#3 How To: 12 Powerful Tips on How to Turn Contacts into Customers
How to Turn Contacts into Customers
As an entrepreneur, one of the areas that I have struggled with, and I’m sure it’s the same for you, is figuring out how to turn contacts into customers.
Perhaps you’re now developing a list or you’re already sitting on a goldmine of contacts. Great! Now the million dollar question is how to transform these prospects or contacts into paying customers.
I have used many of the tips presented here myself, but they didn’t just occur to me overnight and I didn’t just read up on them. I observed some of the great online marketers and whittled down their tactics to a few key areas.
Some of the great experts and teachers online such as Neil Patel, Ryan Levesque, Anik Singal, John Chow, and Kyle and Carson of Wealthy Affiliate have been my mentors, so to speak.
I’ve observed them for a long time trying to unearth their secrets to success. There are so many. But this area – turning contacts into customers – is an important area that many online entrepreneurs (myself included) struggle with. After all, we are not in the online business just for fun (and it really is fun) but we have families to feed and bills to pay. So the issue of conversion is critical for us.
Here are twelve (12) tips on how to turn your contacts, or visitors to your website or blog, into paying and loyal customers.
1. Tell Your Story
People have to trust you first before they make the decision to buy your product. In other words, you have to sell yourself before you can sell your product / service. In order for visitors to your website to trust you, they need to get to know you and to relate to you. And the only way to do that is to tell them your story. You are the brand on sale.
Here’s how you’re going to tell your story. First of all, you need to be real. Your story must be as personal as possible. Don’t be afraid to share aspects of your life that you feel uncomfortable about. You’d be surprised how people identify with you more when they realize that you have similar struggles or that you are a real human being, with real issues and problems just like them.
Let your story tell your journey, your struggles and your triumphs. Ever wonder why rags to riches stories are so convincing and interesting? It’s because it gives people hope. And hope is just one step away from trust.
In addition, your story must have a clear message or meaning. What’s the ultimate point you are trying to make? What lesson or lessons do you want your readers to take away after reading your story? Would you like them to leave feeling a certain way? Or would you like them to take some particular action? You need to first determine your intended outcome or objective of telling your story.
Another important consideration is to keep your story interesting. You don’t want to lose your audience. Be descriptive, be engaging. But a key aspect of keeping your readers’ interest is to keep it concise. Don’t be too wordy or ‘beat around the bush’. Get to the point you are trying to make and move on to the next point. Writing as if you are in a dialogue also helps to keep interest. Write as you would speak. Doing so will make you more believable.
Click here to read my story.
2. Be Informal and Approachable
When developing your copy or message to visitors to your website or blog you want to maintain a certain level of professionalism. At the same time, you do not want to come across snobby, cocky or unapproachable.
You need to build trust and in order to do that, you have to be approachable or at least perceived to be approachable. Just be yourself. Be down-to-earth. Balance being informal and being professional.
It’s one of the techniques that President Obama used on the election campaign. Whenever he appeared at rallies in different towns and communities, he usually took off his jacket, chuck his tie and rolled up his sleeves. He portrayed an image of being an average guy that anyone can approach. At the same time, he was impactful because of the excellence of his speeches and level of professionalism. Thus, he was able to build trust.
3. Get People to Make Small Commitments
Again, before people can buy they need to trust you. In fact, buying is the ultimate act of trust in the customer purchasing cycle. And let’s face it, people are usually afraid of making a commitment to someone they do not know.
If you make the commitment small and risk-free, then they are more open to taking those baby steps at first. For example, ask them to commit to leaving a comment or to like your Facebook page. Give them something to download for free. You can then build gradually.
For instance, the next step could be to ask for their email address. Progress from risk-free, small commitments to ones that are slightly more consequential. That opens them up to making progress towards trusting you.
4. Customize your Communication
Gone are the days when producers simply made something and expected everyone to buy the same thing. When Henry Ford made his cars customers were able to buy any car they wanted as long as it was black. With mass production, the products were the same and the customers were treated as one homogenous market.
Then the revolution of mass customization hit mainstream commerce and just about every product became tailored to different needs – big cars, small cars, economy cars and luxury ones, sport cars, family cars, four-door sedans, two-door sedans, trucks, wagons, seven-seaters, black cars, blue ones, red ones and so on and so on. The products were different and the customers were grouped into different market segments related to each product.
Today, however, the new wave is customized marketing or customized communication.
Customized communication is where you tailor your message to suit different customers/ segments. It could be the same product but you focus on the needs or benefits of different markets.
For example, using the same analogy of cars, you could have the same four-door sedan model being sold to different customers. You could communicate the safety features of the car to women drivers, the speed and appearance could be communicated to younger men, the luxury and design aspect could be communicated to older men and the spacious aspect of the same car could be communicated to families; the same product but different messages to different market segments – customized communication.
People want to feel as if you are speaking to them directly. They like to hear/see themselves in your copy.
Don’t just bundle them into one homogenous group as Henry Ford did. That form of marketing is over and so will your business if you continue to do it the old way.
Speak to your customers and target their specific interests. If you can speak to their needs, their wants, using their language then you will build their trust.
5. Listen to Your Customers
But in order to tailor your message you need to listen to your customers. What does that mean? You have to move away from the old paradigm of trying to communicate with your customers to conversing with them.
A conversation is a two-way process. When we communicate we often focus on ‘telling’ or ‘selling’. When we have a conversation mindset we are forced to stop and listen as well. It’s just about taking your communication to a higher level by adding the listening component. And in order to initiate a conversation and to listen effectively, you need to ask questions.
Have you ever been to a networking event or a social gathering and you meet someone for the first time and all they do is talk about themselves and what they do and their interests? It’s all about them, them, them. You get bored and disinterested really fast.
However, when they engage you and ask you questions about yourself, a better connection is developed. And I bet the next time you see them on the street you’d remember them. Why? Because they focused the spotlight on you. And who does not like a little bit of attention from time to time?
So turn the tables and try to listen more. In fact, listening is the only way you will be able to truly understand your customers’ needs and be able to cater to their needs with precision.
Here are a few ways to create engagement with the visitors to your website or blog. One is through surveys, another is through including comment sections on each page or post on your site, yet another is through social media and finally, you can do engage them through your contact page. Surveys are a useful tool to achieve this.
6. Stop Selling. Start Enrolling.
Using the analogy of fishing I will explain the difference between selling and enrolling. And you will see why selling is ‘old school’. Enrolling is what you want to be doing in order to improve your conversion rate. Here’s the fishing analogy.
Selling is like casting your net into the ocean, catching fish and hoisting them into your boat. Enrolling, on the other hand, is where you get the fish to jump into your boat because they want to be with you.
Another analogy is romance and dating. Selling is where you persuade someone to go on a date with you. Enrolling is where you get the person to like you (and maybe even fall in love with you) and want to go on many more dates with you without you even asking. When you sell, you create a one time customer. When you enrol, you create a customer for life.
The best example of enrolling is through membership clubs or creating online communities. I use British Airways (and its affiliate One World Alliance partners, such as American Airlines) 90% of the time when I travel. I am an Executive Club member and therefore when I travel I get points which can be used to upgrade or to ‘pay’ for a whole new flight. British Airways (BA) ‘remembers’ all of my preferences when I book.
For instance, I prefer to sit by the window. So whenever I book, 99% of the time I automatically get a window seat. They remember my history. By enrolling me into their Executive Club program they have converted me into a loyal customer. I’ve had experiences where I booked with BA even when the flight was more expensive than their competitors. Now that is loyalty!
To achieve that kind of loyalty selling won’t work. Enrolling makes your customers feel as if they are part of your brand, part of your family.
Apple is another example of a brand that has successfully managed to enrol their customers. Most Mac users believe that they belong to an elite group of computer aficionados. Once you go Mac, you don’t go back. They’ve done so by creating a superior product that is marketed as such. People seek them out and want to be part of that brand ‘family’.
For online businesses, enrolling can be effectively done through creating online groups or communities. Wealthy Affiliate is a perfect example of an online business that has done so effectively.
Wealthy Affiliate has a wide range of online training and website development tools but all of its products and services are housed within the Wealthy Affiliate community. You cannot use their training, products or services without becoming an enrolled member.
When you join Wealthy Affiliate you are enrolled into a community or family of like-minded online marketers that offer support, training, business development opportunities, tools and much more.
You literally learn how to build an online business from scratch, even if you have no experience. You get hands-on support from other members and even directly from the owners themselves – Kyle and Carson.
As a member myself, Wealthy Affiliate has become my go-to source for everything I need to know when it comes to building and growing my online business.
They’ve created systems so effectively that everything you do with your website you prefer to do it with/through them. For instance, I am able to write posts or articles through my WordPress administrative area.
However, Wealthy Affiliate has a SiteContent feature where you can write your articles or posts and then post it to your site. They track your progress, how many words, how you stack up as a writer compared to the rest of the community and many other features. Of course, I prefer to use their writing tool over my website’s admin area. Now that’s enrolling.
I visit the group three or four times every day and maybe ten times on Sunday. It’s a real family. No wonder Wealthy Affiliate has managed to enroll over 1 Million customers to date.
So if you can create an online ‘family’ around your product then you are not selling but enrolling. And customers who enroll into your brand tend to buy more from you and remain a loyal customer for a long time, even for life.
7. Appeal to their Higher Needs
To successfully convert contacts into customers you need to appeal to their higher needs. Maslow developed his famous hierarchy of needs pyramid.
At the bottom of that pyramid you have basic needs (survival needs) and as you move up the pyramid the needs become less about survival and more about fulfillment and meaning.
Everyone is looking for purpose and meaning in life. But this is only a reality when their basic needs for food, shelter, safety, security, and sex are met. Products at the base of the pyramid are successful because people cannot live without them.
However, when you get into online business or into a saturated market you then need to start appealing to higher needs. This is why spiritual and wellness products are taking off. We see that love/belonging is the third level of the pyramid (see the diagram below). This is where enrolling takes place (see point 6 above).
If you are able to also appeal to higher needs, then your success rate goes up. Products that offer a sense of status, for example, are more successful.
Big brands such as Gucci, Prada, Rolls Royce, Mercedes Benz and Apple appeal to a sense of status. For example, most people that use Apple products, such as iPhones or Mac computers, believe that they are somehow better than non-Apple users. Apple has been able to create a sense of status around their brand. No one boasts about having a Dell computer. But Mac users certainly do (inwardly at the very least). So brands that are able to move higher and higher up the pyramid of needs are more successful.
Ryan Levesque in his Ask Method program appeals to people’s need for self-actualization (to achieve your highest potential, to leave a legacy, to create a positive impact on the world). He makes his prospects believe that by joining his program they will become successful and be able to make an impactful contribution to the betterment of lives on the planet. Now, who wouldn’t want to buy into that?
When you compare branding between Sprite and Coca-Cola you see the clear differences in terms of where their brand is situated along the pyramid of needs. Sprite’s “Obey Your Thirst” campaign appeals to consumers physiological need to quench their thirst. An effective campaign at the base of the pyramid.
However, Coca Cola’s campaign converts the consumer into a member of the Coca-Cola family by placing their name on the brand. The consumer becomes the brand. At the same time, this campaign also appeals to people’s sense of esteem. Everyone likes to see or hear their name.
So Coca-Cola is clearly higher up the pyramid. where they are focusing their efforts. Look at the example below.
8. Provide Your Content in Bite Sizes
People can get overwhelmed by too much information, for example, a 1-hour video. Instead, break it up into bite sizes. People think they are getting value and they can watch/read at their own pace without feeling stuck or having the need to give up.
Or you can use headings to separate out different points. Makes it easy to follow. Visitors to your site can zero in on the points that interest them and not necessarily the entire thread or article.
Take this article for instance. There are headings separating different points. You don’t have to read all of it. You could even just read the headings and get a gist of what the article is about. Maybe one point interests you more than another.
The key is to make it easy for your visitor to navigate through your content.
9. Offer Value Instead of Discount
Rather than offering a discount, show your visitors what value they will be getting if they take action right away. It could be an additional product or service, free subscription for a limited period, e.g. 3 months, or it could be a free upgrade or access to some special content that only an elite few have access to.
These value offerings must be repeated over and over within your copy for effectiveness. Show the value in dollar terms where possible. Let your contacts feel as if YOU are paying THEM to enrol.
10. Incentivize your Contacts
Develop a contest or offer special prizes only available to contacts who take certain action or achieve certain desired milestones. For instance, a free to download product or free limited membership or free access to special products or services. ‘Free’ is the new F-word.
A free trial is one effective way to get people to try out your service or interact with your product. But most people hate having to give credit card details so there are two ways to get around this. One is to give a free trial without the need for credit card details. Wealthy Affiliate has done this effectively. They offer a 7-day free trial to premium membership. No credit cards needed. Upgrade whenever you want. Only then do they take your credit card information.
Another way is to offer a money back guarantee (14 days, 30 days or whatever period you desire). Tell your visitors that if they get started they could end their plan within a certain period without being charged or a full refund. This takes away the risk. People love risk-free options.
11. Get Them to Take Action Right Away
No one likes to miss out on a bargain. No one likes to be left out of an elite group. Give them an ultimatum. If you don’t act now you will lose this or that. People are generally procrastinators and will find every excuse in the book to hold on taking action until the last minute. That’s human nature.
What you have to do is bring forward the notion of ‘last minute’ as soon as possible. Give them a few hours or a couple days. For example, tell them that the offer will end in 24-hours so they need to take action now or they will miss the opportunity. If you leave it up to them they will always keep putting it off for tomorrow. And as the song says, ‘tomorrow never comes’.
Effectively placing call-to-action buttons in strategic locations throughout your page is also another way to get visitors to take action right away.
A call to action might be as simple as asking someone to ‘Sign Up’ for your email newsletter or ‘Download a free newsletter. But the ultimate goal of your call to action is to buy from you.
A call-to-action could be in the form of a button or a link placed as text in your copy content. It might be placed at the beginning of your article, on a dedicated landing page, at the end of your post, or scattered throughout your article.
As an online marketer, you may use a call to action within any medium—images, buttons, videos, text, advertisements, banners, landing pages, and social media. Whatever form they take, and wherever they appear, a call to action is you providing your visitor with an actionable task.
12. Don’t Try to Get it Perfect. Just Get it Going!
When I first started my online business, I made the fundamental mistake of trying to get everything perfect – the perfect theme for my website, having a lot of content before actually promoting my site, getting the perfect images and videos, spending a lot of time refining and perfecting everything. It was also a lot of wasted time and missed opportunities.
As you grow, you will realize that you are always learning. You will learn to fill the gaps as you go along. Perfection is a journey, not a destination. And in the words of online entrepreneur extraordinaire, Ryan Levesque, “Don’t try to get it perfect. Just get it going”.
What to do Next?
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There’s nothing like having your own business and being able to work anywhere and anytime you want.
A job was just not enough for me.
I wanted joy instead.