Getting visitors to your website is a great start, but when it’s sales you’re looking for, visitors need to become customers. The battle for conversions begins the moment a potential customer clicks a link to your site – and it can be tough. We’ve put together the hottest tips and tricks to get your sales rate sky-rocketing in no time!
If you’re familiar with the concept of the sales funnel, you’ll know that there are different stages when it comes to converting potential customers. There are a variety of different interpretations of how the sales funnel works, but the principle stages in the journey towards conversion are:
We’ve broken down our tips and tricks to fit within the general concept of the first three stages of the sales funnel, so you can optimise your site for every type of customer.
Stage 1: Awareness
The awareness stage of the sales funnel is all about building brand awareness and getting customers to notice your business and products. Whilst marketing is important at this stage, some elements of awareness are developed on your website, too.
1) Make Advertising And Web Copy Uniform
Consistency is key when it comes to optimising marketing materials and landing pages for conversion. You’re building brand awareness with marketing, and it’s important that when potential customers reach your site the style and content match. Pay attention to the details such as formatting and phrasing.
This is important on a psychological level more than anything. Visitors might not consciously notice inconsistencies, but on a subconscious level they will. Consistency builds trust and establishes your eCommerce site as genuine and reliable.
2) Coupon Codes For Conversion
Everyone loves a bargain, right? Think about your own shopping experience. If a business that you’ve never bought from before offers a coupon code, are you more likely to remember them and make a future purchase? Of course you are. In the awareness stage of the sales funnel, you’re looking to entice people, and coupon codes are an awesome way of achieving this.
You could offer a percentage discount, free shipping or reduced price, depending on what you’re selling. One great way of raising awareness is to offer special discount codes for people who share your products or posts on social media.
3) Free Trials And Money-Back Guarantees
Like coupon codes, free trials and/or money-back guarantees are great for building brand awareness and creating future conversions. These types of offers inspire a sense of confidence – another psychological aspect of conversions. Offering a free trial or a money-back guarantee tells your potential customers that you have confidence in your product or service. Taking away any risk for the potential customer makes them more likely to commit, too.
4) Website Loading Time
How quickly your website loads can have a big impact when you’re targeting the awareness stage of the sales funnel. Industry surveys show that web users tend to expect a website to load in less than 2 seconds and will go somewhere else if it doesn’t. There are plenty of resources online to help you check your page load speeds and remedy any problems.
Give your potential customers a fast load time and you’ll reduce the chances of them looking elsewhere. Positive experiences on your website make for happy people, and happy people are easier to convert into customers!
5) Free Shipping And Free Returns
Ecommerce websites that offer free shipping and free returns – and make these offers clear to their potential customers – do better in conversion rates than those who don’t. Make your potential customers aware of your shipping and returns policies and you’ll show them that you want to offer value and high-quality service. High shipping rates and having to pay to return unwanted items is a big turn-off for customers!
Of course, free shipping reduces your profit margins, but a small reduction in this area is better than having potential customers dismiss your site and head to your competitors instead. Awareness is about making your business stand out as the best option, and free shipping and returns are a tried-and-tested means of achieving this.
6) The Power Of Social Sharing
Luring potential leads into the sales funnel at the awareness stage can be achieved through social sharing. It stands to reason that the more people who see your products on social media, the bigger pool you have for conversions. Social sharing can work through marketing, obviously, but eCommerce sites have another option for building awareness.
Having social sharing buttons on your checkout confirmation page means that customers who have already converted and made a purchase can share the fact that they’ve bought from you. The benefits of this are twofold: it increases your reach; and it increases trust level. People are hugely swayed by their friends’ and connections’ shopping habits. Tap into this under-used aspect of increasing conversions!
Stage 2: Consideration – Stand Out from The Competition
When your potential customers are exploring your site and are in the consideration stage of the sales funnel, your best route to conversion is to stand out from the crowd. There are a variety of ways to achieve this.
7) A Well Designed And Eye-Catching Website
Check out the design and layout of your biggest competitors’ websites – and aim to go one step better. Ecommerce is a fiercely competitive arena, and to increase your conversions in the consideration stage you have to make your website attractive and easier to use than your competitors’ sites.
Focus on easy navigation, making products prominent and putting all the information your potential customers need within a single click. The more times a user has to click to get to the information they need, the less likely they are to convert. Too many eCommerce sites suffer from low conversions because of complicated menu systems that make a rabbit warren look simple.
Visually appealing sites also increase conversions. The quality of your images can have a big impact, since around 90% of the information people process is visual. What’s more, it’s easier for people to process images than text – perhaps why infographics are so popular!!
8) Lure With Discount Sales
There are a huge number of online shoppers who absolutely refuse to pay full price for anything, ever. To maximise conversions with these types of customers, running sales is a great way to convince them to consider buying from you rather than your competitors. Make sure your discount sales are prominent and use visuals to highlight the savings.
9) Focus On Benefits Rather Than Features
One mistake many eCommerce sites make is to make a great effort to list the features of their product or service but fail to explain the benefits. When you’re so familiar with your product it’s easy to forget that the features aren’t always self-explanatory to other people. Yes, it’s important to list the features, especially if you have similar products to your competitors, as it’s a way of highlighting how your product is better. You must also, however, take the time to explain to your potential customers how they will benefit from your product or service – how it will help them or what it can achieve for them, and so on.
10) Answer Your Customers’ Questions Before They Have To Ask
A key part of conversion in the consideration stage of the sales funnel is making it easy for your potential customers to see the benefits of buying from you. When you make the process easy for them, you increase the likelihood of conversion. With this in mind, your FAQ section should answer all the questions your targets might have – before they have to contact you to ask. Removing unnecessary hurdles by providing the answers in a clearly defined section is good for business.
As well as answering all the crucial questions your potential customers might ask, make your FAQ section stand out. FAQs can often look boring and tedious – so make sure not to fall into that trap. Use visuals, calls to action and perhaps even think about a chatbot to make the experience more interactive.
11) Guest Shopping
Maximising conversions often means removing all possible obstacles that might get in the way of a customer making a purchase. For busy people, having to stop to fill in a registration form or create a user account can be off-putting. Offering a guest checkout option removes the risk of losing a potential customer because of form-filling.
12) Site And Data Security
In an age where there are regular stories in the news about customer data being stolen as well as credit card fraud, customers are increasingly concerned about site security. The best way to reassure your potential customers that your site is secure, and their data safe is (as well as SSL security) to display trust badges on your site. Place these on your checkout page so that customers know that your data connection in transmitting their credit card details is encrypted.
Stage 3: Evaluation: Cultivate the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) concept has psychological origins, and it’s hugely powerful for eCommerce businesses looking to increase conversions. There are a number of ways to cultivate FOMO to your advantage.
13) Create A Sense Of Urgency
As psychological techniques go, this one has been around in sales circles for a long time. Urgency motivates people in myriad ways, playing on that deep-seated fear of missing out on a good deal. Some examples of ways that you can build urgency to increase sales include (but aren’t limited to):
- Create a sense of scarcity by indicating that a product is running out/almost sold out.
- Use phrases like ‘hurry’, ‘only 3 left in stock’, ‘end of line, buy before it’s gone’.
- Countdown offers where discount amounts reduce on an hourly or daily basis – so you have to act fast in order to get the biggest deal. Amazon’s Kindle on Demand Publishing platform uses this excellently.
- Limited editions of popular products can work on a psychological level with people who want something that’s rare or exclusive.
- Seasonal ranges that are strictly limited can build sales at various times throughout the year.
One company who has maximised the effects of FOMO is DFS, who are STILL using the ‘offers end Monday’ approach (which they’ve been using for as long as I can remember – at least 30 years!!).
14) Reviews Pack A Punch
Whilst reviews may seem as if they’re more about trust building than cultivating FOMO, it’s surprising how reviews can work on the same principle as other FOMO techniques. Reviews not only show that people have had a positive experience with your product, but they cause people to have that niggling sense of missing out if they don’t make a purchase. It’s that age-old ‘Keeping Up with the Joneses’ principle in action. If Alison sees a review that shows that Mary has the new updated blender (or basically any other product in creation) and is delighted with it, then Alison is going to want one too.
Obviously, reviews have a dual purpose in that they inspire trust and confidence in your product or service, another important factor in conversions.
15) Exploit The Power Of Social Proof
Social proof – harnessing social media – is an excellent FOMO technique that can boost conversions considerably. As well as sharing products they’ve bought on social media at the checkout stage, if you encourage your customers to post photographs on social media of themselves using your product or displaying it in some way, you’ll see excellent returns. You could incentivise the process by offering a kind of affiliate programme for people who do this.
This technique exploits FOMO to its full advantage and can impact all stages of the sales funnel – but is especially effective in the evaluation stage where social proof can sway a potential customer torn between your product and that of your competitors.
There are plenty of tips and tricks that can help you increase conversions that we haven’t had space to cover in detail here. There are just too many to do them justice in a single post. Other options that you might want to think about include:
- Mobile optimisation
- Using video media
- Pricing strategy
- Abandoned cart reminders
- Visitor retargeting.
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