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How to Make Your Website Convert Better

It’s time to talk conversion. The online version of taking action. Driving traffic to your website or blog is great but the second part of the equation is making sure your visitors DO something when they get there!

At a recent Nashville Internet Marketing Meetup, Phyllis Nichols of Sound Advice Sales led us as we covered the basics of website conversion optimization:
What counts as conversion?
How do I increase those who sign up/ buy/ engage?

How to Improve Website Conversion Rates

Introduction by Ross Jones:

I’m Ross Jones with 2 the Top Design here at Nashville, Tennessee.  This is the August meeting of the Internet Marketing, E-commerce, and Search Engine Optimization meetup group.  I’m glad to see there are about 20, 25 people here.


Tonight we have a special presentation by Phyllis Nichols of SoundAdvice Sales and Marketing.  Phyllis is going to be discussing website conversion, i.e. how to improve conversion rates on websites.  Phyllis has a long background of marketing and sales and improving performance for all different types of businesses, large and small.


So, she’s kind of uniquely qualified to talk about the sales process in general and, tonight, she’s specifically going to talk about improving conversion rates.  So, if you guys will give a hand to Phyllis Nichols.

Talk by Phyllis Nichols:

Thanks a lot for coming.  I do want to welcome everybody and encourage you to ask questions as we go.  Just so you know, Ross is definitely the SEO guy and that’s why I started coming to this meetup to learn things about that and take advantage of his expertise.

I’m coming to you really more from a total sales prospective.  I’m not an SEO person and I’m really not even a web designer; although, working the clients I’ve really begun to learn, and I know now what kinds of things are helping move the needle when it comes to sales.

Once we learn how to get the traffic to the site, which is really great, we start seeing our traffic covers go up. Here, we want to see a corresponding increase in sales or signups or whatever it is you want people to do when they get to the site, right?  So, we can focus on both sides of that coin.

What can be frustrating sometimes is to learn a lot of great things from Ross and we tweak our site and we do some of these cool things and we start getting more traffic. However, we don’t really see the resulting increase in sales, sometimes.  It can be a little frustrating.  So, we are going to talk about some of that tonight.

Please ask questions.  I’m coming to you from a sales perspective.  These opinions are my own.  These are things that I know that have worked for me and, more importantly, they have worked for clients.  So, some of you guys who do web design or some of that, if you disagree or if you have a little bit different take on things, please chime in.

Ross Says SEO is:  Right Words Right Place.

You know Ross tells us that, “SEO is having the right words in the right place.”  He boils it down to something really simple and, of course, we know it’s a little more complicated than that.  But, he’s right at that there’s something you never really want to forget when you’re working on your website, when you’re starting something, when you’re adding new content, or when you’re just updating it, that’s something you always want to have at the top of your mind.


So, tonight I want to talk about what conversion is.  Conversion is really helping your visitor take the appropriate next step.  You got him/her there, you got him/her to the site, you got him/her interested in whatever it is you’re talking about and you’re promoting.  Conversion really is helping people take that next step.


  • Making An Offer.
  • Giving people the chance to say YES.

If it’s okay with you guys, I want to kind of have a few ground rules.  You know, there are books and books and books and all kinds of stuff written about sales and it can be kind of complicated and a little overwhelming and sometimes even a little intimidating.

But, at the end of the day, sales is nothing more than making an offer and giving people a chance to say yes, and that’s really all it is.  So, I’ll encourage you to use the right words at the right place and things, which I try to remember when I’m working on things.

But, when you’re working on sales or converting or getting your traffic to do something when they get to the site, I would encourage you to just sort of remember this.  Boil it down to that, it’s about making an offer and getting people to say yes to whatever the offer is.

2 Key Questions:

  • What do you want to be known for?
  • Who is your audience?

For purposes tonight, you know you’re going to hear the word “sales” a lot, but that can just be a word for engagement.  If we can all agree – you know, if anybody has a profit-type site, or it could be about volunteers, it could be about subscribing, it could be about sort of that next step or whatever that action is going to be – I’m going to use the word sales, but it could be about donating, or signing up, or joining a cause for advocacy, that sort of thing.  So, is it okay if we use the generic term “sales,” but it sort of means anything that that next action might be right for your site? Right.

In the very beginning, just like a couple of weeks ago Ross talked about the keyword “research,” it’s not the most fun part of SEO or optimization, right?  But, it’s the most important part.  You have to get that part right if you want to get the right traffic to your site.

It’s the same thing as getting the site traffic to convert.  It’s really important.  You have to know what you want to be known for.  It’s critical!  You sort of have to really understand that.  What do you want to be known for?  Do you want to be known as . . . you had a great description, I love your description, you’re the WordPress person for Non-Geeks right?  Is that how you put it?  Okay.

So, it’s very vivid, and it’s really great.  So, she doesn’t do every kind of website in the world, she doesn’t try to be all things to all people, she really tries to attract this specific market.  So, she knows that’s what she wants to be known for.  You need to be really clear about that.  And you also need to be really clear about the audience that you’re trying to attract.

We’ve all heard people talking about, “I can sell anybody her skin.”  You know, there’s a skin care company that tells their people to say that.  It isn’t necessarily wrong, but it’s a little challenging.  Unless you have Nike’s ad budget, you can’t win that game ever.

When you’re trying it on a website or a blog, you need to appeal to something more specific than that, you need to really know who your target audience is.  I’m going to kind of keep going.  You know, I can talk about target audience for an hour, but it’s really important that you know who it is you want to be talking to.

When you’re thinking about your website, it’s a conversation.  It’s a conversation that you’re having with people.  It’s sort of one-way conversation in the sense that you put yourself out there and when they choose to consume it, they’re having that second side of the conversation.


So, you need to know who you’re having that conversation with.  Your vocabulary and terminology, even the pictures and images you might use, even the colors and things you might use on your site, all of these things are going to be very different if you’re selling something that you want to appeal to let’s say college-age audience of women.  You know, for ages of 15 to 25, you’re going to use totally different vocabulary.

Even if you’re selling the exact same product, for example some kind of skin care thing, to women that are 35 to 45, you’re going to talk about it in a much different way, you’re going to appeal to them in a much different fashion.  Everybody sort of get that? Okay.

So, knowing who your audience is becomes really the key factor.  And this is again sort of part of the foundation, like when you do your keyword research, some of these go hand-in-hand.  Who’s going to be looking for you?  Ross came out really well the other night when we were talking about what are people typing-in when they’re trying to find you, or trying to find a site like yours and this goes hand-in-hand with that.

I encourage you to get really clear, as clear as you can.  Start with wherever you are at right now and continue to sort of tweak this until you really have it fine-tuned.  If you guys have questions, just let me know.

Is Your Site 3AM Ready?

Okay, so when we get to the website, I want to ask you when you look at the client site, is it 3am ready?  So, we’ve done all the work, it’s great, we’ve taken all this advice, we’ve done some great tweaking to our site.  Somebody is super excited about something, they find your website, they get there, and it’s 3 o’clock in the morning.

They’re so excited they can’t sleep, or maybe they’re so worried about something they can’t sleep, I don’t know.  When they get to your site, you know, is there something for them to do?  Is there a way for them to interact and learn from you?  And even better, since you’re probably not up at 3am waiting for that person, is there a way for you to capture that person’s information so that you can continue to have a conversation with him/her down the road?

What Do You Want Them To DO?

The single biggest question I ask people a lot of times, especially non-technical people, but even SEO people will agree with this, is that with each page of your site, take a look at it with a fresh perspective and ask yourself, “I’ve got somebody here, a visitor here, what do I want them to do?”

Okay, other than read your stuff.  But there should be a call to action; I’m going to go into that in a little more detail in a minute.  But how critical is that?  I’ve got somebody here, what is it that I want them to do?  You know, do I want them to sign up, do I want them to register, do I want them to buy something?

Just think of what you’re selling, you know the “Buy Now” button could be your whole page.  It’s that simple, it’s just that straightforward.

Is This The Right Place For ME?

The other thing you want to communicate to people is that they’ve landed at the right place.  Does anybody here have a stopwatch or something with a second hand?  So, how long on average do you think you have to get somebody’s attention when they get to your site?  5 to 7 seconds?  2 seconds (that’s pretty short)?  10 minutes (that would be nice)?

Okay, can you just count 7 seconds for us?  Can you start?

Somebody from the audience:

That’s it!

Phyllis continues . . .

So, 7 seconds is longer than you think, and for most people the actual time to grab their attention is closer to 2 or 3 seconds.  I don’t know if you have stats on that.  But, people make really quick judgments about that.  You know, they may be searching, or they may have got your information off a business card, or maybe it’s a referral from somebody else.


But, however they got there, you’ve got probably 3 or 4 seconds, not necessarily to sell them something certainly, and not necessarily to even “wow” them, but for them to just sort of consciously and subconsciously recognize that “I am at the right place.  It’s worth me reading on.  It’s worth me taking another maybe 10 to 15 seconds to see if it’s worth going further.”

Comment from the audience:

Phyllis, one of the things about . . . when you’re talking about how much time we have.  Just within the last year, Google officially said that they actually do take into account the load-speed of your page, how long it takes your page . ..  That’s been something that SEO experts have kind of expected or known for a number of years, but it’s just within the last year that somebody at Google actually said this.  They’ve also come out – it’s still in beta right now, it’s by invitation only – but there is now a tool that Google will actually help you speed up your website.

They have said: Number 1, it is a small, but a definite ranking factor they look into.  But they primarily say that it’s a much better user-experience, the faster that your website can load.

One of my friends, who is more of a technical SEO than I am, pointed out that there seems to be . . . when you get down to it, I think it’s 2.9 seconds and faster, is kind of where there is a significant and noticeable difference in what your SEO results can be, if you can get your pages loading that fast.

So, faster is the bottom-line.  You want your pages loading as fast as possible.  Do all of my websites and all of my clients’ websites load in less than 3 seconds?  No.  Do I want  them to load as fast as possible?  That’s what we should try to equal.  If you can take off just one second from the current speed it takes them to load, that’s a good thing to do.

Phyllis: (throws a pack of sweets at the person and continues . . . )

Thanks a lot, thank you.

So, ways that you can translate to people that this is the right place for them.  Obviously, this is where sort of knowing your target audience comes into play, right?  They’re going to know by just the way the site looks a little bit.  But they’re also going to know from the vocabulary that you’re using, the way that you’re talking, just the language that you use in your copy, things like that.

Tell Show Tell Again.

That’s why your research is so important.  I tell people all the time that you need to tell people that they’re at the right place, you need to show them that they’re at the right place, and you need to tell them again.

I’ll just confess this really quickly.  I’ve got a great friend who’s a copy-writer, professional copy-writer, and she’s getting ready to hit the million-dollar market for her small business.  So, she really knows what she’s doing.

I say “welcome” on my homepages, I have to take it off because you should never say that.  You want to get right down to the business of why you’re here, what can you do, or here’s your solution or whatever.  Get right down to business.

This is not meeting your neighbor across your backyard fence.  You know, people got to your site for a specific reason, they might just be browsing as well, but you want to immediately engage with them right after that.

So, if you don’t know much about copy-writing they tell you headline is everything, right?  If you have a good headline, some people go down and read your sub-headline.  If your sub-headline is decent, they might read the first 2 or 3 sentences.  And your website is no different.

So, if writing and strong copy is not your thing, it’s something you’re just going to need to work on and tweaking and keep making it better and better as you go.  But get right to the business.  Don’t think that you need to warm people up to it, just go ahead and kind of give it to them.

Now, this is a friend of mine.  She’s got this right on her website, “Website Advice for Delightful Weirdos.”.  She’s a really unique person.  She’s in Australia, actually.  What I love about this, though, is you’re going to get to that site and it’s either going to appeal to you or it’s not.  Which is totally fine, right?

If that appeals to you, great.  You’re probably going to work with her really well, you’re probably going to like her, you’re probably going to like her videos, you’re going to like the way she does business, you’re going to like all these things about her.  If that doesn’t appeal to you, that’s also okay, right?

She knows not everybody in the world is going to want to work with her.  She also knows that she doesn’t want to spend her time and energy working with you, or even marketing to you, doing email campaigns with you, doing a free consultation with you, if you’re not her right kind of customer.  So, it helps people stop to qualify.

Now, I’m not saying you need to do something like this on your site, but it might be a nice thing to sort of remember in the back of your mind.  If you’re trying to appeal to a certain type of audience, be cognizant of what kind of things are going to appeal to them.

A lot of things we design are for ourselves.  We were at a meeting yesterday and this really rang well with me and I want to share it with you guys.  You know, you’re not your own target market in most cases, right?  So, you’re an SEO guy and you know all these kinds of things about SEO, but your clients are not.

So, you’re using language and words and ways of explaining all of that so that the non-technical person understands.  So, I think a lot of times when we’re using words or writing or things like that, we’re writing things that means something to us, that appeal to me, and I’m not my own target market.  So, just hope that that helps a little bit.


  • Too much copy.
  • Design for your client’s needs, not yours.
  • It’s not about you.  Never was.  Never will be.
  • 4 Second Rule.

Some of the mistakes.  I’m going to go through these really quick because it’s really easy to fix them.  The number one – there’s kind of number one (a) and number one (b) – is too much copy, way too many words, especially on the homepage.  If you’ve got more than 2 paragraphs and more than 3 or 4 sentences in a paragraph, you’ve probably got too much.

If there are places that have all the information, and if it is easy to fix those, go ahead and fix it now.  Make it as sort of like a game, right?  You know, make it like you can only have 8 sentences on your home page and you have to make them as compelling as possible.  Believe me, you’ll actually see your traffic stay longer and you’ll see people actually move from there and they’ll actually hang around and read it.

A lot of people, if they see more than a couple of paragraphs and if it all looks really wordy, they don’t even read it, they don’t even hang around.  You might have the best deal, the best prizing, the best program, you may be the best there is out there, but they’re never going to know because they’re not going to past that first step.  So, it’s an easy fix.

Number one (b) is that you don’t make an offer.  I spent some 20 minutes on somebody’s site, and I never could find out how to actually work with her, hire her.  Okay, no wonder you’re not getting any business, like we don’t know how to do it, I can’t even get a hold of you, I mean I don’t know how the hell to contact you.  So, those are easy fixes.

Design for your client’s needs, not for yours.  We already kind of talked about that.  Your website is not for you – ever, ever – it’s for your client and your target audience.  Even if you’ve got a blog, you might be blogging about your feelings, your personal life, your hobbies, your interests, but keep in mind that your audience is who you’re trying to cater to, and especially if you’re interested in traffic.

I mean if you want to blog and make it all about you, that’s fine, but then just don’t worry about traffic.  But, your website is for the people who want to consume that information.  So, write it for them, edit it for them, make sure they understand it.  We already talked about the “4 Second Rule,” and it’s actually more like 2 or 3 seconds.

Mistakes Continued:

  • Bad Contrast, font size.
  • Elements that stall, confuse or downright irritate.
  • Navigational Failure.

Another bad mistake, “Oh my gosh! Bad contrast.”  How many of you do websites?  So, what do you feel about this?  Good, bad, doesn’t matter?

Comment from the audience:

It matters a lot.


So, easy fix.  Font size too, you know, there’s kind of a giveaway I listened to the other day that said it should be like 14 point or higher.  Less may be if you’re marketing just to teens, then you are able to go a little smaller.  And high contrast too for people with younger eyes might be okay.  Knowing your audience is going to help there.  But, when it doubt, keep it simple, keep it clean, keep it as clear as you possibly can.

Now, elements that stall the sale.  A lot of people already know this, I don’t go into this as much as I used to.  But, if you got people to have to jump through hoops to get to your shopping cart, they have to jump through hoops to look at your information, it drives me crazy.  Just don’t do it.  You need to make things as simple as possible for people.

Question from the audience:

You lost me on “Bad Contrast” because I didn’t know who you were speaking to.

Okay, so contrast is for colors.  Primarily when you’ve got, you know, light blue font or text on white background, or dark purple on a black background, stuff like that.  It’s really hard to see.  I mean sometimes you could do it, but it’s just irritating.  So, why would you want to?  That’s what contrast is about.

If you just Google “Bad Contrast” or something, you’ll go, “Oh my gosh!”  There are websites there that make you literally go, “Oh my gosh!”  It’s crazy.

Elements that stall, confuse or downright irritate.  You know, this is probably something that I don’t need to go in a whole lot.  Have somebody that you know and trust, who’s going to be honest, to go through your website and see how easy it is to navigate.  Or, at least, go through the purchase process.

If you’re hanging people up anywhere along the way, if you’re asking them to jump through hoops, if you’ve got some weird ground there – I was registering for a conference the other day and they kind of took me to a second page and a third page and I was kind of like, “What is this?”  You know, keep it much simpler.  So, from a design perspective, you need to make it simple, you need to make it easier.

And navigational failure.  It’s just got to be really easy for people to navigate.  Again, I was with another client the other day and we were spending some time on her website and we got to a point where we couldn’t get back to the homepage.  You know, that’s kind of a problem.

So, this is a little obvious, but just go through your site and make sure those things are there.

Heroine Content.

  • Solve Problems.
  • Match Expectations.
  • Update often – stay current.
  • Is there a reason to come back?
  • Can I tell what you want me to do?

The next thing.  Fortunately this is another good thing because great content also happens to helps with SEO, it helps our traffic.  I call it “Heroine Content.”  That comes from a book that I read ages and ages ago.

It’s an image that turns me on. . . (Phyllis raises her hand in confession) I’ve never done heroine . . . It’s something that’s so addictive and it’s so powerful for people that people are willing to ruin their whole lives to get it.  You want your website to be that compelling.  You want it to be that great.

Even though maybe your design is not the best, your vocabulary doesn’t totally appeal to me, but it’s such good information that I can’t stop looking, I can’t stop engaging, I can’t stop being there.

The best way to get heroine content is to be solving people’s problems, getting right to the point, obviously giving them great information.  We can talk about content a lot.  I think most of you probably know what really good quality content is or how to do it.

Match the expectations from the site.  If you say you’re going to deliver certain things, you’re going to explain certain things, make sure you do that.  Update your site often.  These are great things for SEO also.

Now, “Is there a reason for me to come back?”  You know, maybe there are some pretty nice sites and they look pretty good, they have some good information, but maybe they don’t get updated often and they don’t have a blog and, in a lot of cases, maybe there is really not a reason for me to want to come back and check it out and see that information again.

The next one is, “Can I tell what you want me to do?”  You know, is it really clear to me how I can engage with you and how I can get to know you.  Years ago it was totally fine for – I’d say 10 years ago, or maybe 5 years ago – you know, websites could be sort of an online version of a store, and that’s just really not the case anymore.

People are now looking for an experience.  So, even if we’re looking to be educated – certainly if we’re looking to be entertained – but, if we’re looking to be educated as well, we want to have an experience.

In most cases, even if it’s a business to business situation, people are also looking to make a connection.  They want to know is this information viable, is it credible.  But I also want to know, you know, who’s behind it.  Are they people who are like me?  Are they people who are going to get me?  Do they understand my business?  Do they understand what’s happening in my sphere of influence?  Am I going to understand what they’re doing?  Does this make sense?

And these are not the easiest things to communicate.  But those are the things that we need to strive for, so that people have a great experience when they leave your site, they have a great experience when they check it out.

Call To Action:

  • Tell
  • Show
  • Tell Again
  • Make It Easy

Okay, let’s talk about call to action.  This is really where the money is.  Call actually is a marketing term.  Again, it’s really about making an offer and giving people a chance to say yes.  So, people get to your homepage, they get to your website, you know the call to action might just be to subscribe to the blog, to read it again, to come back to get your information, and maybe an offer for a free report, so that you get their email address and that you can do some email, auto-respond generated marketing to them.

Anything that you can do to continue to have a further, additional conversation with those people is key, right?  Somebody’s found your site once, they were looking for what you have, they got there, so anything you can do to capture their information so that you can continue to have that conversation further down the road is to your advantage.

Again, showing people and telling people, making it really clear.  Don’t assume – you know, nobody in this room is a client of mine, but I would love maybe for all of you to be clients if that’s the right thing, and if you want you can just all give me your money tonight and I’ll just go away with it, right?

In a perfect world that would be great – you know, just go to a website, then immediately go to the buy button, but that’s not the case.  So, you need to able to have engagement.  A statistic I heard yesterday – 89% of people start shopping and start researching information online first now.

89%!  It doesn’t mean that they are going to buy everything online, but they’re doing their research, they’re doing their homework, they’re going to educate themselves.  I mean my parents are in their late 70s and early 80s, my dad spent hours researching his car online before he made a purchase.

So, those kinds of things matter.  You need to able to continue that conversation.  You know, the car dealers who captured his email address were – well, my parents would probably give them their social security number, if they asked for it – but, those dealers were able to continue to have a conversation on email such as, “Hey, we’ve got a new shipment, a new model, a new color” or whatever.  They’re the people who got his business.  And it happens to all of us, we’re all consumers.

But, you need to make it really easy.  You also need to make it really compelling.  Does anybody have any issues?  This “call to action” is a tricky thing.  On my homepage I call this “action to purchase.”  I’m in the services industry.

Call To Action:

  • Product – Tangible Item
  • Service – Non Tangible

A great way to do “call to action.”  Are you people familiar with the sales page?  If it’s done well, you sort of talk about the problem, and what’s going to happen if you don’t do this, and how your mother’s going to love you.  And then, they kind of go on to the solution and how they can fix it and your life is going to be great.

There are several calls to action there, social proof or testimony, or something like that.  For most of us this is not a natural conversation that we have.  A lot of people are even afraid to ask you for the business, they’re afraid to even say, “Hey, hire me and I’ll do this, pay me and I’ll help you.”

That’s a hard thing to do psychologically.  Then it’s really important that you’re really good with words on your website or your video or some other things.  But, here’s a great way to start putting together a great call to action.

If you sell a product, a physical product, a tangible item, you need to talk about the intangible aspects of the item, the intangible benefits.  Are you familiar with the difference between the features and benefits of items?  Yes?  No?

No.  Okay, let me give you an example.  I watch TVCs at times, and I don’t buy a lot from them.  But, I tell you what, they are masters at selling the benefits of something.  So, the other night I’m browsing through the channels and they are selling – I think it was a, I’ve seen this a couple of times now, it just kills me – a microwave pressure cooker.

I didn’t know there was such a thing.  It was the first time I saw it.  I don’t even know what anybody would want it for.  So, they just talk about it a little bit, and they describe it, and they show it to you, and they tell you how big it is, and some of that stuff.

But, immediately then they start talking about how you’re going to save money on your groceries, and you’re not going to heat up your kitchen because it goes in a microwave, and things are going to cook faster, and you’re going to make healthier meals which means that you’re a better mom, you’re going to have healthier kids.

I mean the next thing you know is that you’re a terrible person if you don’t buy this thing.  So, that’s selling the benefits versus the actual item.  Is there anybody who’s staying up till midnight to buy a microwave pressure cooker?  I don’t think so.  But, if there is somebody out there who wants healthier meals, and maybe get dinner on the table faster, and not heat up the kitchen, and not have a whole bunch of dishes you wash, yeah, probably.  There are probably some people who’ll go, “Yeah, you know what, maybe I’ll do that.”

So, if what you’re selling is a product, you need to come up with a list of features or benefits that do that.  There is an exercise we can do after, maybe during the Q&A, we can actually walk through it if you want to do that for somebody in the room.

Curiously enough, the opposite is true to sell a service.  I sell a service.  I do sales consulting and some training and I help people with some marketing and some of that stuff or whatever.  It’s a little squishy, it’s a little hard to get your hands around.  So, your call to action for something like that, for non-tangible stuff works great, statistics work great.

Like my customers have an average of 50% to 60% increase in sales when we update their sales page with great sales copy.  That’s something you can get your hands around.  You can decide, “Okay, you know what, this 50-60% sales increase is what I’m looking for,” you know, now you have a way to evaluate what I’m talking about.

You see a lot of this in companies that do weight loss.  You know, “Lose 30 lbs in 30 days.”  That’s like identifiable, it’s quantifiable, it’s something people can kind of get their heads around.

Another great example in this services industry – again, we’re talking results, we’re talking outcome, we’re talking what you’re going to get.  Here’s another big thing with your website and I encourage you to do it as much as you can.  A lot of times we’re so eager to prove who we are, and what we do, and we’re great with what we do, and we’re nice people, and we’re going to be helpful – all of these really great things, but we take way too much time talking about ourselves and people really don’t care.

Like I don’t care how long Ross has been doing SEO.  I really don’t care if he’s a nice guy.  I mean eventually I will care, but in the beginning I want to know if he can solve my problem.  Can he fix what I need?  Can he give me more traffic to my website?

So, talk about those results.  I mean if you have to be that specific, start writing a list of “here are the results that I get.”  If you sell a product, you start talking about those benefits.  If you’re a dog groomer, you know, “You’ll have a better looking dog, it will be quicker, your dog will be happier, you’ll be happier, you’ll be the envy of your neighbors,” whatever it might be.

Those things are going to be much more compelling then going, “I’ve been a dog-trainer for 12 years, and I’m certified with this, and I do that.”  And I’m like, “So what!”

When you’re selling online, think about the process.  This has been a ruffling year, the statistics are still true.  When I was in corporate sales, most people – unless it’s an impulse-type item – are not going to purchase something the first time they come to your site.  Especially that’s true, I think, if it’s a high dollar value consulting thing.

Somebody’s not going to go, “Oh, look at my stuff for three minutes and give me three thousand dollars,” and the person goes, “It would be cool.  Should call you tomorrow.”  That would be really nice, that’s not how it works.  So, most people need 7 interactions with you.

Think about this.  That means they’ve got to come back to your site 7 times, and if you haven’t given them a compelling reason to do it, you know you might be in trouble and somebody else might get that business.  And that why being present on social media – you know if they see you again on Facebook, and maybe they see again on twitter, and they see you in a couple of other places – it’s helpful.

But, what’s really key is if you capture their information and you’re able to do an auto-responder campaign.  You know, you’re able to go, “Hey, you’ve downloaded my SEO handbook, my 10 top things to do to fix your homepage, or something.  And thank you for doing that.  Oh, by the way, here’s some more information, or a blog post, or a Google update.”

So there is a reason for them to come back and they’re hearing from you yet again.  Are you guys familiar with the concept of a sales funnel?  Right.  So, now you have people in a sort of sales funnel.  Sales funnels are 3 dimensional, your visitors are sort of walking around, checking you out.

Maybe the second time they get something from you, they go, “Oh, I didn’t know they were on this Facebook page.  I’ll see if anybody said something nice there, maybe they left some testimonials, maybe I’ll check those out.”

All of this sort of happens really in a haphazard way.  Most people have found out many of your things, but you’ve got to have a way for people to connect to you, and have a way for them to move back and forth.  That’s why videos have now got really big.

People know how to use YouTube channels, sort of for people who don’t want to do reading and take information of a visual nature, “I want to see a video,” and that sort of thing.  That really enhances a multiple ways for people to see you.


I started doing audio podcasts, very short ones, on my website because some people don’t like to read, they like to hear and listen.  They learn better through an auditory method.  So, any of those kinds of things that are going to enhance the experience when people get to the site are definitely going to – after the fact that they would want to engage with you again and that they would be able to get back often maybe because of your email, or some of those things.

Somebody from the audience:

Have you seen the latest stats about the 7 interactions thing, because that was like 4 or 5 years ago?  The ones I’ve seen lately are up to 30.


Yeah, you know what, it really sort of depends.  I wouldn’t say I saw updated stats.  I did take a class with – Oh my God!  His name just escaped – Jason Falls, who is a big SEO kind of marketing guy, and they just did some research with their customers in a database of about 300 clients – actually there clients were sort of medium-sized to larger, so certainly much bigger than my business and some of my clients – and they found that it’s still 7 to 10.

Although, again, much different.  When I was selling video conferencing and things to Colbert & Carlson’s and really large companies, those 7 interactions involved me making an appointment and physically going and visiting those people.  Now the 7 interactions may have gone up a little bit, but it’s much easier because there is a whole bunch of places where they can see you.

There are accounts that they see you on, you know they like your Facebook page and decide to check your Facebook page every once in a while, they follow you on Twitter, and you know they do some of those kinds of things.


So, it may be higher, but I think it’s just a little bit.  It’s because there is more opportunity for people to interact.  So, I guess that was the research that they did with their clients.  Now, again, a lot of their clients are larger companies that are selling probably big-ticket items and things like that.

We were talking about a sales cycle.  People can spend a fair amount of money fairly quickly, but you have to be compelling, you have to sort of be really – not sort of – you have to be very specific on how you move them through your process.  And if you don’t have a process or you don’t know, well – everybody has a process, it’s just maybe a good one or a bad one – and if you don’t know what it is, you probably have to struggle just a little bit.

So, knowing just what people are going through, and how they are interacting with you, and how they get around to buying from you, and understanding how you move people through that – increases the “yes” factor substantially.

When I used to be in sales, I probably made $20,000 to $50,000 on cold calls in my life.  And, you get a lot better at it for one.  And, number two, I learned really quickly to increase my “yes” factor by making sure it’s reaching the right people – which is actually your target market – making sure I was making a compelling offer, I’m not wasting people’s time, I’m not doing those kinds of things.

The same principles apply online.  You know, another thing comes about with qualifying people.  If Ross is really really busy, he’s going gangbusters, then he’s not going to work with anybody.  He’s got a financial investment minimum where he’s going to work with people, you know don’t go ahead saying that.

You don’t want to spend time and energy trying to entice somebody who just can’t afford you or isn’t the right match for you.  I think there is a fear of some sort of scarcity.  I had a client last year, he has owned some IT space forever, quite nice, an IT services provider in Ohio.  And he had – Oh my God! – about 30 things on his homepage that he could do for people.


And he probably could do all of them, you know.  But it was so overwhelming.  So, I go to his homepage and maybe I want a small network set up for my company, or I want a little video conferencing system set up in my boardroom, and that’s listed like maybe number 12 down the list, but I don’t know, I don’t know if that’s his thing, if he’s really good at it, if he’s only got one setup, if he’s more of a Cisco sort of network guy, I don’t know.

So, even though some of you maybe able to do tons and tons of things, and you may want to reach everybody under the sun, and you need every single person to be your customer – you know, be the best with like one or two things, and when you start getting some traffic with that then you can start adding and you can start growing and you can start building.

You can take those people from being occasional visitors to customers, who pay you money, and take those customers to raving fans.  And with raving fans you can sell them a whole bunch of stuff.  You can go, “Hey, you know what . . .”  When I do social media stuff, I don’t market for it at all.  You know, that’s really not how I want to start my engagement with people.

If it becomes part of somebody’s sales cycle then we’ll talk about it.  But, first of all I don’t want to be known for that.  Second of all I don’t really want to be in that space, it’s really crowded, and the term “social media consultant” – tons of things, tons of people.

So, don’t be afraid to be really specific and to be really clear about the kinds of people you want to come and visit your site, and that sort of thing.  So, anybody has any questions?


Wouldn’t you get a little too narrow with your niche marketing if you do something like that?



Short answer, no.  I don’t think so.

Question continues . . .

So, if that man had not made his list with specifically what you were looking for, would you have popped off that site immediately?


No, here’s what happens.  I learned that through this guy.  I told him, “Take your top 5.  We’re going to switch this up and you can only have 5, for now.  We’re going to switch your homepage.”  This is the other nice thing about internet, right?  This is not in stone, people, so you can change it.

So, I made him take it from 30 or 28, or whatever he had, to 5.  Take your top 5.  The top 5 things that you’re best at, or the ones that are the most profitable for you, or the ones you like the best.  I don’t care how you rate it, take your top 5 and put them there.

Again, how could you do keyword research when there are 30 different things that you’re offering?  You can’t.  So, we narrowed it down to those top 5 and, you know what, he started getting interaction.  Once you’re talking to a company, you’re upgrading their Cisco gear, their networking stuff, and all that kind of thing.  You know, it’s easy to say, “Yeah, we can also do your video conferencing.  If you’re putting one or need to, let’s talk about that.  Okay fine.”  Does that make sense?

I think there is a fear that – with a lot of people, especially with small business people – that we don’t want to miss one person.  We don’t want one person to walk away knowing we can’t help them.  So, we try to just appeal to the masses and we just can’t.

There’s a company with a site called “Sugar Daddies,” – and I think they have a couple of more things now, but – when they first started all they used to make were brownies.  That’s it, just brownies.  They became known for like the best brownies in all of the United States or something.

And, you know, they shipped them to The Allen Show everyday and they Fedexed them overnight, and all that kind of stuff.  And it’s their niche.  Now they make some cookies and some other things.  But they weren’t afraid of people who went like, “I want my brownies on my birthday cake.”  “Oh well, you know what, we’ll do cakes too.”

No, they were like, “No.”  Take a stand and own it.  You know, be able to say, “I’m the person who does this.  And because I do just this, I can do it better than anybody else.  And I know it, and I understand it, and I can take care of it.”  I think you’re much better off if you do that.

I think sometimes there is a fear that somebody sometime is going to come and we’re going to miss a sale.  And guess what, you’re not.  You’re probably not going to get them so far because everything on your website is going to look so generic and so bland that they are not even going to know if they are at the right place.

I’m not trying to be mean, but that’s what happens.  And I see this happening again and again with clients.  People hate defining their target market and hate defining what they want to be known for.  But I’m telling you, once you do it, and once you sort of take that stand and say, “You know what, I’m going to be the best,” in whatever it is you’re doing, “and I’m going to own this face.”  I’m telling you, everything is gets so much easier.

You’ll know right away – if there is some sort of affiliate thing, or adwords – you’re going to know right away if it’s going to match, you’ll know right away if it’s okay to put it on your website, you’ll know right away what sort of giveaway thing somebody might want, you’ll know what kind of language to use, you’ll know all those kinds of things.

It gets so much easier, it’s unbelievable.  And I’ve seen this happening time and time again.  A customer had invented a product and she was really struggling to sell it.  She was kind of trying to appeal to wholesalers who might put it in their stores, but also working moms, and also grandparents, and people who have toddlers.  I was like, “Hey, there’s no way you could market to them, all of those segments right at the same time.”

So, we kind of narrowed it down to the wholesalers because selling five thousand of one of these things versus one at a time is going to be a better deal for her.  And when we finally did that, she was able to move it up – you know she has a website where she does the one-on-one and things like that – but that was the only way she was going to able to make some sales and actually kind of be known as an inventor and that kind of thing instead of trying to compete in the “mom” space.

Okay, can I say just one more thing really quickly?  I hope that you guys learned a bunch of things tonight, there are one or two things that you can do, but here is the key, tomorrow do something.  Like make one of the changes.  Work on your copy and improve it or shorten it, or whatever.

It doesn’t really matter if it’s all here in your head.  So, start making a few changes.  Your website is never going to be perfect – it’s kind of like your landscaping and your artwork – it’s never going to get done, it’s just going to get better and better and better.

So, I will really encourage you to do something.  Just make some changes and see if it helps.  Put together a more compelling call to action.  If anybody wants some help with, you know, benefits and features and some of those kinds of things to really make your offer sizzle in a non-spamming way, then let me know.

So, thank you, thanks for your time.



  1. Great video and advice. Would love to speak with you in person.