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Convert Visitors Into Buyers, Direct Marketing Style

Charlene Jaszewski recaps an in-depth panel on ramping up conversions at SES NYC, with insights and commentary from search pros including Future Now's COO Howard Kaplan and Mike Moran, a software engineer with experience at IBM.

One key takeaway was that Webmasters need to apply "direct marketing methods" to their Web sites, according to Moran. Instead of just grading a site based on aesthetics and usability, asking questions like: What are the top-selling products, which items aren't selling so well, and what the competition is selling will do more to increase conversions. The direct marketer's eye would also assess a site based on things like audience segmentation (including demo and geographic targeting) and how persuasive the copy is.

The direct marketing mentality also means tracking offline conversions back to the Web. Moran suggests using a unique phone number for Web-based orders/questions, or offering printable coupons as a way to do that. Lastly, Webmasters need to be able to assess non-conversion activity, whether visitors are researching and comparing products, or have already purchased and are getting customer support--and find ways to assign it value.



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