While most online marketers seem to be focusing on technology and tools, says conversion expert Tim Ash, they should be focusing on persuasion - persuading people to buy. The 4 pillars of persuasion are:
1. Authority. For selling to consumers this might be media reviews of your work. For B2B, logos of your top clients.
2. Transactional Assurances. When people get to the point of sale they need assurances to convince them they're not making a mistake. These include guarantees, policies, return information, well known payment methods, secure checkout, etc. Trustmarks might include: McAfee Secure, TRUSTe, Visa, American Express, UPS, etc.
3. Social Proof. What your friends think is important and people perceived to be like you, according to persuasion expert Robert Cialdini. You might present large numbers in numeral form, such as 10,000 customers since 1997. Provide a link to reviews and testimonials. Include a Facebook API with a "Like" button and pictures of all the people that like you.
4. Appearance. Your site needs a high level of polish and professionalism, the day of the cheesy-looking sites is over. People form a first impression of a website in 1/20th of a second! You can find someone to redesign your site at crowdsource marketplaces, such as Elance.com or 99designs.com. But there's a caveat: It's important that your website designer understands persuasion!
Tim Ash is CEO of SiteTuners that helps companies large and small improve conversion rates through conversion consulting, including an inexpensive Express Review of landing pages. He is also the founder of Conversion Conference, a worldwide series of conferences about improving conversions -- next in New York City, , October 19-20, 2011. This interview was recorded at the Search Engine Strategies Conference in Chicago, October 2010.