What can you do to improve sales conversions? How can you make more sales?
An Introduction To Sales Conversions
Here’s an area of online business that’s absolutely loaded with jargon.
Entire industries are devoted to over-complicating online sales, for the purpose of selling consultancy, SEO and marketing solutions. So I’m going to make it as easy to understand as possible.
The definition of sales conversions:
Easy so far, right?
Common Sense Approaches
There’s some key factors that contribute to how you perform in sales conversions, such as:
- Presentation: your ‘image’ and how you portray your business/products.
- Reputation: how others have publicly rated your business/products through reviews & feedback.
- Price: how competitive your pricing is in the current market.
Those are the obvious ones (hopefully). I’ll elaborate on these shortly.
There’s also a lot of science involved in online sales, too.
You might have heard theories, such as “everything before the fold”, which suggests that all key information on a page should be shown on-screen without forcing the user to scroll down. Another is “anywhere within 2 clicks”, meaning the user is able to navigate to any given page in 2 or less clicks.
Internet users have the world at their fingertips. They’re hard to please. With that in mind, both of those rules I appreciate, provided they’re not enforced too rigidly.
If you were so inclined, you could spend a lot of time, effort and money researching consumer psychology and improving your site. Those with thousands of daily visitors (and pounds) might benefit from gaining that extra ‘edge’. However, for many small businesses, this isn’t where their efforts should be focused.
I’m not dismissing the science. I just don’t think its the best starting point.
10 Simple Ways To Improve Your Sales Conversions
Here’s some “best practices” to help you improve your sales conversions. You probably do some of them instinctively without giving it a second thought.
1. Get Your Landing Page Right
It sounds simple. In fact, it’s so obvious that it’s overlooked.
If the user expects to find information on a particular subject, then ensure that the post immediately delves into that from the outset. If it’s a product the user expects to learn about, then you need to consider whether to show the website’s home page, a specific product listing, or an article (or video) about the product.
One strategy that a lot of web marketers take is to refer traffic to a blog post — either on or off the target website. This post is used to promote the product, highlight its advantages over competitors, and generally boast about it. This approach allows more room for a ‘sales pitch’ and eases visitors into the purchase, opposed to dropping them straight into the checkout.
2. Make Your Website Look The Part
If your website looks outdated, unattractive, off-key or unprofessional, then it doesn’t give a good account of your business. A clumsy site says you’re clumsy, and it won’t inspire confidence in potential buyers. Your site is your shopfront, remember.
You can’t expect your visitors to break down trust barriers. That’s your job. So don’t handicap your business with a poor website.
want to avoid common mistakes? Read my 10 Big Mistakes In Web Development post.
3. Check Your Spelling and Grammar
All computers and browsers have some form of spell checker.
Grammar doesn’t come natural to everyone, but you’ll be at a disadvantage if your site doesn’t read well. Poorly written materials give a negative impression, and will reduce sales. If you struggle with written content, you could create videos as a work-around.
Here’s some tips for writing great website content.
4. Use a Host That’s Fast Enough for Your Traffic
Dial-up internet is over — we expect websites to be fast nowadays. If it’s not, then we’ll look elsewhere.
Once your traffic increases, you need to ensure your hosting package accommodates your visitors. If it doesn’t, and it’s under-powered, then an upgrade is in order. This needn’t be a time-consuming job; it just requires some additional investment.
Learn about the most cost-effective WordPress hosting services.
5. Make Your Written Content Engaging
Web surfers have the world at their fingertips, so why should they choose you?
Make your website interesting, with the right tone for the target audience. Lay your content out neatly. Refrain from using too much jargon. Avoid excessive sales pitches. Be honest, transparent and clear about what you can offer the customer. To give yourself an edge, provide value for free.
Lastly, compare your written content to competitors’ — before your customers do!
6. Incorporate Professional, Attractive Images Into Your Pages
Too much written content forces the reader to labour through your pages. Why not soften it with some images?
Ok, maybe not thousand. But it certainly helps the reader to understand the context of the page with very little effort. There’s plenty of stock image companies offering superb quality free images, such as:
You can also search Google images for images “labelled for reuse”.
Always go for something modern.
I personally avoid chalk boards…
…Hands writing generic words
… and ‘business’ silhouettes
I can’t explain why. I just find those styles a bit dated and over-used.
Screenshots or photographs also help sell your product or service. This is easy enough to do in today’s age (using Paint). You can even employ freelancers, using sites such as People Per Hour, to do this for you. Alternatively, you can take (and edit) pretty good pictures using your smart phone.
If you’re selling a physical product then here’s a guide on how to create great DIY product images for free.
With the vast range of options available, it’s inexcusable to neglect images on your website.
7. Make Your Site Easy to Navigate
You don’t have to be overly imaginative. As a starting point, take a look at what your best competitors are doing and base your menus around that.
Aside from the main menus you can use “popular posts” widgets (using Jetpack in WordPress), internal links within posts, related post widgets, and call-to action buttons. The aim is to increase the exposure of you products by enticing users to browse them.
8. Provide a Good Customer Service
Picture yourself as a buyer in a physical shop. You can ask the staff questions about the products, the options available, the pricing, what’s popular.
You want to emulate that same experience online. Provide as much relevant information as possible, and allow buyers to reach out to you.
For more on customer service, read my online marketing philosophy.
9. Ensure Customers Feel Comfortable Buying From You
Customers need to feel comfortable browsing and buying from your website. There’s more than one way to help achieve that.
You should install SSL encryption on your site. This means the padlock displays in the browser bar, showing that you’re “secure” and safe to browse. Along with SSL is the ability to accept payments — so while you’re at it, offer a variety of payment methods to suit the majority of customers.
Before you sell anything online, educate yourself about the best shopping cart website plugins.
Then there’s reviews. I don’t just mean positive reviews that you show. I mean external websites reviewing your products and recommending them. You need customers to say good things outside of your site. So your outreach is important.
10. Highlight a Value Proposition
Buying online means you can shop around and compare prices. It’s so quick and easy to do so. Crucially, what value proposition do you offer the customer?
You have to structure your sales in a way that’s attractive. Offer discounts, promotions, or reward customers based on how much they buy. Or you could show how your prices outdo your direct competitors, and make that your focal point.
Whatever you do, consider what advantage the customer has in buying from you — then use it to your advantage.
If Nothing Seems To Help Improve Your Sales Conversions…
It might be time to revisit your marketing once more.
Refer to the links listed throughout this post as a guideline, but try to come up with a unique plan of your own, catered to your business. I’ve demonstrated how you can formulate new ideas for a sales strategy in my post: How To Criticise Your Business To Identify Improvements.
You might also have to change direction, and adapt your business to appease its potential customers.