Double your Sales by Doubling your Visitors

by John Almberg, Identry LLC, May 2006

Last month, we started talking about an approach called “Selling by the Numbers”. If you missed it, you can catch up at www.identry.com/asda, but the key idea is V=>P=>C=>S, or visitors give you prospects give you customers give you sales.

When I described this approach to one of my clients--an experienced collectible dealer who I'll call Jill--her reaction was typical.

“Sure. I get it,” she said. “The more Web site visitors I attract, the more sales I'll have. But how can I attract more visitors?”

Lots of dealers think you need a mixture of voodoo and luck. Jill needed a practical system.

Step 1: Baseline your numbers

Before you can double your visitors, you have to know how many you're attracting now. Like many dealers, Jill had no idea how many people visited her web site. Counting visitors isn't hard, but you do need some special software. Ordinary hit counters won't tell you.

So the first thing we did was install measurement software on Jill's web site. At the end of a month, we had our first real data. Jill had attracted 543 visitors to her Web site – 490 new visitors and 53 repeat visitors. Now we had our initial target: 1100 visitors per month.

Step 2: Choose your "position"

Positioning starts with your product or your expertise, but boils down to the position that you want to hold in your customer's mind. Your position is a word or set of words that you "own" in your customer's mind.

For example, when I say the word “search engine”, what company comes to mind? Probably “Google”. If you're like most people, Google “owns” the word "search engine" in your mind. That's their position. How about the word “computer”? IBM used to own that word, now most people say “Microsoft”.

When I asked Jill what position she wanted, she naturally said "stamps". That's the word every stamp dealer wants, but Jill isn't the Toys R Us of stamp dealers.

What do I mean? Imagine opening a small toy store next to Toys R Us. Could you compete? Yes, but only by focusing--like a laser beam--on one type of toy. If you focused on jigsaw puzzles, for example, you could stock every jigsaw puzzle made and even establish yourself as a jigsaw puzzle expert. When customers wanted a jigsaw puzzle, where would they go? To the specialist, of course.

This strategy wouldn't produce enough sales in a small town, with only a handful of jigsaw fanatics. But it's the perfect strategy for the Internet, where you can serve thousands of puzzlers across the country.

Jill needed a more specific set of words. Words that would separate her from her competition and that she could back up with expertise and product. When I asked Jill where she was strongest, in terms of product and expertise, she knew right away: airmail stamps. (Not really, but let's assume that's what she said.)

Choosing a position is hard because it's hard to give up a large market that you could serve. Choosing a position is profitable because it allows you to focus on the small segment of the market that you actually serve.

Step 3: Get the word in

Your position doesn't count until it gets into your prospects' mind. Marketing is what you do to claim your word in as many minds as possible. There are lots of ways to do this, depending on your position, expertise, product, personality, skills, and budget.

In Jill's case, we chose a doable mixture of:

  • Google Adwords – inexpensive classifieds that are displayed on Google when people search for words like "airmail stamps"

  • Display ads in collector magazines and newsletters, that focused--like a laser beam--on attracting the attention of airmail collectors

  • A variety of free or low cost public relations activities, such as delivering informative seminars at shows, writing articles for collector magazines, newsletters, and web sites, and handing out lots of business cards at shows. All focused on establishing Jill as an expert in airmails. And all encouraging airmail collectors to get more information from her web site.

We also updated her web site to focus more on airmail stamps.

Focusing on one position made Jill's marketing much more effective. Now, her ultimate goal is to become the go-to gal in airmails. When her customer's see her as an expert, she'll get the best marketing of all: word of mouth.

Step 4: Keep measuring your results

The final step was to continually measure the results of Jill's marketing until she reached her goal of 1100 visitors per month. With the right techniques, we knew exactly how many visitors each ad or activity produced. When we did, we were able to double the effectiveness of Jill's marketing campaign by dropping the ads that weren't working, and doubling up on the ads that were. That's what we mean by “results you can measure”.

Next month, we'll look another way Jill could double her sales: by doubling her web site's visitor-to-prospect conversion rate. Meanwhile, please send any questions or comments to john@identry.com, or visit us at www.identry.com. And have a great month Selling on the Web!