How to Engage the 95% that Don’t Convert
95% of anonymous website visitors remain just that – anonymous; they don’t convert. The focus of online marketing is on the 5% that do, with the hope of increasing that to, let’s say, 6%.
Instead, the focus should go to the 95% that don’t convert. Paying attention to what anonymous visitors are telling you – and they tell you a lot – is key to un-anonymous-ing them. It’s like following a breadcrumbs trail, eventually you’ll get to the sandwich; or to a stuffed dude.
By focusing your efforts on the 95% you can, and will, provide anonymous visitors a better, more relevant and personalized experience and they in return just might take off the mask.
Let the Telling Begin
We can divide what anonymous visitors are telling you in to three:
- Pre-Visit Intel
- Pre-Visit Actions
- On-Site Behavioral Attributes
We’ll break it down in order to see how to gather information from every step. And, how by cross-referencing all the various bits of information you can get a detailed picture of your visitors. Doing this will allow you to personalize their experience on your website and increase your engagement and conversion rates.
One more thing before we get going. There are two kinds of information the anonymous visitor is telling: on the surface and in-between the lines. Meaning, there are means to collect information about the visitor, and there are conclusions to be drawn from this information. Then, there are actions that can be taken.
So this is how we’ll present it:
- What is the information
- What is the tell
- What you can do about it
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The Information: What device the visitor is on – desktop, tablet or smartphone. This can be easily extracted from Google Analytics (as can the rest of the Information.)
The Tell: The visitor’s expected attention span. This is pretty straightforward. You know this by intuition, maybe you’ve just never needed to put it into the words. When someone is visiting your site via a desktop, you can assume that they are more open to doing some reading, maybe even longform. On the other hand, most won’t read a 2,500 word article on their phone. And if someone is on a tablet, most chances they are either on the sofa, or in a cafe,
To-Do: Serve content relevant to their current (assumed) state of mind. For mobile visitors serve visual content that is easily and quickly consumed. Videos obviously, and images too but also short pieces of written content can work. Just keep in mind they are either on-the-go or hiding their phone beneath their desk so their boss won’t see it. Either way, they need to be on alert and thus their attention span is, let’s say, fragile. They are easily distracted and probably won’t follow a long train of thought – so keep it short and to the point.
Desktop visitors are yours for the longer haul. But even there don’t push it. You have to keep it relevant otherwise they’ll bounce before you’ll manage to say personalization. How to keep it relevant? More on that later.
It is important to be aware of the device used for visiting your website. If your company has a mobile App, it doesn’t make sense to include a CTA for downloading it in the desktop version of your website. It’s the little things that make the big differences. And since we are already on the topic, why include both CTAs for the AppStore and GooglePlay when you know whether your visitor is using iOS or Android? Thinking about it instinctively – wouldn’t a single CTA convert better the a double one?
The Information: What browser the visitor is on. Again, this information can be easily extracted from Google Analytics.
The Tell: How technological-savvy your audience is. I am purposely using the word “audience” here rather than “visitor”, because in this case The Tell is indicative of the group as a whole and not of specific visitors.
If the majority of your visitors are using Chrome, you can assume they are more or less in touch with technology. Chrome is a browser that you need to download and install – not the height of tech wizardry, but just between you and me, my dad, even though he bought the latest Lenovo Yoga he still uses the IE that came preinstalled. My dad runs his entire life from his computer, but I doubt if he knows how to download and install a browser. And that’s a big difference.
To-Do: First of all, and excuse me for even saying it, make sure your site supports all browsers. Next, understand your audience, and make sure you are speaking to them in a language they can understand. You can even have different landing pages that welcome visitors from different browsers in the appropriate manner.
The Information: Where your visitor is from. Any server in the world can be queried regarding the IPs of the requests it gets. And, along with Google Analytics, any marketing automation software can provide IP information as well.
The Tell: This really depends on your company’s scope and services provided. If you are an international company, the visitor is telling you about his or her cultural background, the language they feel most comfortable in and in a very general way, their socio-economic standing. For domestic and local companies, your visitors tell you about their needs, their tastes, their preferences and socio-economic status in a much more focused way.
To-Do: Let’s start with international companies. In one word – localize. You learn that a fifth of your traffic comes from Brazil, you should put up a version of your site in Portuguese and direct the traffic from Brazil to it. Those little flag buttons are silly and outdated. If you are too lazy to direct your traffic, your visitors have the right to be too lazy to click a flag button.
Localization doesn’t stop with language. Different countries have different preferences and sensitivities that hold an impact on on-site performance. Just a quick example: if you want to launch your website in the Middle East, make sure to move the images and forms to the left since Arabic is written from right to left, so locals will always start scanning a web page from the right, as opposed to English speakers that their eyes gravitate to the left.
In the domestic level, you can personalize for the different states, or even regions. Include state-specific offers and content. It will make your audience feel that you care about them.
The Information: What time it is. Sounds trivial, but it’s not.
The Tell: Your visitors’ state of mind. Think about it logically – you are in a different state of mind on Saturday at 3pm, than you are on Wednesday at 11am. On Saturday afternoon you are probably relaxed and happy, while on Wednesday morning you are business-like and semi-stressed. The way you approach and react to things is immensely different.
To-Do: The first thing to do is to take this in to account. Next, you can use it for simple – and effective – personalization tricks like Optimizely does.
Not only does Optimizely personalize the salutations according to the visitor’s current time, it also matches the image on the home page. Nice.
Another thing to do is to play with your offering so it will match the visitor’s state of mind. This is already the second time we mention “state of mind” and for a reason. Even in the B2B sphere, decision making, although it aims to be 100% rational, is often tainted with emotions. We can’t avoid it and definitely should not ignore it. So personalizing the on-site experience while taking under consideration not only dry data but also more circumstantial factors is advisable. After all, you are dealing with real people, not numbers in an excel table.
The Information: Where from the visitor arrived: email / newsletter, link (article, blog post, directory listing), banner ad, search ad, social referral. There’s also Organic Search, but that has its own section below: Search Query.
The Tell: Here we need to divide the sources in to two groups. The first, sources you created: email/newsletter, banner and search ads. The second, free-agent sources, one you have no control over: links from third-party publications and social referrals.
From sources you created the tell is about the effectiveness of your paid media and inbound efforts.
From free-agent sources you can deduct about the ‘quality’ of the visitors. It sounds a bit unpleasant to put quality labels on individuals, but we do so about leads, so why not about website visitors? And there’s no shame in that. Visitors that arrived on a link from an industry publication are of a ‘higher quality’ than ones arriving from a general-interest blog.
To-Do: Direct traffic coming from your own sources to customized landing pages that ‘talk’ to the visitors in their own language, using the jargon they are familiar with and referencing the subject matter of the email or the ads.
Regarding links on third-party publications. If you notice that a steady stream of traffic is arriving from a specific source, you should do the same as above – create a customized landing page that relates to the topic of the source article or post.
With social, since you don’t have any control over social conversations, there isn’t much you can do, except maybe show your gratitude to the ones who mentioned you. Social visitors are usually a diverse bunch that stumble upon your site rather than actively searching for it. Try to figure out a way to embrace this serendipity and offer social visitors a unique interaction.
The Information: What the visitor typed in the Google search box. Well, actually not always. In a contradictory-to-reason manner, if the user is logged-in to Google, Google doesn’t provide the query. If the user isn’t logged-in to Google, you’ll get the query.
(The reasoning behind this, if you must know, is Google’s way to encourage you to always be logged-in: “Be logged-in and we’ll be able to protect your privacy but if you aren’t, well, sorry bud, your queries are up for grabs.” This of course makes no sense, unless you are Google.)
From paid searches by the way, Google always reveals the query. The withholding of query-information refers to organic searches.
The Tell: In this case there is no tell, but rather straightforward information – the actual words the visitor typed. This is gold. Your way to know exactly the needs and pains of the visitor, and hopefully the aspect of your product or service the visitor is interested in.
To-Do: Direct the visitor to a landing page customized to their specific query. You know your audience. You already did the work of segmenting your audience according to personas, industries, decision makers etc. We can assume that you can deduce from a search query to which segment of your audience the visitor belongs. If this is the case, you can create various landing pages and direct your visitors according to the queries.
There’s one more important To-Do here: devote time to understand how your audience perceives you on the one hand, what your audience is searching for on the other, and make adjustments to your marketing accordingly. Search queries are a goldmine for zooming in on the most relevant way to present your product to your target audience. Because you can have a perception of what your product is, but what really counts is how your audience perceives it; you are what your customers say you are, not what your strategists and marketers and copywriters say you are.
ON-SITE BEHAVIORAL ATTRIBUTES
First-Time or Returning Visitor
The Information: as is. A new visitor, or a familiar face.
The Tell: In this case, the tell is about the returning visitors, not the first-time ones. Just a bit of logic needed to be applied here: returning visitors are interested in your product / curious about your company. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t have returned.
To-Do: Suggest, recommend or serve content in the appropriate level, introductory or in-depth. Naturally, first-time visitors should be treated to content that scratches the surface, that tell the story of your product in the widest way possible. Think of it as your elevator pitch. It should be concise, visual and, for lack of better words, short. Don’t assume that folks will spend an extended period of time to figure out what you are all about. Give it to them straight-up. And don’t try to advance too quickly to second base, nobody likes that.
As for returning visitors, you can and should assume they have a solid idea what your company does. Take this opportunity to pull them deeper into your content funnel, introduce them to the more complex nature of your product.
You can also use various personalization tools to set rules of engagement for returning visitors. For example, if returning for the third time, suggest a Demo or open a chat window. You need to also be careful with these tools – don’t be too pushy. If this is the first 10 seconds of my second visit to your site, what are the chances I would like to request a demo?
The Information: What pages the visitor checks, how long he spends on each and the total time spent on site.
The Tell: This is arguably the biggest tell of them all. As far as pages visited, this is a great tell about what stage of the buying journey the visitor is at and what aspect of the product they are interested in, which can be used to speculate on their role as decision makers.
As far as the total time spent on site, this is also a good indication of how engaged they are, and how ripe they are for conversion. This is not to say that time spent on site is the sole indication for readiness for conversion; some visitors will convert faster than others due to their more confident nature, experience and position in the company (the higher they are in the corporate ladder the more comfortable they will feel to make quick decisions.) The last piece in the conversion puzzle is, mood. It should be noted, sometimes folks are just not in the mood to convert.
To-Do: Engage your visitors in the most profound and relevant way you can muster. The better you are able to ‘read’ your visitors, the more effective your communication with them will be. And at this stage, when they are on your site, you should definitely look at this as an interaction, a way to communicate with prospects.
What you should do is recommend content to visitors based on the pages they visited, that is relevant to the stage of the buying journey they are in and that relates to their role as decision makers. If they spent considerable time on your website, visited a few pages, the time should be right to make an offer.
Anonymous visitors are less mysterious than they appear at first glance. They carry a lot of information with them; just figure out how to grab it and more importantly – what to do with it.
This will enable you to stop fidgeting with those 5% and start making grand conversion gestures toward the 95%. Personalization is a key conversion driver.
The trick here is to cross-reference all the different pieces of information you can get about the anonymous visitors to your website. Because if you look at the big picture, if you take into account everything the anonymous visitor is telling you about himself, you can interact with him in quite a personalized way. When you provide a personalized experience on your website, especially to anonymous visitors, they’ll appreciate it. How do anonymous visitors show appreciation? By introducing themselves.