Banners are the best example of how not to refer your visitor to your merchant (unless it's for products that you are not so proud to recommend -- a banner is an ad, so you're not putting your personal endorsement upon it). In plain and simple language... people feel "pitched" when they click on a banner. And people who feel "pitched" are difficult to convert into a sale. Now for a critical ACTION STEP...
Review your site or whatever other means you are using to REACH, TALK TO, and REFER visitors to your merchants. Put yourself in your customer's brain. What will she think, how will she feel, at each of the 3 major steps from above?
If you're doing everything perfectly, congratulations! You must have a high CR. If you don't have a high CR, or if you see some big mindset mistakes
Consider how much higher your CR would be if a visitor found you in a bona fide manner (ex., as a result of doing a search on a Search Engine), then became "your friend" (or your "trusting admirer" if you do a truly awesome job!) because you provided excellent content, and finally was led to a context-appropriate recommendation. (There will be more on RECOMMENDATION vs. SALES PITCH shortly).
The bottom line?
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