Archives September 2019

How to Increase Online Sales Fast this October (Guide)

In just the final quarter of 2018, consumers spent nearly $100 billion dollars in the retail e-commerce market alone. No wonder you want to learn how to increase online sales.

You want a chunk of that $100 billion pie.

U.S. e-commerce sales aren’t stagnant, either. They continue to grow year over year.

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Writing for Digital Commerce 360 about U.S. e-commerce retail growth, director of research and consumer insights Stefany Zaroban reveals that “e-commerce represented roughly 49.4% of all retail sales growth in 2017 (versus 41.6% in 2016).” 

Clearly, there are customers who want to spend money online. So, how do you increase online sales for your own business?

How to Increase Online Sales Fast – The Best Ways

I’ve worked with all kinds of companies — major retail, SaaS, service businesses, and more — and I’ve learned a few things about how to increase online sales fast.

You need an effective strategy that evolves over time as your business and your customers change.

Growth is not always consistent. Even if consumers are spending more money online, they’re not necessarily spending more money with your business. Even an industry giant like Target sees huge peaks and valleys.

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If you want more peaks than valleys, you have to pay attention to research and data. You also have to focus on the needs of your customers over the needs of your business.

That’s why I give away tons of free content. It’s not because I have nothing else to do with my time. I give away content to establish my brand, spread brand awareness, gain trust, and build relationships with potential customers.

Plus, I’m encouraging reciprocity. If I’m generous with my time and knowledge, customers often become generous with their cash. They want me to help them achieve the same results I’ve gotten from my strategies.

Seth Godin, a remarkable contributor to marketing worldwide, famously said, “Selling to people who actually want to hear from you is more effective than interrupting strangers who don’t.”

When I give away free content, I’m connecting with people who really want to hear what I’m saying.

You can do the same with your own content. It’s just one way to get more online sales fast. I’ve also gathered a list of other techniques you can try.

Reap trust

If you don’t believe that trust matters in business, consider the number of companies that have experienced huge financial losses subsequent to data breaches. The average data breach costs a company about $3.6 million.

CSO contributor Michelle Drolet notes, “Breaches will happen, but how you act to mitigate them has a very real impact on the bottom line.” If you can rebuild trust after it’s broken, you won’t suffer the same financial loss.

The same goes for any breach of trust. When you break promises to your customers, provide false information, or fail to publish credible content, you lose trust.

How do you build trust? There are a few best practices to follow.

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  • Keep your word: Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
  • Post trust badges: Use SSL certificate badges and similar signs of trust.
  • Remain transparent: Provide insights into your company’s inner workings.
  • Respond to customers: Answer help requests and customer support questions.
  • Admit mistakes: Don’t try to cover things up. Tell people how you’ll fix it.
  • Publish case studies: Show how you’ve achieved great things.
  • Cite sources in content: Give credit where it’s due.

Focus on these best practices to forge trust between you and your customers. You might see your revenue climb as a result.

Focus on your target audience

Figuring out how to make more sales online requires understanding exactly what your target market needs and wants.

Have you created a buyer persona yet? If not, it’s time to start. A buyer persona identifies a target consumer based on demographics, income, likes, dislikes, and other personal details.

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The more information you include in a buyer persona, the better, because you can target your audience more accurately. For instance, if you know that your target customer is a single mother with between one and three children, you can speak directly to her through marketing and advertising.

The content begins to feel more personal.

Let’s say that you sell cooking utensils. A single mom might have many pain points in the kitchen, such as a lack of room for storage. If you have smaller tools built for smaller kitchens, or combination tools that take up less space, you could easily market to that buyer persona.

Incorporate product videos

Product photos are great, especially if they’re professionally shot. However, product videos can encourage customers to put even more merchandise in their virtual baskets.

According to one case study, incorporating product videos increased the likelihood of a purchase by 144 percent. The company, Stacksandstacks.com, reveals that it’s close to a 10-to-1 ROI.

You don’t have to create a video for every product you sell. You could focus on your one or two bestsellers.

Additionally, depending on whether you’re a product- or service-oriented business, you could create explainer, demo, how-to, or testimonial videos.

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According to Switch Video, you shouldn’t just confine your videos to your website or YouTube.

In fact, incorporating video in emails can drive click-through rates up by as much as 300 percent, and 70 percent of marketers who responded to one survey cited video as the number-one factor attributed to increased conversions.

You don’t need movie-production-quality equipment. In fact, you can create a product video using nothing more than a white sheet as a backdrop and your smartphone’s camera.

However, if you want better quality, you can find a local studio in which to record. You can also find video editors on sites like Fiverr who can perfect your video at a low price.

Deploy live chat

Live chat allows your customers to converse directly with you or a chat bot. Either way, they can ask pressing questions about your products or services and get answers in real time.

Most live chat boxes look just like the instant messenger interfaces of old. They allow back-and-forth conversations, but between brands and consumers rather than friends.

When it comes to customer preference, live chat leads the field. A J.D. Power survey revealed that consumers overwhelmingly prefer live chat over email and social media communication.

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According to a study by FurstPerson, nearly 80 percent of customers won’t buy products from a company online if the brand doesn’t have live chat.

If you offer live chat with trained professionals behind the screens, your business can nurture customers as if they were talking over the phone. Each interaction becomes an opportunity to convert the customer.

Offer a guarantee

Satisfaction guaranteed — it’s not just a power ballad. Many online businesses use guarantees to help generate more sales.

Land’s End, a major online retailer, names its satisfaction guarantee as one of its core values. That’s how important the guarantee is to how the company does business.

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There’s a reason for this.

When you guarantee your product or service, you eliminate at least part of the risk in purchasing the item. Your customer doesn’t have to worry about common objections, such as whether or not they’ll like it or if it will hold up.

However, it goes further than than.

First, a guarantee sends the strong message that you stand behind your product or service. You’re willing to guarantee it because you believe in its efficacy.

Second, customers often don’t return products even if they’re dissatisfied. It takes time and effort to box up a product, buy a shipping label, arrange for the return, and check the Visa bill for the chargeback.

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Even if someone does return the product, you’ve created goodwill. And besides, nearly 70 percent of consumers won’t buy a product before looking at the returns page. If you have a guarantee, you’ll generate immediate trust.

In the video below, I share three insider tips to help you offer a money-back guarantee without having to process tons of returns.

Improve your website’s user experience

The way a potential customer understands and navigates your website can be influenced by many aspects like page layout, mobile responsiveness, and form design.

If you can’t afford a good UX developer, you can improve your website’s user experience on your own.

Start by running heat maps and scroll maps through Crazy Egg. They’ll identify the parts of your website where people are most likely to engage.

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You can make decisions about call-to-action placement, content length, sidebar inclusion, and navigation placement, among many other things. When you understand how people interpret and interact with your site, you can make more informed decisions.

Start using Crazy Egg tools!

Remove friction-creating elements on checkout pages

When a customer gets to the checkout page, you don’t want anything to get in his or her way. If the customer gets distracted, irritated, or confused, you might lose a sale.

For instance, many sites force you to create an account before you can purchase a product. For an e-commerce store, this might result in cart abandonment.

Writing for Shopify, Paul Boag succinctly states that:

“Users didn’t come to your site to create an account. They came to buy something.”

He suggests picking a better time to suggest creating an account, using Module as an example.

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Wait until after the sale, then invite the customer to create an account.

Other elements of friction can include navigation menus, sidebars, and extraneous calls to action.

If you require too many form fields, your customers might click away because they simply don’t have time to fill out every one of them. According to e-commerce research giant Baymard Institute, the average form-field total for checkout pages is 14.88, which is two times more than necessary.

Author Christian Holst says, “a fully optimized checkout flow can be as short as 7 form fields.” See if you can’t eliminate a few fields on your checkout form.

Streamline your checkout pages to reduce friction and distraction. If the page works without a particular element, remove it so the user stays focused on buying what he or she wants.

Nurture your email list with unique content

Marketers often stuff their emails full of advertising-type content, links to blog posts, and information about upcoming sales. That’s all fine and good, but adding unique content and value to your email marketing strategy might be better.

I recently received a marketing email from The Mission. It included a section with entirely new content that many subscribers would find valuable.

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There’s a link to a longer article on the topic, but the content here is almost entirely original. It stands alone as valuable information.

Consider writing unique content for your email marketing campaign instead of regurgitating old content. You can mix it up, but if you occasionally share something that’s meant only for your subscribers, you might drum up more sales.

Educational content isn’t the only way to provide value. According to the most recent research I could find, about 23 percent of consumers subscribe to email newsletters so they can get deals.

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Don’t be stingy with discounts, free trials, coupon codes, and offers of free shipping. Even if you only offer them once a month, you’ll likely see an uptick in sales.

Respond to your followers on all channels

Engagement is one of the most important metrics to track when it comes to online marketing. Your engagement is the amount of interaction you get from your subscribers, followers, and fans.

Examples of engagement could include the following:

  • Facebook likes
  • Retweets
  • Blog comments
  • Responses to social media posts
  • Email replies
  • Answers to polls and surveys

It’s easy to track engagement on social media channels. Facebook Insights, for instance, will let you track engagement by post.

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While tracking your followers’ engagement with you matters, so does your engagement with others. How often do you comment on blogs in your industry? When people leave comments on your Facebook posts, do you respond?

Simply answering, “Thanks, glad you enjoyed it,” to a comment that praises your latest blog post can spawn conversions. People know you appreciate them, so they become fans. Eventually, they might become customers.

Referring to a Salesforce report, Jon Suarez-Davis writes in AdWeek:

“Nearly 80 percent of consumers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services”

If you provide a positive experience, you’ll boost the online sales.

Try Crazy Egg Testing Tools to Increase Your Online Sales

I know that you’d love to learn how to increase online sales overnight, but although you can hasten the process with some of these tips, you also have to look at the long-haul view. When you collect accurate data, you can make better decisions for your business’s future.

With Crazy Egg, you can analyze many aspects of your website, including UX. Heat maps, for instance, will tell you where a customer clicked on a link, such as a CTA. You’ll also see where visitors stopped scrolling.

Using this information, you can deduce the reasoning behind specific visitor behaviors. If most users only scroll down half the page, maybe they’re bored by the content, or perhaps they prefer shorter content.

Once you’ve come to conclusions about user behavior, conduct A/B tests. Create two versions of a landing page, for instance, and change one element. It might be the positioning or the content of the CTA.

When the A/B test is finished, set up another test. You’re testing just one variable at a time so you can perfect every aspect of the page.

Conclusion

Figuring out how to increase online sales is simply a matter of getting to know your audience and building rapport with them. If you have a great product or service and you provide commendable customer service, you can boost your sales.

I’ve provided you with several great techniques with which to grow your sales.

Create and post product videos, use live chat, offer a guarantee, and make sure your website’s user experience is as smooth and frictionless as possible.

It also helps to nurture your email list by providing unique incentives. Test popups to see how they impact your conversion levels, and respond to your followers any time they reach out to you.

Most importantly, collect and analyze as much data as possible.

Create heatmaps, scroll maps, and confetti maps with Crazy Egg. Figure out how website visitors behave on your site so you know where to put the most important information, such as calls to action.

After you’ve run your tests and compiled the data, make changes based on what you’ve learned. You can then create two versions of each page and A/B test their elements one by one. A/B testing only works when you have data to back up your decisions in the first place.

If you’re consistent with these techniques, you can increase online sales consistently.

A Quick Guide to Developing a Social Media Strategy

The internet has opened up multiple opportunities for business to reach millions of potential followers to buy/use their specific product or service. Social Media has changed the way we interact, with it not only being a great way to keep in touch with friends and family but to view and purchase a multitude of different things. If you are a small business that cannot afford a full social media team, then here are a few quick steps to get you effectively sharing content that will keep your users engaged and ultimately grow your brand.

Define Your Goals

It doesn’t matter what type of business you are – Builder, Dentists, Restaurant Owner or a small eCommerce store – you need to have defined achievable goals that reflect your brand. If you are a new business, increasing brand awareness and attracting new customers may be in your 0-3 month checklist. For those more established brands, generating X amount of sales per week through ads generated on social platforms converting through highly targeted landing pages may be the specific goal. Whatever it is for your channel, make sure you determine the right one. Do your research and figure out how you should be promoting your brand along each stage of the sales funnel

Do Your Research

There are so many aspects here that will help you strategise appropriately for each channel;

  1. Who are your competitors?
  2. What channels are they using?
  3. What messaging is interacting well with their audience?
  4. Demographics of your audience – age, income, gender, interests, hobbies.
  5. Geographics of your audience – location, state, country. 
  6. Your audience’s pain points/goals
  7. Why your target audience would desire your services/goods in order to solve their problem.

Select Appropriate Channels

There is no point setting goals, creating amazing content and then posting it to the wrong channel. Figure out where your ideal audience is spending most of its time instead of posting across the main platforms just because of their popularity. For example, although you may favour Facebook over Instagram, your audience may spend an extra 4 hours on Instagram a week. Try specialising in your most active platform, build, nurture and sustain your online community before testing and wasting your time on another one that your community may not even be on. 

Understand Your Audience

This step is crucial! If you are sending the wrong message to your audience, then this can cause people to unfollow and lose complete trust in your brand. Have you created your audience personas – their demographics, wants, needs and pain points? You need to get into their head to figure out why they want your product or service and focus your messaging around that. If you have figured out your audience and are targeting them the right way, expand on their pain points by getting them to interact with specific brand/consumer surveys. This will help guide you on how to improve your product and service.

Define Your Brand

Following your brand guidelines could never be more important. Have you ever spent time trying to find a brand on one social platform but they have changed their name or tag line? This can be extremely frustrating for those that are at the purchasing stage of the funnel and are wanting to instantly buy something – but cannot actually find you. Keeping your colours, tone, voice and brand consistent across all your channels is a must. Your followers will engage, trust and be loyal to you. Take Nike and McDonalds for an example – their branding is extremely recognisable and not much has changed over the many years of being in the market. People understand who they are, what they do and their logo can be instantly recognised. Once you have established a strong and recognisable brand, then your audience is more likely to feel comfortable with you, that you are providing a great reliable and consistent product or service. 

Never Stop Learning

By understanding all of the above steps, you will determine what is the best way to reach, engage and convert your target consumers. Although all this research will see you through the short term, never stop researching and following your users around to see how, what, when and why they are purchasing. Set quarterly goals to revisit your strategy to see if it’s still relevant and timely. If you need to change a few things up, then go for it. Don’t be afraid to try new things, but just make sure you are watching the reactions of those you are testing on. If they are not engaging, try something different and if they are, see how deep or far you can take it – you may have opened up a window of opportunity that you never thought possible. 

Content: digitaldoughnut.com

7 Reasons why social media will boost your business and increase sales

Social media is quickly becoming one of the most important aspects of digital marketing, which provides incredible benefits that help reach millions of customers worldwide. And if you are not applying this profitable source, you are missing out an incredible marketing opportunity, as it makes it easy to spread the word about your product and mission.

Improved brand awareness

Social media is one of the most stress-free and profitable digital marketing platforms that can be used to increase your business visibility. To get started, create social media profiles for your business and start networking with others. By applying a social media strategy, it will help you significantly increase your brand recognition. By spending only a few hours per week, over 91% marketers claimed that their social marketing efforts greatly increased their brand visibility and heightened user experience. Undoubtedly, having a social media page for your brand will benefit your business and with a regular use, it can also produce a wide audience for your business in no time.

Cost-effective

For an advertising strategy, social media marketing is possibly the most cost-effective way. Creating an account and signing up is free for almost all social networking platforms. But if you decide to use paid advertising on social media, always start small to see what you should expect. Being cost-effective is important as it helps you attain a greater return on investment and hold a bigger budget for other marketing and business payments. Just by investing a little money and time, you can significantly increase your conversion rates and ultimately get a return on investment on the money that you primarily invested.

Engage with your customers

Social media is a good way for engaging and interacting customers. The more you communicate with the audience, the more chances you have of conversion. Set up a two-way communication with your target audience so that their wishes are known and their interest is catered with ease. Moreover, communication and engagement with customers is one the ways to win their attention and convey them your brand message. Thus, your brand will reach more audience in real terms and gets itself established without any hassle.

Improved brand loyalty

When you have a social media presence, you make it easier for your customers to find you and connect with you. By connecting with your customers through social media, you are more probable to upsurge customer retention and customer loyalty. Since developing a loyal customer base is one of the main goals of almost any business. Customer satisfaction and brand loyalty typically go hand in hand. It is essential to often engage with your customers and start developing a bond with them. Social media is not just limited to introducing your product, it is also a leading platform for promotional campaigns. A customer sees these platforms as service channels where they can directly communicate with the business. 

Healthier customer satisfaction

Social media plays a vital role in networking and communication platform. With the help of these platforms, creating a voice for your company is important in improving the overall brand image. Customers appreciate the fact that when they post comments on your page, they receive a modified reply rather than a computerized message. A brand that values its customers, takes the time to compose a personal message, which is perceived naturally in a positive light.

Marketplace awareness

One of the best ways to find the needs and wants of your customers instead of directly communicating with them is Marketplace awareness. It is also considered as the most valuable advantage of social media. By observing the activities on your profile, you can see customers’ interest and opinions that you might not know otherwise if you didn’t have a social media presence. As a complementary research tool, social media can help you get information and a better understanding of your industry. Once you get a large following, you can then use additional tools to examine other demographics of your consumers.

More brand authority

For making your business more powerful, brand loyalty and customer satisfaction both play a major role, but it all comes down to communication. When customers see your company posting on social media, especially replying to their queries and posting original content, it helps them build a positive image in their minds. Regularly interacting with your customers proves that you and your business care about them. Once you get a few satisfied customers, who are vocal about their positive purchase experience, you can let the advertising be done for you by genuine customers who appreciated your product or service.

Increased traffic

One of the other benefits of Social Media is that it also helps increase your website traffic. By sharing your content on social media, you are giving users a reason to click-through to your website. On your social account, the more quality content you share, the more inbound traffic you will generate while making conversion opportunities.

Enhanced SEO rankings

Social media presence is becoming a vital factor in calculating rankings. These days, to secure a successful ranking, SEO requirements are continuously varying. Therefore, it is no longer enough to simply optimize your website and regularly update your blog. Businesses sharing their content on social media are sending out a brand signal to search engine that speaks to your brand validity, integrity, and constancy.

Final words

There is no denying that Social media marketing has many advantages for startups and established brands. By regular updating the right social media marketing strategy, it will lead to increased traffic, better SEO, improved brand loyalty, healthier customer satisfaction and much more. Your competition is already increasing on social media day by day, so don’t let your competitors take your probable customers. The earlier you start, the faster you see the growth in your business.

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