In the world we live in, results mean everything and results drive us. We want our food prepared faster, we want our goods delivered the same day, we check Yelp reviews before we pick out a restaurant, and we often get impatient when websites take longer than five seconds to load. The same is said for those who want to increase the number of sales. There are no shortcuts, and you need to be patient and iterative.
Luckily, there are a few ways you can optimize your website and processes to generate more sales almost immediately.
So, how do you achieve this status?
1. Implementing a Simple UX/UI
Keep your website simple and beautiful. Beautiful does not mean it’s full of extra features. Beautiful design means an effective design that does not confuse your potential customers. One way to do that is by hiring a good UI/UX agency, an agency that focuses more on the user experience part designing a website, which guides the user to the action you want them to take.
Contrary to belief, offering too many products will also confuse customers and drive them away. Entrepreneur, mentions that offering fewer products with a complete description of those products always leads to higher sales. This allows companies to focus on specific products and answer all the questions regarding those products. You don’t have to stop selling other products but instead, sell them on other pages or as follow up offers.
One great example of a simple, yet beautiful design is from Apple. Though Apple has many products to sell, you will only see the featured products on their homepage. Also, note the simple menu that leads the visitors to other pages for their other products.
2. Website Loading Time
Websites naturally have different loading speeds. A website that loads instantly will undoubtedly gain more traction from users. But if your website snails like a steam engine to open a simple page, then it’s a turn-off to your customers. Customers will move on to other sites offering similar products as yours. Remember, ‘a service delayed is a service lost.’
Use websites such as PageInsights, a free tool provided by Google to help you check the speed of your website on a desktop or on a mobile device. Check out an example from PageInsights analysis of Brahmin Solutions and some optimization suggestions.
3. Instill Urgency
Your content should instill a sense of urgency in your visitors. Urgency further compels the visitor to take action. Following are a few ways you can create a sense of urgency:
Offer a limited period price discount; this pushes the visitor to make a decision before time runs out
Offer additional bonuses for free if visitors buy within a particular time frame.
Offer only a limited quantity of products
These are a few effective ways to make the reader take action. Try testing them for your website and select the most efficient ones or all.
Check out an example from Amazon, which uses alerts to show that there are only 2 left in stock and if you place your order within a particular time frame you can get it by a specific date. This message becomes more compelling as visitors are closer to the deadline.
4. Build Trust with Testimonials and Case Studies
One of the easiest ways to make a sale is to convince your visitors that you have done this before and that you have done it well. This convincing will come in the form of industry awards, customer testimonials, and case studies.
The number of buyers who read and trust online reviews is on the rise and as result, it is very important for new businesses to use this as a way to establish themselves quickly as a trusted brand. According to a survey by BrightLocal, 85 percent of the buyers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation – which is incredible, considering online reviews are by strangers you have never met.
In order to effectively display your testimonials, put them on your product pages, landing pages, pricing page, even your home page. Take a look at an example below from Help Scout, where they show testimonials right on the homepage to establish trust.
5. Incorporate Upselling
“Your contract is set to expire by the end of the month. Would you be interested in the possible upgrades?”
We have all heard this question from our car lease dealer or our cell phone carrier. It is an example of upselling, which is the seller trying to convince you to buy a more expensive item, upgrade or other add-ons to make a more profitable sale.
Upselling really works! According to Shopify, upselling is 20 times more effective than cross-selling online. Customers might not know there are better products out there or they might be convinced that a different product better fits their needs.
Before you upsell:
Make sure you are upselling a similar product
The newer product must be better than the original because there will be a price hike
Here is an example from JCew, where visitors are shown “Shop The Look” options as they are looking to purchase some dress pants, which is essentially telling the buyer to buy additional add-ons to get the complete outfit.
6. Install a Live Chat
It is almost necessary for this day and age to have a live chat on your website. Live chats are more effective than emails, contact forms or phone calls because they generate an immediate response.
American Marketing Association study shows that live chat can increase conversions by at least 20 percent and customers are three times more likely to make purchases on websites with live chats versus those who don’t.
A great example of live chat done well comes from Intercom. They not only provide a great chat service, they use it extremely well by sending you targeted notifications when you perform certain actions on their website.
7. Implement Call-To-Action
More conversions will lead to more sales, it’s important to optimize where that conversion takes place: Your calls-to-action.
A call-to-action (CTA) is the part of the page that hooks the reader into taking an action. So without that hook, you will not be getting subscribers, orders or attendees to your live events. Your call to action is the key to increasing conversions.
So what is the key to a good CTA? It is personalization. It’s important that you understand what the target audience wants and where they are in their journey.
In a study of over 93,000 CTAs, HubSpot found that tailoring the CTA text based on whether users are visitors, leads, or paying customers increased their conversion rates. This approach led HubSpot to convert 42-percent more visitors into leads. This is a very BIG increase in conversion.
Here is an example from everyone favorite streaming website, Netflix. Netflix uses persuasive text to guide you to their free trial. They make sure to write it in all caps about how easy it is to watch this service and cancel if you are not satisfied.
8. Loyalty / Rewards Programs
It costs much more to acquire a new customer than to sell to the one you have already sold to in the past. It is important that your customers keep coming back. Also, repeat customers spend 67% more than new customers. So starting a loyalty program is a great way to motivate customers to spend more or make repeat purchases so they can earn reward points.
There are a few common rewards programs companies use:
PointsSystem – Based on a basic principle: spend more to get more.
TierSystem – More loyal your customers are more rewards they get.
Value-Based program – Loyalty program structured based on your customer’s values. Ex. Every time a customer spends $10, you donate a portion to a charity or a cause.
Coalition Program – Partnering up with other businesses and giving your customers more opportunities to spend their rewards.
Game Program – Creating a rewards program based on a game.
Paid Program – Customers pay a monthly or annual fee to join your VIP member club which has certain perks.
Take a look at this paid program example from Barnes&Nobel, their VIP program costs you $25 a year, and it offers discounts, free shipping, and other benefits that are very valuable to repeat customers.
9. Perform A/B Testing
No business is the same, which means your customers are unique and their needs are unique so what works for some businesses doesn’t necessarily work for yours. So how do you test what works and what doesn’t?
Use A/B testing, which is a way of comparing two versions of a single variable, usually by testing the user’s response to version A against version B. Here are a few tests you can perform across your website right now:
Changing up your text in your call to action buttons.
Testing different headlines in your landing pages.
Replacing stock images with more candid images.
Reducing your required fields in your contact form.
There more tests than the one mentioned above. Don’t assume anything because some results might surprise you. Take a look at this example from EA where they were prepared to release the new version of SimCity. The first version had a promo banner to drive pre-orders while the second version didn’t. The test leads to some very surprising results: The variation with no offer messaging whatsoever drove 43.4% more purchases. Turns out people really just wanted to buy the game and didn’t need the incentive.
10. Personalized Re-Engagement
Have a follow-up process for every stage of the customer journey. Customers like individual attention, no one likes to feel like they are number. Customers are willing to spend more if it comes with better service. 86% of consumers will spend more if it involves a better customer experience. By 2020, customer experience is expected to become a bigger brand differentiator than the price and even the products themselves.
Here are a few ways to increase customer engagement:
Get customer feedback and allow for reviews.
Keep track of the customers special days such as birthdays, anniversaries and other special days.
Follow up with customers that are inactive to get them active again.
Engage unhappy customers immediately. Remeber it is cheaper to retain than attain.
Here is an example from Sephora which addressed the customer by name and offered a free gift at the time of online checkout or in-store checkout during the birthday month.