Starting a business online is often much easier than starting a business on the High Street. However, there are some challenges that online businesses face that do not come into play with brick and mortar companies.
The main one: boosting online sales and optimising your website.
The typical website has a conversion rate of 2.35% – this means that just over two web visitors out of 100 actually go on to become customers. That’s a pretty leaky sales funnel.
The bottom line is simple: to become profitable online, you have to find ways to drive traffic and then convert those visitors into customers. Having a website that’s primed for sales is a no-brainer.
Here are a few proven ways that will boost your website sales significantly.
The key to a home page is focus. To keep customers focused, keep it simple – less is more.
Research shows that offering fewer products with more detailed descriptions will yield more significant results.
Curate your top products into an attractive product gallery and use emotive language to help drive sales. Change the products you feature to follow seasonality and sales data, and ensure your homepage copy is short, snappy and direct.
For service-based businesses, have a super clear offer or actionable insight splashed across your homepage. Don’t be tempted to include everything you do or describe your company in great detail. A simple graphic or hero image can help you convey a message in a super succinct way.
A value proposition is a few sentences that endorse the unique worth of what you sell. A good value proposition answers three questions:
Answer these questions in one or two sentences and make the answers clear on your home page. Bullet points, call-out boxes, galleries – be creative with how you present these to people.
Immediately showing your customers what you offer them will hook them as soon as they arrive on your website. Answer people’s questions before they even have time to ask them!
With a simple home page, there is a chance that customers will have questions. Luckily, chatbots can take care of answering most questions your customers have.
By installing a live chat option on your page and then using a chatbot application to deal with simple customer queries, you can boost sales by 45%.
Simple: when customers get their questions answered immediately, they are more likely to buy.
There are so many easy live-chat systems out there that can be literally plugged into your website in seconds. They are massively reassuring and easy to implement.
Paid advertising is a great way to get more eyes on your website, and it’s a super scalable (affordable) marketing model.
Pay-per-click and pay-per-impression campaigns work exactly as their names suggest. With a PPC campaign, you pay every time someone clicks on your ad (the ad will send traffic to the link that you provide in the ad). With PPM campaigns, you pay every time your ad is placed on the results page – whether it is clicked or not.
Google has a Keyword Tool to show what frequent searches relate to your category. Start with a reasonable amount and split test ads by running different ads simultaneously to see which is most effective.
This option is perfect for local businesses looking for clients in their area, but any website can benefit from running ad campaigns.
Just make sure that your website/landing page matches your ads. A specific offer or deal is always a good way to get people through the door, but you then have to work hard to convert them. A lot of businesses go for a stripped back version of their website for their landing page – something that keeps customers super focused on making a purchase.
A lot of businesses go for a stripped back version of their website for their landing page – something that keeps customers super focused on making a purchase.
Social proof is huge when it comes to converting web sales. One easy way to show that customers love your brand is by publishing (and promoting) online customer testimonials. Genuine recommendations promote trust and are a reliable way to boost sales.
You can go one step further and showcase pictures of your team at work. Or why not simply share photos of your staff? Show your customers that you’re more than just a business: you’re a personality that cares about them (and they should care about you).
Be sure to highlight any awards, certifications, or notable accomplishments your team has made. These third-party approvals show that you’re no one-trick pony: you’re the real deal.
The more respected your company appears, the more likely your customers are to trust you and, as a result, spend their hard-earned cash with you as well.
Facebook Ads is one of the leading online ad platforms used by online marketers. The conversion rates for ads on Facebook are a whopping 9.21% – impressive stuff.
Instagram is rapidly growing, and it shows no signs of slowing down. The international popularity of Instagram has poised the platform to overshadow its parent company Facebook in the coming years perhaps.
But while they’re of the same roots, splitting your advertising between both branches lets you cast a wider net for the best results.
Both Facebook and Instagram use the Facebook Ads platform to host ads. This platform offers extraordinary marketing capabilities, including the ability to target your demographic (target audience) with pinpoint accuracy.
While casting a wider net is great, throwing that net at targeted demographics means you can drive more sales with greater efficiency.
For example, let’s say you’re a babywear brand. Sure, you could show ads to all and sundry. But by targeting parents, you can increase sales by going after those who are more likely to buy.
To learn more about how to create a great Instagram ad, watch the video below:
The most effective way to build trust with your customers is to get them to opt-in to your email list. But getting them to do so can be challenging. Customers won’t hand over their email address for nothing!
Consequently, you need to offer customers a tantalising freebie in exchange for their email address. These deal sweeteners are known as lead magnets.
It needs to be something they want badly enough to give you their email address in exchange for access to it. This could be an e-book, newsletter, video lesson, infographic – anything that is free or affordable to create that your prospective customers will really want.
And don’t skimp on the quality. To convince your customers to hand over their email address, your lead magnet needs to be high-quality and valuable.
For example, if you’re creating a downloadable ebook, use a good ebook creator rather than just sticking to Microsoft Publisher. And if you’re creating your own online course, use quality recording software to make it truly enticing. Show your customers you respect them (and their email address) by only offering them the best.
After you’ve gathered the email addresses, send special offers to your list periodically – but not excessively. Too many emails will wind your customers up, so aim for between 2-4 a month.
And the emails you send shouldn’t be spammy and pointless. They need to cater to your customers and offer them something they might genuinely be interested in.
As with your social ads before, use your customer analytics data to target customers with relevant special offers and promotions. When shoppers receive marketing emails they actually care about and benefit from, they’ll trust the recipient so much more.
Marketing to direct traffic and find customers online can be a real challenge when you are first beginning your journey. But add a little humanity to your marketing and provide relevant, engaging content, you can boost your sales and increase your website traffic exponentially. Get to know your demographic well and cater to their needs. Once you know your customers, you’ll know the marks to hit to boost your sales.
Victoria Greene is a freelance writer with a long history of covering social media topics. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she covers updates in the social media world, along with e-commerce and digital marketing.
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