Pachinko Machines and Website Conversions
I returned home from my ’72 West Pac Cruise with a prized possession: A Pachinko Machine from Japan. For the uninitiated, a Pachinko machine is like a vertical pin-ball. The way it works is to launch dozens of small steel balls up to the top of the game and watch them ping and bounce off the steel pegs while gravity pulls them down. The hope is to capture a ball in one of the payoff slots before it hits bottom.
The bottom hole is the unrecoverable exit point. The payoff slot yields a reward of dozens of more balls. These balls can be played again or cashed in.
Can you see the conversion similarities between steel balls cascading through a Pachinko machine and visitors pinging through your website?
The longer the balls bounce from peg to peg the greater the chance they’ll stay in the game and hit the jackpot slot. Likewise, the longer you can engage your website visitor in content they find compelling and relevant to their needs the greater your chance of converting them to your payoff slot.
How could a player design a Pachinko machine to give the best possible odds of winning? They’d probably study the behavior of balls as they interact with the pegs and do-dads along their path to conversion and position them as strategically as possible to have the best chance of landing in the payoff slot. Same could be said of a website owner. You’d want to have content on your pages that keeps your visitors engaged and on your site. You’d probably want to nurture them along their route. You’d want to discover all of the potential information a prospect might need and provide it to them along their path to conversion.
Unlike Pachinko (a complete game of chance) you need not be left to chance a visitor might convert to a lead or customer on your website. As a business and site owner, there are key things you should know and do to improve your return on investment.
Clues to Your Website’s Conversion Performance
There are certain key performance indicators that can tell you if the content on your site (whether blog, content pages or both) is capturing interest, holding it, and converting to a desired action. You can get these from your web analytics or web logs. These include:
This is expressed as a percentage and represents the number of visitors who come to a page on your site and leave before visiting any other page. It’s generally agreed that a bounce rate of higher than 50% is cause for concern. Related to this is when you provide hyperlink text or a button that links out to an external source…
One of the biggest mistakes I see people making is not setting the “target” property of the link to open in a new (or blank) window. If you don’t, the link will open in the same window as your web page and your visitor has probably just left your site for good (unless they know to hit the back button to return to your page). For example, this link’s target property is set to open in the same window, and this link opens in a new (blank) window. See the difference?
Average Page Views
This is a measure of the average number of pages a visitor views on your site during a single session. Obviously, if you have a relatively high bounce rate your average page views will be quite low. I like to benchmark this number and see it go up over time. Something North of 3 page views on average would seem to indicate visitors are interested and perhaps moving through a path of conversion.
Time on Site
You might also look at benchmarking the average time site visitors spend along with loyalty metrics available through Google Analytics such as: loyalty, recency, length of visit and depth of visit. These might give you insights into how well your content is impacting your ability to convert visits into leads and leads into customers.
Goals and Conversion Rates
Of course if you’re using Google Analytics you can, and should set up goals and measure the conversion rates. If you’re using something more sophisticated like HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Software, you have the advantage of closed loop marketing analytics to measure the effectiveness of campaigns or marketing events all the way through the process.
Either way, there are certain things you can do with creating and presenting content to increase your odds of conversion.
Tips for not Leaving Website Conversions to Chance
1. Be relevant to your target audience. You want to think of your site content as a magnet that attracts. To be successful, the content on your website must appeal to your audience and be rich in the information they are looking for. I recently attended a Webinar where one of the presenters said to “get to the point within the first couple of words” of your content. Why? Because people are busy. Their time is valuable. They are looking for specific things, and you’ve got about 5 seconds when they land on your page to engage them.
2. Be concise and condense your content. Less is more for writing powerful content. Understand that your readers are really scanners. They won’t read long sentences and paragraphs – no matter how elegant! So here are some tips for shortening up your content:
- Write in the inverted pyramid style – put the most interesting and important content at the top of the page
- Limit your sentences to 15-20 words
- Condense paragraphs to 40-70 words
- Keep your page content to around 500 total words – or less! (I am obviously challenged by this as my *style* is to go in depth on topics – which is okay if your readers find value in longer posts or discussions. Sometimes I’ll turn what was going to be a blog post into a whitepaper and offer as a free download via a landing page as I did here.)
3. Make your content easy to read. You want your important points to stand out. And, you want to create a scan-able architecture using a variety of elements and styling. Consider using these techniques:
- Keep Headlines / Subject Lines short and sweet – 50 characters or less – maximum of 8 words
- Use ordered (numbered) and unordered (bulleted) lists in your content
- Bold important phrases
- Use 10 pt or greater non-serif fonts like Arial, Helvetica or Verdana
- Don’t underline text unless it’s anchor or link text
- Avoid the use of italics because they’re harder to read on a computer screen
- Provide plenty of “white space” – it makes copy easier to read and gives our eyes a rest from the flicker effect from our computer screen
4. Create compelling offers. As was mentioned here, sending visitors to your contact us page or request a quote form is not a compelling offer. I like to think of a process that includes:
- Demonstrating that you understand their problem/need
- Giving hope their problem can be solved – and the benefits they’ll receive
- Telling them how to take action
5. Nurture, nurture, nurture. Not everyone coming to your beautifully crafted web or offer page is a sales-ready lead. But with some additional information and nurturing, over time they just may warm up to the idea. Instead of constantly using email marketing to sell and promote, consider using it to nurture an interested prospect into a relationship with you through some additional content and touch points. Like a steel ball pinging around inside a Pachinko Machine, your challenge is to discover and provide the kinds of information your buyer persona needs in order to make a purchase decision.
Converting visitors to leads to customers is a lot like dating. Rarely does love at first site and a first date proposal lead to a “Yes” and wedded bliss. Your prospect may need to meet the staff (family) and require some courting before they’re ready to walk down the aisle with you.
Anyone up for a game of Pachinko?[print_link]