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Fixing This Online Mistake Can Double Your Sales

The following is a post by Paul Hannam of Bright Green Leadership (a 3p sponsor) – offering internet marketing strategies for responsible businesses. The tips and observations in this series are aimed at green entrepreneurs looking to understand how internet technology can benefit them more.

A significant flaw in the online business models of almost all green organizations is the absence of an effective lead capture system. In the world of internet marketing, everything is designed around an email “opt-in process” or “landing page” which is a page dedicated to capturing leads by acquiring the email address of the visitor. An email address is a valuable asset and email “list building” is an invaluable skill.  Every email address represents a prospective customer, as it represents someone you can actively promote your products to by newsletter and other means. Indeed, the lifetime customer value of that person can be substantial.

Let’s say you are a supplier of green gifts, like recycled stationery or organic cotton towels. Each new email address could convert to a customer who buys many gifts from your store year after year. Each customer could have an average lifetime value of $500. And maybe you convert 1 in 4 leads, that is email subscribers to customers. Then each email address is worth $125 in sales, potentially!

Now you can begin to see the real value of email addresses. The problem is that when I searched on “green gifts” almost every ad I clicked on took me to a home page where there was no genuine lead capture process.  There was the odd newsletter sign up tucked away in the corner, but nothing compelling. These suppliers are leaving large amounts of money on the table by not using a landing page or effective opt-in process.

Green businesses need to transform their website from online brochures to dynamic marketing and lead generation machines. This is the fastest and most effective way to double your leads. Why spend more money on advertising when only one or two percent of your visitors are subscribing with their emails? Instead, set up an opt-in process or landing page where you can convert three, four or five percent of your visitors to email subscribers. In simple terms, doubling your email addresses should double your sales as you have doubled the number of your prospective customers.

Here are five suggestions to help you double your sales in this way:

  1. Set up a separate landing page on your site with a Clear Call to Action to acquire their email addresses. Here is an example from my Green Marketing Website
  2. Create a Compelling Headline that grabs the attention of the visitor and encourages them to give you their email address.
  3. Offer the visitor an Incentive which has a high perceived value in return for their email address such as a discount, a coupon or free report.
  4. Keep it Simple and just ask for a name and email. Make it easy or the visitor to take action!
  5. Add an Image or Video to increase conversions. If you use a video ask the visitor to take the action you are encouraging and explain the benefits in under 90 seconds.

In addition you can also set up a Facebook sign up process to acquire more fans. Here is a good example of this process from the Sierra Club’s Facebook Page. Then you can direct fans to your website and vice versa. The more links and paths you create, the better  If you want to see some good landing pages please email me and I will give you access to a video I made where I evaluate a number of Green Business Landing pages and recommend best practices.

Paul Hannam is president of Bright Green Leadership that provides internet marketing services to green organizations. Paul is also Chairman and co-founder of Bright Green Talent and taught environmental business at Oxford University. You can get access to over 50 hours of Free Internet Marketing Videos or contact him at Paul@brightgreenleadership.com


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Categorized: Green Marketing|

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  • Gmail Anon

    I'm a green treehugger. I spend money on green. If a website asks for my email on the landing page- bam! I close the tab immediately and go elsewhere. Asking for my email immediately is like someone pitching insurance while they're still shaking your hand. Incentives? You can't afford my email address unless you have a product or service with real value for me. But we won't ever get to that point.

    My point of view is that someone who gives everyone their email on the landing page (your website is not the only one out there you know) will have so much junk in their inbox that they can't find and read your message. Some email address might be worth $125. I really don't think you get those this way.

    • Dave Shires

      Anon – you're quite right that obnoxiously asking for email addresses may be bad. But is someone is genuinely interested in the product, then it's a great way for them to get more information. The key, obviously, has to be that the proprietor of the company needs to be wise about how those email addresses are used. It might be appropriate, for example, for a news site to send out weekly or even daily newsletters. A sandwich shop ought to be a lot more sparing. But generally, most people appreciate an occasional email – as long as you don't overdo it.

  • Paul

    For over 10 years of working with green businesses I have been concerned that most of them do not use modern, proven marketing techniques to grow sales and make an impact in the world. If we want to change consumer behavior and promote sustainable lifestyles we all need to compete in a tough market, and use all the tools at our disposal – especially during a recession.

    While I understand the reluctance to give your email address, and that some organizations might consider that it is to intrusive to ask for them online, I know that the more critical question is whether you want your website to make money or not. If you want to sell green products online or to acquire members and receive donations, you have to generate a lead. Very few first time visitors will buy a product and they will need to receive more information and build up more confidence in you .

    This is where emails are so powerful as you can send new subscribers more information in the form of a newsletter and build a relationship over time. On the Triple Pundit website itself there is an opt in box at the top right and also one that appears at the bottom of the page, and email addresses are the lifeblood of almost all online business models. Triple Pundit is very successful and has a high volume of visitors as it is built on solid internet marketing principles and strategies.

    Moreover, all users have a choice. You can choose not to give your address, and you can unsubscribe whenever you want. Ultimately, you are always in control and it is down to us to offer you something of real value in return for your email address.

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