Just Because You Build It…

They flock to your Website in droves, looking for the latest information on a certain topic and hoping to find what they’re looking for. Either they get moving on to the next stop in cyberspace or they make contact about purchasing the product or utilizing the service you’re offering. Unfortunately, with so many millions of small businesses’ Websites to choose from, too many of those tire kickers are taking the first road, and fewer and fewer are being converted into customers.

Quency Phillips, president and CEO at Fuzion Marketing Group in New York, believes he’s found a solution–one that helps his full-service marketing firm convert at least 75% of those tire kickers into paying customers. The company’s Website (www.fuzionmg.com) resembles a print magazine that prospective customers can subscribe to via a very traditional-looking form.

“Once they fill out the form, it comes directly to us, and we can capture their information and use it to create immediate, personalized feedback, and also include them in our future online mailings,” Phillips says.

To get the best possible search engine rankings, Fuzion uses Google Ads and Yahoo’s pay-per-click options, thus increasing the firm’s chances of showing up on the first page or two when potential clients type the applicable terms for search engines. As a service-based business, the company relies mainly on word-of-mouth referrals, many of which already have a marketing project in mind before they go online. “Our closing rates are high because many customers are already familiar with us and are coming to us for a reason,” Phillips says.

Caught in the Web
Phillips may have an inside track on turning interested parties into customers, but many other companies are missing the boat. “As the Internet continues to grow, it’s not just about generating traffic anymore,” says Steve Riegel, director of search for Faction Media, a B2B communications firm in Denver. “It’s about the quality of the traffic, identifying what’s quality and what’s not, and figuring out how to drive measurable results.”

To get there, it’s important to understand that the online space is one big comparison-shopping swap meet. Once there, potential clients are free to compare everything from price to delivery times to quality to experience…and everything in between. A good Website conversion rate, or the rate of visitors that go on to become customers, is about 3% to 4%, according to Doug Shuman, senior vice president of customer marketing at Register.com, a New York-based Web and domain name registration service. Achieving that rate makes creating compelling Websites that stop consumers in their tracks an important goal for small businesses.

“Larger firms figured out early that people use the Internet to look for business, opportunities, products, and services,” Shuman says. “If your Website it not set up to get that kind of attention, then it’s not going to get any attention, let alone actual customers.”

Shuman advises small firms to first determine their metric of success. For example, a professional accounting firm would have a