Ever wonder why conversion rates are so low?
A “good” sales page will usually convert between 1 and 5 percent of its readers. Those numbers vary wildly depending on about a zillion factors, but that’s the middle of the bell curve.
So that means between 95 and 99 percent of people reject what you’ve got to offer. Seems a little depressing when you look at it that way, right?
So are those 95–99 percent just a write-off, a necessary cost of doing business? Do you have to do the work and/or spend the money to get nearly prospects to make 1 sale?
Note: No actual statistics were harmed, or even used, in the writing of this post. In other words, these numbers are theoretical. Use them to illustrate the principle, and for back-of-the-envelope planning. The real numbers always come from your own business and your own individual situation.
The desperate buyers strategy
According to sales strategist Chet Holmes, at any given time, about 3 percent of your market is in active buying mode. So if you sell furniture, about 3 percent of adults in your town are looking for some piece of furniture right now. If you sell fancy cages for naked mole rats, about 3 percent of naked mole rat owners are in the market for a new cage.
Traditional internet marketing is all about finding this 3 percent. The smartest Adwords, SEO, and affiliate marketers are all trying to selectively find that 3 percent and weed out the other 97. You can call this the Desperate Buyers Only strategy, which is the title of a very solid program by Alexis Dawes on writing and selling ebooks.
The trouble is that the desperate 3 percent are expensive, because everyone wants them. What are called the “converting keywords” (the keywords that are proven to attract the 3 percent who are ready to buy today) are expensive to buy with pay-per-click. Those same keywords are usually highly competitive for SEO, and getting more so every day.
You’re competing with thousands of hungry internet marketers for that 3%. It can be done, but you have to be at the top of your game.
But there are more buyers out there, if you know how to treat them.
The conquer-the-universe strategy
Holmes’s research goes on to say that about 7 percent of any given market is receptive to the idea of buying, even if they aren’t actively looking. Given the right offer, they could be talked into it. We could call these our Not-So-Desperate buyers.
If you can pull them in, you’ve more than tripled the size of your potential buying pool, going from 3 percent to 10 percent.
Another 30-ish percent will buy one of these days, but it’s not on their radar right now. Call them the Not Yets.
About 30 percent are mildly turned off on the idea of buying your product. Holmes calls them the Soft No.
And about 30 percent are highly turned off. They hate something about your company, or they never pay for information, or their spouse has threatened them with grievous bodily harm if they spend any more money on what you sell. They’re the Absolutely Nevers.
What happens if you start creating marketing communication that entices the Not-So-Desperate, the Not Yets, the Soft Nos, and even a few Absolutely Nevers?
You can scoop up all of those potential buyers and keep them close until they’re ready for you.
- You can develop enough trust and rapport to warm up the Not-So-Desperates, and even light a bit of a fire to get them moving today.
- You can make yourself the natural choice when the Not Yets are ready.
- You can answer objections and reverse the risk for the Soft Nos, which often turns them into Yeses.
- And you can even get a handful of Absolutely Nevers to act as your unpaid salespeople.
While Absolutely Nevers might never buy themselves, if you’ve set up your marketing correctly, a surprising number of them will pass the word along to someone else who will buy. The product may not be right for them, but they know someone who can use the content.
The key is the content net
What kind of marketing attracts all the potential buyers, rather than the ones who are hot to buy right now?
It has to be marketing that doesn’t look like marketing. Advertising that’s too valuable to throw away. Communication that delivers a real and compelling benefit, with the sales message presented only after you’ve earned the right to sell.
And what kind of marketing keeps them around and engaged until they’re ready to buy from you?
It has to be marketing that’s delivered over time. Advertising that arrives on a predictable, regular schedule. Communication that’s repeated enough times to develop trust and rapport.
And the two best tools for that at the moment are probably a blog combined with an email autoresponder.
A content net weaves a nice, friendly web of communication around all the categories of buyers, and keeps them interested.
It’s a terrific tool for your Desperate 3%, because it educates them about why you’re the unquestionably perfect choice. But it also takes the other 97% and nurtures them, training them to become your ideal customer.