What do I need to know about growing online sales?
As you build brand awareness and drive website traffic for your online business, it is also important to get the right marketing strategies in place so you can convert visitors into new customers. While most visitors will start with your home page, there are many situations where a potential customer will enter your site through product pages or blog posts, or even landing pages you create for special campaigns. That’s why it’s so important to consider all of these “points of entry” to determine which actionable item should be presented to these potential new customers.
No matter what online marketing programs and channels you deploy, focusing on conversion optimization on your site can help you gain more traction with your digital marketing efforts. Whether you use SEO, social media, PPC, or other methods to drive traffic, it is important to which efforts are leading to conversions.
How can I increase online sales?
The real key to success as a goods or product-based business in today’s world is knowing how to get people to buy from your website. While brick-and-mortar sales may be ever-declining, the online shopping industry is booming. But Amazon and other online shops often corner the market (and search results), so it’s more important than ever to know exactly how to increase online sales. Yes, there’s a lot to be said about having great products at a great price point, but this digital landscape means you’ll need to apply a few more techniques than that. Below, we’ll share just a few of them.
Capture email addresses
One of the biggest mistakes we see clients and potential clients making is not capturing their site visitors’ email addresses. The first time someone visits your site, they’re often just browsing or in research mode. Capturing their email via a popup with a promotion or offer code — or with a valuable opt-in or resource — is a great way to increase the odds they’ll return to your site and eventually buy.
When you capture their email, you can push new promotions, new information, and generally stay “top of mind” to consumers who are interested in the products or services you offer.
Creative and persuasive site copy
Remember those multiple entry points? You’ll be collecting visitors from all over the internet, so it’s hard to know exactly where they’ll land (although you should be tracking them!). To ensure they get the most value from their first visit, use great copy and content writing to clearly articulate what you offer, as well as your brand’s positioning. The more persuasive and creative the copy, the higher the conversion rates.
A/B testing is a way to test different “versions” of the same content or campaign. For example, many companies us A/B testing to test how HTML vs plain text newsletters work with their subscribers. You can also use A/B testing on landing pages to see which one converts more, especially when using PPC ads in search or social.
This allows you to fine-tune your messaging and creative while still aligning with your marketing campaign goals.
User experience (UX)
As more and more people begin to use the internet for their daily needs (including shopping), and as smartphones become more ubiquitous, you have to consider how your visitors interact with your website. While UX can get very complex (there are UX designers out there whose sole job it is to ensure your site visitors have a seamless experience), you can keep it simple. Focus on the user experience by enhancing your product detail page and merchandising your product catalog. This makes it easy for potential customers to find the product they want, learn more about it, and engage with your brand.
When you merchandise your product catalog, you also ensure that people can find all the products you offer, which increases the odds you’ll make a sale. After all, if it’s not on your site and available for purchase, how can site visitors know they want to buy from you?
It’s no secret that Google is putting mobile-optimized sites first in search. They even said it. But if you want to convert more customers and grow your online sales, you may not be considering this in your marketing plan. If your site’s theme is non-mobile-responsive, you might have some problems. Not only does this relate to UX (nobody likes using a website that doesn’t work on their phone), but it is critical to rank higher in SERPs.
Ensure that your site (and e-commerce platform) have mobile-friendly capabilities by simply visiting your site on multiple mobile devices. Different phones, tablets, and even different browsers are all good starting places. If your site doesn’t look great on mobile or is hard to use, it may be time to make a switch. Mobile-first is here, and we want you to meet your customers where they are… and that’s on their phones.
Checkout page sequence
Have you ever used an online checkout that was so frustrating or confusing that you just stopped the transaction all together? We’ve been there, too, but we know you don’t want your customers to have that experience. So make it easy to work through your checkout page sequence: consider the checkout button, the checkout page, and the confirm and verification pages. If your pages are confusing, or it seems like they’ve checked out when they haven’t, you’ll lose people.
Do you seem to get people to at least seem interested in your products, but they bail at checkout? This is pretty common, but watching cart abandonment data (and capturing those emails early) can help with that. If you capture emails and their cart is abandoned, you can follow up with a simple, short email that reminds them their cart is waiting. You can also watch for where you are experiencing cart abandonment to see if there are ways to increase conversions. It might be a matter of copy, UX, mobile-friendliness, etc.
93% of consumers say they read reviews before buying something or investing in a service. So basically, your entire consumer base (regardless of industry or audience) wants some sort of proof that you’re a good brand to buy from. To increase conversions, sprinkle client testimonials throughout your site, especially on key traffic pages. You can also pull reviews right onto your product pages with some e-commerce platforms, or using plugins for Google and Amazon reviews. Testimonials, reviews, and even influencer reviews are critical for your e-commerce brand’s sales growth.
We’ve talked above about the importance of capturing those emails, and here’s why: a good email marketing program is essential to growing sales. A good email is often how you get that next revenue bump and it encourages brand loyalty and return customers. While it can be hard to reach people online with algorithms and sheer volume, earning a spot in their email inbox ups the odds your ideal customer will see you, continue to engage with your brand, and convert to a customer.
This is also where good copy and creative come in: don’t underestimate the value of persuasive copy and stand-out visuals. People get a lot of emails in a day, so make sure yours stand out.
Once you’ve made “contact” with a potential customer, whether they started following you on Facebook or they stumbled onto your website, what are you doing to encourage second contact? This is where digital marketing really shines today, as it’s entirely possible to set up retargeting campaigns with Google Adwords and on social media platforms to ensure those customers do, in fact, see you again. Using UTM codes and things like the Facebook Pixel allows you to track site visitors and anyone who has engaged with your content. Once that initial brand awareness has been established, it’s best to continue to show up in their internet activity, reinforcing you as the brand of choice when they decide to buy.
The key here is making sure all of your tracking is set up and maintained properly, and that you’re regularly translating the data to assess and adapt.
Think of the visuals
As an online brand, how your site looks and the sort of dynamic content you create are keys to captivating visitors’ attention. We always recommend that clients develop high-quality photography and short-form video content, as visuals are what make people “stop the scroll” and pay attention. These visuals can be used in social media, in email, on your site, and wherever you’re promoting your brand online. Just make sure to optimize for each platform.
What can I do about losing sales to Amazon?
If you are an e-commerce company with a checkout on your site and you also sell on Amazon, you need to be sure that you think about how visitors “jump ship.” Many customers jump over to Amazon to take advantage of the convenient checkout process and Prime Shipping. While this can be frustrating, it’s also a learning experience: how you design your e-commerce site and the checkout process really matters in today’s online mobile consumer world.