Updated: Jan 16
Several months ago, Sarabeth and I removed a large block of copy from our homepage. We did it without giving the decision much thought.
Within a few weeks, our leads almost completely dried up. We didn’t immediately suspect causation. After all, freelancing regularly ebbs and flows. Maybe this was just another quiet spell.
But we became more skeptical when the silence continued another few weeks. Finally, we reverted back to the original website copy. Sure enough, leads picked up again and we returned to business as usual.
What to do when leads aren’t converting
When no one is buying from your website, it’s time to take an honest step back.
Conversion optimization is all about iteration and experimentation. It’s impossible to know what will make a meaningful difference on your website until you start testing multiple hypotheses.
There are many factors that can raise or plummet your leads. In this article, I’ll cover nine of the most common reasons no one is buying from your website.
1. There’s simply not enough website traffic
Selling online, to some extent, is a numbers game. No matter how brilliant your product is, most people who arrive on your website will not immediately convert into customers. Your first step toward improving conversions may simply be to increase the number of website visitors you receive each day.
There are dozens of ways to increase your website traffic. Here are a handful of common tactics:
Write SEO blogs to appear at the top of Google search results
Use paid advertising to drive targeted traffic
Post regularly on social media
Guest write for popular blogs
Speak at events, webinars, and conferences
But if you have high traffic and low sales, that’s another issue entirely...
2. You’re receiving the wrong website traffic
If you have traffic but no conversions, you may be attracting the wrong website visitors. Your ideal customers are out there somewhere, they may just not be the same people who are landing on your website.
Open your analytics and go back to the marketing drawing board. Who is your ideal customer? Where do they spend their time online? How do they talk about your products or services? What are their exact problems in relation to your solutions?
Don’t try to answer these questions in your head. The only way to properly get these answers is to listen directly to your customers. Learn to speak their language. Once you understand your solutions through the eyes of your best customers, you can tailor your marketing efforts to meet their specific needs and expectations.
You do this by using what they tell you and how they talk about your product to rework your website copy. Often, using exact customer language on your website results in more powerful and clear copy than you could write on your own.
You can learn more about using customer language to write your website copy in point one of this article.
3. Your website has a poor user experience
Consider the websites you buy from most often. They usually have a simple buying experience, use intuitive and clean design, and use reassuring language to make you feel comfortable pulling out your credit card.
All of this comes down to user experience writing and design across your website. UX calls to question everything on your website: the images, copy, structure, and even individual pages you use. 'No section is out of reach. Good user experience can perhaps be found in one question: What is your website doing to make customers' purchase experiences easier, not harder?
Like in our last point, the best way to move forward is to listen to customers. Set up user tests (or at least ask for customer feedback) to see where website visitors get confused or feel unsure on your website. The only way to know what needs to change about your user experience is to first determine if (and where) problems exist.
4. Your message is unclear
The goal of your website copy should be to shorten the distance between a customer and the solution they’re looking for. Long, disjointed content on your website does the exact opposite: it confuses site visitors, making it harder for them to get what they want.
Clarity and simplicity are your best friends. Comb through your current website copy looking for opportunities to shorten and simplify everything.
We're copywriters. There's a lot we could say to help you clarify your message. But I'll just leave you with some simple pointers:
Write headlines using the verb first to put the reader at the center of the action. (e.g., "Access your free trial.")
Never use a long word or sentence where a shorter one will do.
Replace jargon with more visual words and sentences. (Visual language is more memorable.)
Focus more on the customer than your business. (More on this topic in point #7.)
As a general rule, clarity is better than sounding clever.
Write to the converted. Don't worry about trying to hard-sell your product to an audience that doesn't care. Write your copy for the people who already know they have a problem and need a solution.
5. You lack a product-marketing fit
Maybe you’ve heard of product-market fit, which involves finding the right market for your product.
Product-marketing fit is different. It's the process of aligning your product with your messaging strategy to ensure there’s cohesion across your brand. Does a consistent brand voice exist across all your marketing copy, website copy, and in-app text?
Consistency builds trust. Inconsistency looks unprofessional and in extreme cases can even come across like a scam.
How do you build consistency? Put in place a few rules for how you talk about your product. For example, choose brand colors that appear regularly in ads and on your website. Choose fonts and set rules about when you'll use them. Do you only talk about your brand in the third person ("Lewis Commercial Writing believes...") or do you also use first person ("We are here to help.")?
Consistency matters. Look for ways to codify your brand.
6. You don’t adequately differentiate your product or business
What makes your product so special, anyway?
Online shoppers are more informed today than ever. Especially when they’re looking for an expensive product, people are willing and capable to do their research. That means you should expect potential customers to already know who your main competitors are — and what they offer — by the time they arrives on your website.
Will they know right away what differentiates your product or company from everyone else? If not, you may consider making a few changes.
One of the best ways to know what differentiates your brand from its competitors is to read online reviews. You should read your own product reviews and the reviews of your competitors' products. What you're looking for is where your five-star reviews and your competitors' one- and two-star reviews overlap.
This overlap helps you see things you're doing well that your competitors are doing poorly. Find a way to emphasize that strength toward the top of your website for fast differentiation.
7. Your website focuses on you instead of the customer
It may seem counterintuitive at first. But your website isn’t supposed to be about you, your product, or your brand. Of course, these elements will be part of your website. But if you want to improve online conversions, your website should act in full service to your customer.
In practice, that means several things:
Use only as much information as is necessary to get website visitors where they’re trying to go.
Use customer-centric messaging to put website visitors at the center of the action on your website.
Name the problems customers are facing as well as how your product directly solves those problems for them.
Think of every button (and call to action) as an attempt to shorten the distance between the customer and what they’re trying to accomplish.
8. Your website lacks social proof
Why should a new website visitor trust you?
When people shop at a restaurant or grocery store, we can see others shopping in the same location. This sends social signals to us that where we’re shopping is trustworthy. We feel safe following a crowd.
How do you replicate that same safety on your website? With a little tactic called social proof.
Social proof is any third-party endorsement that appears on your website to establish you as a reliable, trustworthy resource. Common examples of social proof include:
Logos of respected brands who use your product
Logos of your past media appearances
Certifications and similar badges
No one wants to be a heart surgeon's first patient. Show website visitors you've helped other people before by showing off some social proof.
9. Your entry-level product is too expensive (or comprehensive)
It’s hard to sell a $2,000 software to cold leads. Consider offering a lower-cost product or giving away something for free on your website that fosters trust in your brand.
In SaaS, companies often offer freemium services or a temporary free trial using their tool. This lowers the barrier to entry, reducing the customer’s potential risk.
You can also give away resources for free like ebooks and whitepapers. These can inform the reader, build trust through education, or tell them more about your product or company so they can make a more informed buying decision.
So... why is no one buying from your website?
Lists like this could go on and on. Hundreds of factors might impact any particular purchase decision. The best thing you can do is provide the best user experience on your website, focus your messaging on solving the customer's problem, and communicate what you offer as clearly and simply as possible.
And if you need a SaaS copywriter or content designer to help you with any of that, just book a call. We'd love to help your team.