Conversion rate optimization

How Visitor Segmentation Increases Sales (and 3 Segments You Should Definitely Optimize Your Site for)

Converting web visitors is not simple.

You need to keep researching and implementing new ways to entice people to sign up to your list, purchase a product or even click on a specific button.
And you know what:

You can’t even stop to catch a breath…or you’ll let the competition catch up.

But what if I told you that there’s something you could do to never have to stack the odds in your favor, big time? A trick that could increase your conversions, and ensure they remain high, regardless of the next thing you try on your site?

That’s exactly what I’m going to talk about in this post. I’ll show you how identifying visitor segments and building marketing strategies around them will deliver nothing else but MOAR sales.
Intrigued? Let’s dive right into it then….

Visitor Segments Let You Understand Your Potential Buyers’ Behavior

Visitors land on your site looking for something.
It could be information. A product they desperately need or desire. Or they’re just researching potential solutions to their problem.
And you know:
Depending on what that something is, they’ll respond to the content on your site in a different way.

For example, visitors googling gift ideas will different expectations than people who landed on your site by clicking a link in an email campaign.
Both might have distinct objectives for their visit too.
Email subscribers who have clicked on an offer will be naturally more tuned in to your sales message.
Search visitors, however, will most likely be more careful about making the call to buy from you.

Peter Bourne, the CEO of behavioral targeting site personalization solution Spring Metrics, recounts the story of one of their clients who improved conversions by identifying visitor segments (via Smart Insights).
As he says:
“One customer found that their first-time visit customers had a significantly different sales objection than their second-time visitors. First-time visitors responded much better to a message that established product credibility—they needed to see and hear testimonials and third-party validation to overcome initial skepticism. When visitors returned, testing showed that an emotional appeal (“this will make you feel better”)—backed up again by testimonials and examples—was most effective at closing the sale.” (source)
By understanding those two objections and including content that targeted both of them, the store was able to increase their conversions and retain more customers.
And all this started with identifying your key visitors’ traits of behavior.

What Is Visitor Segmentation

When you come to think of this, the goal for visitor segmentation is simple:
To increase your site’s relevance to different customer groups.

Chris Goward, the CEO of Widerfunnel defines segmentation this way:
“In the context of conversion optimization, visitor segmentation means putting structures in place to deliver appropriate messages to audiences with distinct needs and expectations.”
And the emphasis should be on “distinct needs and expectations.”
Because, as you already know, your visitors have different objectives when landing on your site.
If you provide them with what they’re looking for, you’ll win their conversion. Otherwise, they’ll simply go somewhere else.

That’s where visitor segmentation comes into play.
By identifying visitor segments, you can deliver tailored message that meets each segments’ expectations, and set up your funnel to convert more visitors.
And here are 3 visitor segmentation strategies you should definitely be targeting.

#1. First-Time vs. Repeat Visit

I agree:
Seeing new visitors entering your virtual store feels amazing.

Every new person landing on your site is an opportunity for a conversion.
Then again, every time they come back suggests they’re considering buying from you. They’re doing the research, perhaps evaluating your offer against the competition.
And they seek proof that would convince them to choose you.
Both groups will have different expectations for your site.

Chances are that anyone landing on your site for the first time doesn’t know much about you yet. They may have clicked on your Adwords ad, intrigued by the bold promise it made. Or found you through an organic search.
And now they’re curious. They look around your site, wondering whether you can deliver on the promise and if you’re worthy doing business with.

Return visitors, however, already know you. They’ve seen the site before. They’ve looked for all the trust indicators (and since they came back, they have found them).
Now they’re looking for a reason to buy from you instead of someone else.
Delivering content that matches those two groups’ expectations will help you convince them you’re worthy doing business with and provide them with a proof they need to buy from you.

A couple of ideas on how to do it:

Display social proof and other trust marks that will convince first-time visitors to your worth.
V-moda lists top DJ who use their headphones.
Image of visitor segmentation example

Gazelle targets first-time visitors with a powerful “Get to Know Gazelle” section including numbers of units sold, testimonials, logos, and ratings.

Include in-depth technical documentation to provide returning visitors with final proof that would convince them to buy.
Kelty’s product pages, apart from strong sales copy aiming to convince visitors to buy, feature thorough and in-depth specifications sections. These three tabs contain all the information a person making the buying decision would need to pick their product over a competitor’s one.

#2. Traffic Sources

When someone lands on your site from Google, they probably know very little about you.
Your search listing engaged them to click but their knowledge, and what goes with it, trust in you is low. So is their attitude towards you.
And so, they don’t know whether to trust you or believe you.

On the other hand, someone who follows a recommendation from an influencer will most likely already have a positive attitude towards your brand. And even though they’re action has been fueled more by curiosity, rather than an actual need, they’re still quite likely to buy.

But just like in the previous segment, both of these groups will respond to your content differently.
The first group might need specific information that matches their search intent.
The other, however, might just want to find out what your product is about.
And you can easily cater to them both.

For example, the first group might sign up to your email list. The other, get right into testing your product (or start following you on social media).
And by presenting them with the appropriate offer, you can ensure they’ll take that next step to purchase.

How to do it?

Display an offer that would correspond to their buying intent. This might be offering a social signup or a discount.  Use a popup to target different traffic sources with relevant offers you know they’d be willing to accept.

#3. Referrals

If done well, PR strategy will result in brand exposure and greater awareness of your products.
But it will also drive traffic that offers a unique opportunity for conversion.

Just think about it:
You got your products reviewed or mentioned on a popular site, TV show, radio….
People who read, watch or listen to it will visit your site. And they will most likely be quite interested in what you sell.
Also, they will have a positive attitude towards your products. After all, they just saw their favorite media outlet talking about them.
They’ll be curious but not eager to buy. Remember, they’re driven by curiosity, sparked by the media mention, not an actual problem they have.
But you can ignite that desire to buy by welcoming them with a personalized, tailored message or an offer.

Doing so will help you make your website more relevant to that audience
And given that, according to Janrain study, nearly 74% of consumers are fed up with irrelevant content on websites, it’s a huge benefit already.
It will also allow you to target micro-conversions. Not every visitor landing on your site’s going to buy. Actually, if you look at the average Ecommerce conversion rates, only about 3% of your visitors will purchase something.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t convert the rest.
By displaying personalized messages, you can get these people to follow you on social media or signup to your list, and start building relationship with your brand.

Pawel Grabowski Pawel is an SEO and content marketing consultant working exclusively with SaaS brands.

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