I need a 21 year old Sales Guru to guide me on my path to enlightenment!
November 23, 2007 11:23 AM   Subscribe

How do I learn to optimize my website/sales approach to sell online to college kids?

I've got an entertainment based product I'm trying to sell to college kids, and I'm doing an okay job of driving traffic to the site. The problem comes in once they're there. My conversion rate is terrible.

I feel optimistic that the product itself appeals to the demographic (18-25 year old men) because if I can get some one-on-one time with a person, they usually are compelled to buy.

I want to try to automate this process as much as possible by having a solid website to convert the traffic numbers to sales numbers. I think I'm not giving the -right- information on the website, or perhaps too much.

Do you recommend any books/websites/news articles/podcasts/blogs that are specifically geared towards selling products online to college guys? Anything and everything you can suggest I read is useful!

Another awesome thing you could provide would be maybe an online marketing community where I could find someone to look at my website and say "hey this is hard to navigate, you need to change this" and "Hey that's funny! emphasize that!"
posted by ZackTM to Work & Money (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
your website (and I assume it's the travel package you are selling) is really lame, and the travel package says "Spring Break 2004". I would re-design your website (check out sitepoint.com, they do fast good cheap jobs) and furthermore: iZack Travel? Could you do better?
posted by parmanparman at 12:43 PM on November 23, 2007

if you website is based on the fact that college kids have money to spend, it probably won't work...since..we don't. i would emphasize on how your site is a bargain, or a deal, and why it is still quality while being said bargain.

btw zack, nice to see you on mefi...

weren't you an 18-25yo college kid not too long ago?
posted by virga at 12:53 PM on November 23, 2007

What are you selling--spring break trips?
posted by HotPatatta at 12:54 PM on November 23, 2007

Response by poster: ohh no no not izack.com

thats not the website. Sorry, thats old as crap, i forgot it was linked to my profile.
posted by ZackTM at 12:58 PM on November 23, 2007

Everybody's "conversion rate" online is terrible, you know. I wonder if your expectations are too high? Because visiting a web site is easy, lots of web sites get visited. But where a brick-and-mortar store might make a sale to anywhere from 10% to 50% of walk-ins (depending on product and prices) I bet that most commercial web sites do really well if they make sales to 0.5% of visitors. If the product is expensive or unusual, I bet it's a lot lower than that.

...especially since a lot of the "visitors" will be crawlers. I know that on my server, my top "users" are the Googlebot, the MSNbot, the askJeeves bot, and about fifteen others. (And the Cyveillance bot would be, except that I blocked them in my firewall.)
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:07 PM on November 23, 2007

Response by poster: Steven C. Den Beste:
You've definitely got a point, but at the same time I'd like to make the best use of the limited time my website is in front of these peoples eyes. I'm hoping for resources that will best direct me in what information this demographic is looking for/wants to see to be convinced. I need to optimize my website from a sales approach and was hoping for some guidance in that sense.
posted by ZackTM at 1:17 PM on November 23, 2007

It would help to know what you're selling, but the advice about low prices still stands.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 2:01 PM on November 23, 2007

It would help most if we could look at your website. There are approximately 30,000,000 things that could be a reason for poor conversion - no call to action, wrong imagry for your target audience, critical stuff below the fold, cross-browser content swallowing, anything - so having a look would be handy!
posted by DarlingBri at 3:04 PM on November 23, 2007

Righty-o, Zack's site is now in his profile should anyone want to check it out vis a vis this question. I have a few thoughts but am not the target audience so will wait for others to weigh in :)
posted by DarlingBri at 4:35 PM on November 23, 2007

As a 26yo former grad student here. A book is a hard thing to sell online, especially to 18-25yo college students.

-Maybe include some audio interviews with the author or audio excerpts
-Give away free copies and hope word-of-mouth will increase web traffic.
-More photos of the author's exploits and adventures, preferably photos that include women with wet t-shirts and/or bikinis (I assume straight guys like that sort of thing, but I am not an expert on straight men by any stretch of the imagination)

College students don't have much time to read. Between finding time to study, play video games, have anonymous sex, and binge drink, they hardly have time to eat and sleep.
posted by HotPatatta at 6:27 PM on November 23, 2007

I'm not your target audience (I'm probably twice as old), but in briefly looking at your site, I cannot immediately tell what is compelling about the book. The imagery the site uses (a donkey and a fence and a live girls sign) doesn't adequately convey the content of the book... and the idea of some vaguely described or depicted "adventures" does not interest me enough to want to buy. Is it about girls? Is it about drunkeness? Is it somehow tied to Jackass the show with wacky stunts? Or is it about animal sex? Who the hell knows by looking at your site? I sure don't.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:07 AM on November 24, 2007

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that reading a book isn't exactly the favorite activity of your target audience.

Maybe you should blog the content instead(smaller bites, youtube tie-ins, etc.) and just run ads?
posted by Mr. Gunn at 6:01 PM on November 24, 2007

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