What are Conversions?
It’s easy to think when you put up a website then customers will roll in. But there are a lot of different things that have to happen before you get there. Someone has to hear about your business. It may be through search, it may be from someone talking about you. You need to create something that makes any of that possible. If you’ve never done anything, nobody’s going to hear of you.
The very first part is from somebody hearing about you to being interested. They hear about you, so they go to check you out. Are they impressed? Impressing them is one micro-conversion. If not, they’ll move away. If they are, that’s another micro-conversion on the path to the proper conversion that brings you business.
Micro Conversions Lead to the Final (macro) Conversion
All the way through, you want to think about all the little steps, all the little decision concepts, that you need. It is called zero moment of truth, that one instance of when something either works or doesn’t work. But, there is an instance for each part.
Sometimes, that conversation with the wife is necessary before that final booking. And, how do we improve that? How do we influence that? How do we make sure that a spouse has the information to get to the question or vice versa?
If we’re dealing with commercial enterprises, is the guy that’s checking out the website the sole decision-maker? Would you have to make a presentation to his colleagues or his boss? And how will he be helping you make the case that this is the inspector that they want to work with? So all of these things are things we think about. All the steps along the way are micro conversions you want to maximize.
There are a whole lot of important pieces. If you only think about the big picture, you can miss the small points. A whole two-hour conversation can boil down to one second. And that incident can make or break the whole two hours of setup. The micro-moments work together to form an ecosystem of all the different conversion moments.
The standard thing that we talked about is a sales funnel. And that’s because we get narrower and narrower. And also we’re eliminating more and more people that didn’t convert as we come down that funnel. People who first hear of you is the top of the funnel. The next step is people who actually engage who can work with you. You know, maybe you’re out of their area. Or they heard about you from a friend, but you don’t cover their area. They’re out.
So all of these things eliminate people. We want to get as many people as possible down through that funnel to the end. So we want to make sure that we are looking at the whole funnel smoothing out every single part of it and making it as efficient as possible.
Filter out the noise, but make sure you keep in the potential contacts. Get rid of the chaff but also focus on also making sure that you’re really focusing on the wheat that you’re getting. It’s two sides of that whole equation.Be clear about what your area is and where you’re going to set your boundaries.
All the way through this series, we present every single thing as a foundation for the next step, all the way through. The reason that we cover conversions here, still early on in the process, is this is the foundation. This is where the rubber meets the road. If you’re not converting, everything else is a waste of time. So, you want your conversions to be up there before you worry about advertising, before you worry about getting thousands of people to your site. You want a site where if you send 10 people there. One of them has to buy.
At lower numbers of conversions, getting one additional conversion makes a substantial growth to your business. When you can do that immediately, then throughout the whole process everything compounds in terms of the benefits of not having to go through the loss function.
I will say when putting this series together, in my mind I finished up with conversions as like, hey, when you finally figure everything else then convert. As a small business you may be doing what you do well, but you may not do the business part well. So it’s critical to make sure you get conversions, always, and immediately.
AIDA – Attention, Interest, Desire, Action
AIDA is a classic marketing acronym. AIDA is attention, interest, desire, and action. These are the four stages that somebody has to go through before they’re going to take action.
First, you’ve got to get their attention because they’re not going to hear anything if they’re not paying attention. But once you’ve got their attention, it’s easy for somebody to look and if that is not for them, look away. You need their interest.
Before you’re going to get their money, before you’re going to get them to act, they have to want it. Desire is more important than need. Desire is always more important than need. People will put back things they need, they’ll put them off, they’ll wait. But that thing they want to do, they’ll do straight away.
What you need to do is work on what you need to work on first, and then you can work on what you want to. For example, in buying a house it should be an automatic to fix what you need to and then fix what you want. But, for some people fresh carpet and paint come first while the toilet is still leaking. That kind of decision magnifies the fact that people’s desires override what they need.
If you can double your conversion rate now, then everything else you do, is going to be twice, double as efficient. You’re going to get double the bang for your buck in everything else you do. If you wait till afterwards, you’ve wasted half your money.
That’s a four times impact. That’s exactly what it quantifies to, its a two to the second power law, so you’re blowing 75% of your energy if you do it wrong.
Hit Where It Matters
You’ve got to understand how people’s mindsets are working. If somebody is in a hurry, then what matters is speed and getting it now. And it changes all the rest of their decision making, because they’re interested in getting it now and availability becomes key. They may turn down a better service because they can’t get it when they want it. So always understand what somebody is after from you, so you can frame everything within their context and help them see that what you offer meets what they want.
Find Things That Stop the Sale or Affect Price
Sometimes we’re our own worst enemies. We’re stopping the sale because of what we’re doing and who we are.
If you are projecting on people -I don’t think they would like this, I think they would like that. You need to get super, super clear about what they really need. This applies to your customers as an inspector, especially when you’re working for the seller or for the realtor. Find the things that will stop the sale or affect the price that are going to matter to them. And the same for the buyer, except you want to find things that are going to stop the sale or affect the price that you can inform them about. You’ll help them to either avoid making that costly mistake, or to negotiate a better price.
In terms of being a home inspector, we’re asked not to be a judge, not to have a bias for the buyer or the seller but just represent truth. For example, you’ll get a buyer that’s picking on a carpet stain saying, this carpet needs to be replaced. They ask, do you do agree? Guide them toward talking to their realtor. Don’t let yourself get pinned by people reframing things or re-characterizing them. Counter positioning with a quick follow up. It’s important to make sure that you’re very clear. You’re there to be the expert opinion. If people are trying to rewrite that narrative, on the go, as you’re speaking, it becomes important to make sure that you interrupt that so that the truth comes out.
Understand What Your Potential Customers Need From You
Speak your customer’s language so you don’t get in the way of your sales.
Understand the language of the buyer, the seller, and the realtor are slightly different. Your job is often to act as an intermediary between them to help them speak each other’s language. Regardless of which one hired you. Your job is to enable better communication, fairness and justice between them.
Help is Defined By The Recipient
Online retailers often fail their customers by behaving completely differently to the way they behave as a customer. As a customer, they shop around. They look at lots of things. But when they’re trying to run their business, they imagine they’re the only business that their customer is going to see.
Our intent to help is in our hands. We intend to help, but whether or not it is help is up to the recipient to decide. We need to understand that all the way through. As an inspector, we are there to help them with something. We need to understand what it is they need, not to dictate it, but to be facilitative.
When a client is deciding, find the discipline of saying and doing nothing, because is at that point, they’re making an internal decision. If you interrupt, you’re making it harder for them to focus.
Think about the couple who are looking at the windows and thinking about what drapes they’re going to get. You’re trying to get them to understand that the plumbing has a serious issue, but they’re busy putting the imaginary furniture in and hanging drapes. Understand that’s what they need to do. So, let them do that. Then they will move to what you need them to know.
What makes you think that your thing is more important to them? They’re not wrong.They’re doing what they want, they’re not wrong. You have to work to make sure you work toward their understanding. Otherwise you’re really in the way.
Todd Thuss has an inspection business in Huntsville, AL. An engineer, his business Integra Inspection Services is listed on Inspect.com. He’s working on his online presence.
Todd says, this has been a nightmare. I started out with a Wix site. I got contacted by a company that specializes in taking homegrown sites and revamping them, making them polished. Basically it sits on WordPress.
They did an adequate job with it, but I’m kind of a control freak. They copied over the content and probably did about a C average, C-minus average type of site. So, I’ve basically been fiddling with this thing and found it’s very frustrating to keep the text and things aligned properly as to the different browser sizes. It’s been very difficult.I don’t really know that they knew exactly what they were doing, but it’s tough to manage it well.
I was told by other WordPress experts that this really wasn’t a foundation, it wasn’t laid out properly to support this. So it’s very important when you’re building a site to make sure that the fundamentals are there and they’re solid.
Jeff (Inspect.com) has spoken at length about the importance of having a good theme. The middle layer that actually layers over top of something like WordPress that allows you to do that’s very important. Choose carefully because if you don’t, you’ll wind up with a lot of plugins that have compatibility issues.
First Thoughts from Ammon Johns
(Ammon) I would really want to be looking at the code to see what was going on behind the scenes. What I was seeing straight away, is I’m having trouble finding this on Google. When I search for Integra Inspection Services. I’m finding LinkedIn, Facebook, Homestars, Integra Inspections.com, with a hyphen, Inspect.com, Thumbtack. I’m not finding you on the first page of Google.
(Todd) That’s the wrong Integra displaying. We do have this issue of local, or it depends on what your IP address is. You’re finding a totally different set of Integras than what you would have to search in this area.
(Ammon) We always talk about this as a brand confusion issue, and it may be that this is a good time to think about renaming your business before you get too far down. It looks like there’s a lot of other companies also using Integra in various forms in their brand name. You want something as unique as possible.
The further down that road you go, you really want to be making sure there’s nothing that’s going to confuse people. When you’re building your brand. It’s your brand you’re building.
(Jeff) I’m all tuned into that. I spent a year and a half tackling my website on my own. I just tore the whole thing apart. It was the most beautiful thing I did, because then I just started off fresh and had a nice team. I had all of those learning lessons about what to do wrong. It turns out that it was much wiser just to start from scratch and do it again. I was able to implement all of the responsive components – scaling and zooming and growing and getting my head around H1, H2 tags right. And making sure that I have the meta data right. I’m using the Yoast SEO plugin.
Todd is an ideal home inspector with his qualifications and skills and abilities. He’s exactly what the market needs. The key is to get that projection present so that the market can find him so they can get an outstanding inspection.
(Ammon) I think this is one I’d like to have a proper look through with some time. Have a good look around.
WordPress is great if you are going to be spending a lot of time on your website to post to regularly; add new content, share things as they come up, it’s very easy to add stuff. And if you’re going to do that, that’s great.
But if he were an inspector who was going to do much more of a brochure style site, you’re going to do it once really professionally. Make it all glossy and then leave it alone. That’s not in your skill set. Don’t go with a WordPress site go with a plain HTML site for that kind of thing, because anything more than you need, and slower than you need. HTML gives you complete control over the code. Whereas, the more plugins you add on WordPress, the more things are in the background injecting their own parts in too. The thing is, you’ve got things putting in extra code on every page. Whether or not you’re using all those bells and whistles, it’s still loading them up.
I saw a great site the other day, a wonderful, really expensive platform. But that platform is building so many bells and whistles. It’s loading them all up in the background for every single page and most pages aren’t using them. It’s making the site, half the speed it should be, three times the code it needs to be. And that’s just not efficient. So understand what you want from your site and build a site that delivers that.
(Todd) That’s, that’s actually a great question. I had these other experts tell me you need to be creating content, posting, blogging everywhere. What is the balance between taking this existing site and really optimizing SEO wise, getting your keywords, getting everything dialed in, versus continually adding new content? I can’t find that balance. I’m overwhelmed with tasks that are just SEO related, let alone to create content. So, I prefer to have a brochure site, to be honest with you.
(Ammon) Let me ask you a quick question. How much time do you spend each week on marketing? All your different marketing activities from organizing ads, getting your business cards printed, anything like that? What has been going on marketing? What’s in your budget?
(Todd) At this point zero. I find that in this local market. I don’t find marketing works in this local market. I find that talking to agents, doing any form of traditional advertising, it falls flat. I find that actually the only thing that sells is my report. Basically word gets around that this guy spent a lot of time with me. And my Google reviews, be honest with you.
(Ammon) Those are good. But that’s not all. Marketing is not just advertising. And even then, there’s certain kinds of ads that work really well. If you’ve got a poster up of you, inspector of the month, in a realtors office, that’s going to be amazing marketing for you. And you know what that’s nothing to a billboard, it’s just where it is and what the context is.
The placement of your ads is something that you should spend a couple of hours per week just brainstorming clever ways to drive new opportunities for you. Because, even if it only pays off once out of six months, that once is going to be worth all of those little two hours, put together. It can skyrocket your business.
Having a couple of hours to play with, to spend time, knowing that you can be creative. What could I do this week? It’s gonna be so valuable to you. Sometimes it will be like a lot of people keep asking you a specific question when you meet. Why don’t you answer that on your website first, obviously it’s something people have in mind. How many didn’t come to you because there was somebody else that told them that and they went with them.
Little things like that are the kinds of thoughts you need to have time for and are going to have results. Also in that week, think about what could I add this week that was really interesting? The best inspection I did this month. Why did I enjoy it? What was it about serving customers, whether they were the buyer, the seller, or a realtor? What was it about that I really enjoyed? Now you’re talking to the mindset of the kind of person who hired you and who will hire you. You’re talking about what they got out of it and why you connected with them. It’s going to help the next person that’s likely to connect with you.
Recognize You Can’t Do Everything
We’re home inspectors. We like to think that we can dig in and we know everything and we can’t. Have an effective use of your time and your talent and your energy and be productive. Know where can you apply your skills best to move yourself forward to achieve your goals – to satisfy yours and your family’s needs. Sometimes that means handing things over.
The fourth in a 10-part series of marketing with Ammon Johns dedicated to property inspectors in the United States. He has been variously described by others as a veteran, pioneer, and expert in the field of SEO and search marketing. He has spent over 20 years in all aspects of Internet marketing, working with several leading SEO agencies, helping to launch several of them to industry-leader status. Ammon is best known for innovation, pioneering many of the common strategies of today, and he continues to innovate strategies.