Conversion increase FAQ for ISPs
August 1st, 2012
So you've listed your ISP on CanadianISP.ca and the traffic is starting to come in from the largest ISP comparison site in Canada to yours, but you are not seeing increased sales. This FAQ is designed to help you troubleshoot this scenario, as it should not be the case; At a minimum, any ISP, whether they are using paid advertising features or not, should be seeing a 4% conversion ratio: That is for every 100 visitors from CanadianISP.ca to your website, four of them should become paying subscribers.
- Is the information I have on CanadianISP substantially different than that which is on my site ?
Nothing irks customers more than clicking on an ISP because they see a price or a feature they like, only to find it is not available any more. In the worst case scenario, some will feel you have engaged in "Bait and switch" - Avoid this by keeping your information on CanadianISP.ca up to date (It doesn't cost you a think to update!)
- Is the URL that people are coming to your site relevant to that which they clicked on ?
Remember than 94% of all traffic to CanadianISP is for residential Internet connectivity; While many, if not most, ISPs offer multiple services such as VoIP, web hosting, PBX services, cloud computing and what-not, the URL they come to you from CanadianISP.ca should be for your Internet connectivity services (Unless you have listed yourself as a business-only ISP, of course)
- Can customers actually sign up from your website ? Is it easy to find the signup form ?
Remember the golden rule of website design: A visitor must be able to get TO anywhere in your site FROM anywhere in your site within three clicks of the mouse. Remember, too, that for a very large portion of the population, Internet services really are "complex" to them. Having a link entitled "DSL connection availability test" is a LOT less likely to get clicks from potential customers than "Click here to sign up"
- Do you list your prices on your website ? Are you making the classic mistake of "If I make people call me, I can get more sales ?"
This is a sales tactic that stopped working in the eighties; If you don't list your prices online for customers to check and compare, several hundred of your competitors do and the customer will be only too happy to check them out.
- Do your sales and customer service people actually answer the phone during your stated business hours ? Do they return calls promptly, if they can not ?
It still surprises me that one of the most common complaints I hear about ISPs on CanadianISP.ca is the fact that there are more than a small number of ISPs who do not answer the phone, or have extraordinary hold times for people to get through. Remember: It is a not-small portion of the public that is not comfortable in using the Internet to purchase Internet access: They want to talk to a human being; They want to know that not only is that fact possible with your company, but that they can get through in a reasonable time and speak to someone they can understand. Remove this option and you are removing a significant portion of your market.
- Are the pages you've created to describe your services understandable by the technically illiterate ?
While there is nothing wrong with having lots of technical detail and specs available for the uber-savvy, they should NOT be the first pages one sees when clicking on a product or service. One of the simplest, easiest "tricks" I have seen some do when creating an IT product or service page is to ask a non-technically savvy senior relative or in-law to browse the page and tell you if they understand it and what it is that you are selling.
- Are your prices competitive ?
There are many reasons for not being the lowest price on the block - Many of them absolutely good reasons, too; BUT: If you are five or ten dollars a month more expensive than your competitors, is the reason for that clearly pointed out on your site ? Do you have a "vanilla option" that IS closer to your competitors for those customers that just want plain old access to the Internet and nothing more ?
Keep in mind, for those of you who newly list with CanadianISP that many customers' first switch from an incumbent telco or cableco will be based on price alone; It is not uncommon that they come back after three or four months, after discovering the meaning behind "You get what you pay for" - CanadianISP.ca sees a LOT of repeat visitors over several months.
- Are your sales staff polite and professional on both the telephone and in email ?
It is still absolutely surprising at how common the complaint of rude techs or sales people are.
I GET that dealing with the public in an IT product or service profession can be extremely frustrating; If your sales staff cannot handle this, however, they should NOT be representing your company by answering the phone; The use of "Silent shopper" techniques, by calling your own sales line from an unfamiliar number, or having a good friend call your company and ask about your products or services is ALWAYS a good idea to perform at regular intervals. It is not uncommon for staff to behave very differently when "the boss" is not around.
- Does your site look like it was designed by a professional ?
Many of us, myself included, do not have an aesthetic bone in our body. While that does not change our ability to perform our technical duties, it does not change the fact that first impressions really do affect a customers' decision to buy or not. If you do not have the ability to create a pleasant, easy to navigate and informative website, hire someone who can - Or offer an exchange of services with someone who can. You can be the most technically competent, price-competitive ISP in all of Canada, but if your website looks like it was done as a high school computer class project, you WILL be losing sales - A LOT of them.
- Is your website more than just a price list and catalog ?
Many business owners - Not just ISPs - think that having a website is just about listing products, services and prices and the world will beat a path to their door. Nothing could be further from the truth. When one does that, it is the equivalent of telling the public "Buy my stuff because I said so" - To a new potential customer, who does not know you from a hole in the ground, what is it on your website that is going to convince them that you company is the one for them ?
Do you have helpful tips on spam prevention ? Virus prevention ? Computer maintenance ? Online business tips ? Service announcements ? Company news ? Content, content, content - And it should be updated on a regular basis - Not only will that benefit you in converting new visitors to your site, but will improve your search engine rankings a lot, too!
I hope you find the above useful. If you are an ISP that is listed on CanadianISP, whether you use any of our paid services or not, and are unhappy with your conversion rates, please feel free to send me a note through the contact form or via email; I would be absolutely pleased to look over both your site and your listing and make suggestions, at absolutely no cost or commitment from you; After all, if YOU are benefiting from CanadianISP.ca, then that means the general public that is using it is, too: That is win-win all around!
It is worth noting, too, that nearly all of the tips above can be applied to just about any website and business on the 'net; Obviously, my focus is on the ISPs that CanadianISP.ca lists, but feel free to make use - and profit - from the advice above!
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