, revisiting your conversion funnel, revamping your communications, and running A/B tests, and see how we can apply that advice to different user types, or segments, within your target audience.

What are those user types? I’m glad you asked.

Ideal Users, Resonant Users, and Careful Considerers

There are three basic categories of people who are landing on your website at any given time. When I work with people on website leveraging strategies, I refer to these types as the Ideal User, the Resonant User, and the Careful Considerer.

Most people are designing websites that focus solely on the Ideal User—the person who’s going to buy (now), while these same websites almost entirely ignore a call to action for the Resonant Users and Careful Considerers.

Since we know that sales conversions are notoriously low—that in some industries you’re lucky if you generate even a 2-3% conversion rate for your offering—why are we focusing so much on that 2-3%? It’s seen by some as a waste of time to focus on anything (or anyone) else.

But here’s the truth: this approach is leaving money on the table, particularly in service-based industries such as coaching and consulting, where trust is built over time. There’s another possibility that can not only increase revenue over time, it can create loyal clients and customers for life: design websites that offer something for each type of user, and over time, it’s entirely possible that they will become a Ideal User.

First things first: it’s important to know exactly what you want a user to do when they reach your website. Know these three:

  1. The action you’d like the user to take if they were your ideal user who “gets” you right away and loves everything you have to offer.
  2. The action you’d like the user to take if they resonated deeply with your message, perhaps even aligned with it and wanted to adopt it as a shared philosophy, but felt they didn’t have time/money/ability in that moment to respond to an offer you’re making.
  3. The action you’d like a user to take if they like what you have to say, but don’t feel super-connected—the people who fall in the “Hmmm, I’ll wait and see what I think” camp.

When you know these three objectives, you can create a website that provides something for each type of user.

Realistic is good

Let’s say I’m strategizing with a coach about leveraging her practice. If I ask her what action she’d like a user to take when landing on her site, she’s likely going to say: “I want the user to book a session.”

Problem? That’s what the “Ideal User,” is going to do. The Ideal User is the person who is ready to sign on the dotted line.

It’s good to be realistic. Consider your last three major purchases. Chances are, even you are not usually an Ideal User right from the get-go—you likely start as a Careful Considerer, a majority of the time.

Here’s an example of three actions a coach or consultant might desire each of their different users to take:

  1. The Ideal User would book an appointment.
  2. The Resonant User would like a blog post enough to share it with their followers, associating their name with your work.
  3. The Careful Considerers would sign up for the newsletter or follow on social media.

The people who book it from your website without taking action at all, even when you’ve provided multiple options? We’ll just say that those are “not your people” and leave it at that. (You already know there’s no point in fretting about the unsubscribes, the people who aren’t down for your message, etc., right?).

Where website design comes in

It’s website design that is a vehicle for appealing to each type of person.

Let’s continue with this example of a coach or consultant who wants new clients to book sessions. They have a blog. At the end of each blog post, they invite people to book a session. The buttons to sign up for sessions are big and bold. Sessions are open! Open! Open! Buttons are right here—book here! Click here!

Got it.

Problem: Their website design is only appealing to their Ideal User. Those big buttons are drawing all of the attention for “the next action to take,” without providing options for other types of users.

Let’s take the example from earlier, where the:

  1. Ideal User = signs up for a session
  2. Resonant User = shares a blog post
  3. Careful Considerer = follows on social media.

When I evaluate a coach’s website for a strategy session, I’m looking to see if they’re using the design to create ample opportunities for all types of users, since not everyone will be an Ideal User from the get-go.

For the Resonant Users: Is there more than one way that people can share blog posts? Are there hurdles such as signing up for a service that “allows” you to share blog posts? Is the coach directly asking people to share content, or just hoping the user will?

For the Careful Considerers, are there multiple places for someone to sign up for a newsletter? Is it clear what someone will get if they sign up for the newsletter? Do they know how often they’ll receive the newsletter? Is there a dedicated “welcome to the newsletter” auto-response?

Pulling it together

“Sometimes you don’t do one thing, 100% better. Sometimes you do 100 things, 1% better.”—unknown

This is just a piece of a much larger conversation. The best websites are those that have 100 different small, almost un-noticeable ways to engage users (the un-noticeable part usually happens when you hire a good graphic designer who can integrate elements without making them scream at your reader).

This isn’t about doing one big thing really well, or about cluttering up your website with endless ways for users to engage–this is about being clear on the specific, desired outcomes you’d like for the different people visiting your site, and then making it really, really easy for each type of user to engage.

Many people who land on your website will start as Careful Considerers. If you have great content on your site that provides value, they might become Resonant Users within a few minutes. It’s always possible that they’ll also convert to Dream Users pretty quickly, but realistically? They’ll probably hang out in the Careful Considerer/Resonant User zone for awhile.

That’s okay. That’s how I operate, and it’s probably how you operate, too, before you plunk down money or commit to time. Give those people plenty of clear options.

Your turn

Evaluate your website carefully—perhaps even ask some friends (only the ones who are willing to be honest!) to determine the top three actions for the three different types of users who visit your website.

Then ask: is your website making it easy for each type of person to take action?

And: How can you best meet the needs of the various people who come to your website?

That’s basically all this series has focused on:

There’s no sense in only appealing to a fraction of the people who are visiting your website—create your website as a space where there’s something for everyone to easily engage with, at different levels. When you create ways to engage beyond the small percentage of users who are immediately ready to spend money, that’s building a business for the long haul.

Kate Swoboda is a life coach, speaker and writer who helps other coaches to strategize with integrity and leverage their practices, beautifully. She’s the creator of The Coaching Blueprint, a downloadable e-program for new and emerging coaches who want to create a successful practice, and leader of the Blueprint Circles, small collaborative marketing Circles for coaches. She’s also looking forward to the upcoming 2012 World Domination Summit, where she’ll be leading a breakout session called “Entrepreneurs–Stop Letting Overwhelm Kick Your Ass!”

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Comments

  1. Hi Kate,

    Super points all around!

    This is why list building is beyond critical. Some buy today, many buy next month…some next year, yep, really ;)

    The idea is this: build a relationship. Understand that although we all want the cash pledges or new MLM team members, or sales, today, this is not the time frame of many visitors. Be patient, cater to a patient crowd, while leaving open the option of the immediate buy, and you will prosper.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Ryan

    • “Build a relationship.” — exactly! I’ve started working with clients who told me that they followed old blogs that I had, years and years ago. Even in our fast-paced digital age, that kind of loyalty does exist!

  2. Carey Suante says:

    Fantastic article and great insights.

    It is good to reach out to all audience segments. It is also critical to reach out to all audience types as well..

    Most often than not, we tend to ignore our audience who consume our content the way we do not intend to. I mean, you may be a podcaster (video or audio) but there are always some people who prefer reading to watching or listening to your podcasts.

    This is where re-purposing your podcasts into text is useful to reach out and expand your audience.

    • So true, and an excellent suggestion! It also provides people with different ways to engage. I’ve recently discovered that I really love listening to audio books. I’ve re-purchased some books I already own in audio version. I find that I feel more “connected to” the authors, in an entirely different way.

  3. Ehsan says:

    Website design plays a huge role in boosting a conversation. Thanks for the post Kate.

  4. Clint Lenard says:

    Great post, Kate!

  5. carol dunlop says:

    Excellent points you brought out in this post. I have actually been working on this very issue, if the person isn’t going to buy, what else can I offer them so that I can build trust? You are dead on! I love how you broke down the users into the three different segments

  6. Very well put. It is incredible how many people (even experience marketers) ignore list building. A qualified lead is worth $$ and you’re very correct in stating that the business owner is leaving money on the table. I have even seen cases where the business went bankrupt but was able to launch new products / services and shorten the growth curve by leveraging the existing list. Why wouldn’t you build a list?
    Another point that is missed time after time is that people expect visitors to opt-into their list just because the website says so. Give them something of value in return for their information and you’ll win all around. Not only will they opt-in, you’ll also be able to use your autoresponder sequence to build a relationship.
    Thanks for sharing on this topic.

    • Thanks, Jamak. I also think that there’s something to be said for not limiting oneself to list-building. While list-building is obviously ideal, simply providing any kind of action to take for all types of users is a way for people to engage (for instance, Marie Forleo does this very well with her videos that encourage people to take action on a “tweetable”).

  7. James Barton says:

    Thanks for the article Kate. I take from it that we should cater in our web design for those types who are unlikely to perform our ‘ideal’ actions but may still help us with other benefits. Regarding list building though I am going against the flow a little. I do recognize that email lists have some value but I think that there are some models where pushing for email addresses is not needed and in fact can be counter-productive. As a ‘consumer’ ie a visitor to many websites I actually appreciate sites that do not require my email address and even more so those that do not require account creation. In some cases the ideal site should not have to rely on grabbing email addresses as people will want to re-visit anyway. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.

    • Hey James, I agree with you that the grab for the email address is not always appropriate. In fact, in some ways it has become so ubiquitous that it starts to lose meaning, altogether. What use is it for someone to be on an e-letter list, if they’re on 100 others, and never have time to read any of them?

      I think people will do this in different ways, depending on their particular audience, the time investment someone wants to involve, and what feels authentic to them. For me, first and foremost, the question is: what would feel authentic? I don’t want to “build relationships” with different segments of my audience as a buzz term. I truly do want to authentically interact with my audience in the way that feels right, for me, and for them.

      Alternatives to list building that still appeal to all the different users? Some people establish communities on Facebook or Google +, creating not just social media “feeds” but actual places where people go regularly to connect with others. There are pros and cons to this–digital sharecropping being the biggest con–but it’s one way for users to engage without having to “buy” anything, and this enables building relationships. Other people use calls to action in the form of tweetables (no need to buy anything, just tweet this). There are free tele-seminar calls that don’t require registration. There are in-person tweetups and Google + hangouts. There are interviews that can be downloaded, for free.

      Those are just a few ideas. The last thing that I’ll add is this, and it’s just my two take–I’ve received a number of happy emails in the past few years when people were appreciative that whatever I offered “free” wasn’t laden with sales pitches. I think people are a little tired of getting the freebie interview with the long, protracted, “Now buy something” bit at the end. I tend towards being of the mindset that if I’m going to give info for free, I give it for free, and I keep the call to action direct yet simple.

      I hope that this was helpful!