Search engine traffic is one of the hardest customer acquisition channels to understand, especially for small business owners. Generally, these are the reactions I see from small business owners when they first have Google Analytics installed correctly and learn how to segment the channels down to search engine traffic:
- Panic — Some immediately panic because they can’t understand why 98 percent of their website visitors don’t convert into a customer.
- Confusion — Some wonder why AdWords isn’t producing a 30-1 return on their investment.
- Dismay — Some are happy that they get so many visitors but wonder why there are not enough customers.
Generally, what happens from here, is they either blame their website, their content, or their consultant/agency who manages or built their website for any shortcomings in getting them new customers.
However, the issues normally don’t have anything to do with any of those. Instead, it is how small business owners look at search engine traffic and how they are converting them into customers. It is very difficult to get a customer from the search engine and immediately convert them into a customer. Generally, the average conversion rate on websites is around 2 percent.
Now, this can be a little different for small businesses. Let’s say that someone is searching for a local oil change location. In that case, searchers are more likely to convert. However, it is not that far off because, at the end of the day, customers have two different intents:
- Buy — They are looking to buy a product or service at that moment. This also means that they could have chosen your competitor.
- Research — They are looking for more information and considering different research before they buy a product or service.
So, when you take those two intents into consideration, it really isn’t a stretch to think that a 2 percent conversion rate isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Searchers get a ton of different options when they search Google. They might not choose you, or they might not be ready to buy from you. So, it’s important to capture the 98 percent of those that don’t convert into a customer immediately from their search and try to get them to convert later on down the road. Sounds easy, right? Not exactly. But, don’t worry — here are some tips on converting search engine traffic to help:
Tips for Converting Search Engine Traffic to Sales
Focus on the Long Tail
One issue that you might be experiencing has to do with the customers that you are targeting. If you are running AdWords, and you buy short phrases such as “Pizza Place,” it might be too generic to convert them. However, if you buy “The Best Mushroom Pizza in (Your City),” then you are going to be more likely to convert.
When running your AdWords campaigns, focus on the long-tailed keyword phrase and capture them, as they are more likely to convert.
Optimize Your Campaigns
Similar to above, you want to make sure that you are optimizing for your physical location. Check your Google local page(s) to ensure that they have the correct information and that the directories have the same information as Yelp, YellowPages, etc. The worst thing that you can do is have the wrong local information that takes potential customers to the wrong location.
With regards to AdWords, one gigantic mistake that I tend to see a lot is not using the right location settings. It is absolutely critical that you use the correct settings below to make sure you target the right areas if you are trying to use AdWords to acquire local customers. Make sure you set it to “people in my targeting location” for both of those location options below.
Make it Easy to Convert
Another fatal mistake that I see a lot is when small business owners make it extremely hard for website visitors to convert. Usually, this is done in three ways:
- Phone or other contact information is hard to find
- Locations are hard to find
- No reviews or reasons to choose them
- There are thousands of options on their contact forms
- Contact forms do not work
If you are a potential searcher, and you have 4 different local businesses to choose from, you will choose the one that stands out. If you want to be eliminated quickly from the content set, then do one of the five options above.
If you don’t want to be eliminated, make sure you don’t make it hard for a customer to do business with you. Make your website inviting and easy to use, and have differentiators of why they should choose you. Were you named #1 Pest Control business in your city? If so, say that your website. It makes you stand out from your competition.
This one should be a no-brainer for a small business owner. If you are not, please, please start retargeting campaigns now. Ninety-eight percent of customers do not convert on the first click. Getting them back and staying on top of their mind is critical.
Luckily, it is easier than ever before to use tools like AdRoll or create retargeting ads yourself. By doing so, you will get website visitors to come back and, it is hoped, buy when they are ready. I firmly believe offering discounts or other various incentives in your retargeting ads will help convert them into customers.
Use Content and Email Gathering
Similar to retargeting, it can be very difficult to convert searchers into customers immediately because they need to be warmed up. This can be very apparent in small businesses with a high revenue per purchase, such as automotive or housing businesses.
If you are having trouble converting them immediately, I would suggest trying to capture their email addresses and sending them an email chain to stay on top of their minds. In addition, you can build trust by giving them valuable content. I personally use SUMOMe and Active Campaign for this.
Using SUMOMe, I use content popups and other various content in order to get their email addresses. From there, they get the content, and they go into my Active Campaign account. Through this, they get a 12-email series, which tries to get them to convert within the next 3-4 months.
If you are in the automotive business, you could use popups with content such as “12 Mistakes Our Customers Make When Buying.” These guides that show mistakes, failures, or pitfalls when making a large purchase are attention grabbing and will surely convert at a higher rate than your standalone web pages. Then your email chain will continue to build trust and value.
Employ Calls to Action in Content
If you are eCommerce retailers or sell products in retails stores, you can also have calls to action in your content. When writing compelling blog content solving researching questions, you can also include calls to action when you mention your products/services.
You can include items such as “click here for 10 percent off” or other various monetary discounts to give them the urgency to convert into a customer. You can also induce urgency by saying things such as “very limited inventory” or other various phrases to show them that they should buy so they do not get left out.
These are the top ways to convert the “top of the funnel” search engine traffic that has traditionally been a “low conversion rate” source of traffic. If you have any suggestions or any to add, let me know in the comments!