Information Seekers are Buyers, Too

I’ve heard sellers of all kinds, from artists selling at craft fairs to owners of e-commerce websites, complain about visitors who look but don’t buy. They seem to consider these “looky-loos” a waste of time. If that’s your perspective, keep reading; you just might change your mind.

So you get visitors who are “just looking.” What, exactly, are they looking for? Brent Chaters, writing for Search Engine Journal, noted that it’s been common knowledge for a while that roughly 10 percent of searches are navigational in nature, 10 percent are transactional, and the other 80 percent are informational. So one in ten search engine users are trying to find a particular website, another one in ten want to make a purchase, and all of the rest just want to do research…and all of the latter seem to end up at your site, right?

The answer to one question naturally leads to the next question. Why are they looking for information? While you’ll find entire communities of people who look for information just because it’s cool to know things, ultimately, there’s a purpose to a searcher’s pursuit of information. More often than not, that purpose will lead to a sale somewhere down the line.

Sometimes, the path to that ultimate purpose is obvious: a searcher’s favorite camera of several years is on its last legs; they’re looking for a replacement, but they don’t know what features modern digital cameras offer, or which ones they need. Sometimes it’s less obvious: a crafty searcher wants to learn a new skill in her old craft – say, Tunisian crochet for someone who’s never done it before. As she gets into it, she needs slightly different tools to do it most efficiently; standard hooks don’t work as well for big projects. So she buys a new set of hooks. And more yarn with which to practice, of course. And let’s not forget the new Tunisian crochet patterns she wants to work now. And…you get the idea, right?

So if that 80 percent of searchers is likely to convert somewhere down the line, don’t you want them to convert on your site? Of course you do. You can start by thinking of every visitor as an opportunity down the line. As you build your site around productive keywords, for example, use long tail versions of those words as well. To make the most of the long tail, you might need to word the page differently. As Chaters explains, “the pages that support these long tail searches may have a different goal and message. All roads should lead towards a singular goal, but each page along the way can speak to a different aspect of that opportunity.”

Fill these pages with information. Make it the kind of information that visitors can use to help them make up their minds. When they’re ready to buy, they’ll remember that you provided them with what they needed. Be an authority on your subject, and you’ll gain their trust. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: people buy from those they trust. As Chaters notes, “If you establish trust as part of the customer experience early on with a customer you had not connected with before, you have now not only sold a product but created a potential for an ongoing relationship.”

So every time someone visits your website apparently just looking for information, you get a chance to build trust, and a lifetime customer relationship.  To assist in that goal, consider that a visitor could land on any page of your website…so they should all be treated as “landing pages.” But think of them as specialized landing pages, and remember that not every landing page needs to sell something. Think about what might have caused a particular visitor to land on that page, and set it up to give them what they were looking for. It might not be too long before they go from your best informational “landing page” to your checkout page. Good luck!

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