You’d be surprised to know how many of our customers call us because they are perplexed by the lack of sales on their websites. They’ve spent thousands developing flashy new websites, employing copywriters to create engaging copy for them but in the end, very few prospects press that “Buy now” button. When they come to us they are desperate to increase website conversion rate, and all I hear are pleas like these:
Help me!! I’m not making enough sales on my website! Jenny! I don’t know how to sell online!
Would I sell more online if I invested heaps in SEO?
I will never sell online because people have to touch my products. That’s why I’ve neglected my website. I just don’t know how to increase sales.
Then, it is my job to transform all that doom and gloom into good news, but before that, I drop the bomb. It’s never easy, but it needs to be done. So I usually start with the statement:
You aren’t making sales because people aren’t ready to buy.
The realisation is generally unwelcomed, but it puts things into perspective.
If someone doesn’t have interest in your product or service or they don’t have the cash to buy it right away or the agreement of another party, there’s only that much you can do to get them to buy right there and then. But you can nurture them, and over time you are likely to increase sales, and we’ll show you how in a later section.
For now, just picture this:
Does it feel like it’s time for a well-deserved holiday?
It sure does. Kids, work, mortgages and many unexpected surprises are making you exhausted! So, put your feet up and start googling “beach holidays in Australia” to browse through the kind of places that would afford you a little relaxation and will deliver all the entertainment your kids need to release their energy during the day and collapse at night (so that you can have a few good hours in that outdoor spa!).
No, you aren’t ready to book anything – at this point is just window shopping. And like most searchers on window shopping mode, you are unlikely to commit to a purchase on this first visit.
The more you look the more you clarify your selection criteria so your list of potential properties and sites becomes narrower but you can’t go any deeper into your search as you have to run your options past your partner, check suitable dates and finalise other details.
At this point you are one of the first time visitors (strangers) to a website, and you leave shortly after visiting.
- Information gathering
While time wasn’t ripe during that first initial approach, a couple of months later the stars align and you get an unexpected bonus! You and your partner agree there’s no better time than the present to take a break.
It’s time to roll up your sleeves and find that affordable paradise on earth.
‘Information gathering’ mode is now activated.
You begin by narrowing down your choice of locations to Margaret River, Byron Bay and Eco Beach and use your very helpful search engine to look for ‘Margaret River beach holidays’ or ‘Best family holidays in Margaret River’. Google delivers some interesting options that match your accommodation, prices, locations and facilities’ requirements. You bookmark some of the most appealing sites, check their social media pages out, perhaps even check availability by sending them an email and possibly join their newsletter so they’ll be fresh in your mind.
At this stage you’re figuratively pulling your favourite dresses off the shelves and walking to the changing room to give them a try. You need to make sure they fit your contour, the colour suits your skin tone and they are value for money. You are gathering all the information you need.
- Purchasing mode
This is it. You are now ready to commit and pay for your accommodation, along with some restaurants and family surfing classes.
It’s simply a matter of finding that perfect fit.
Co-incidently you receive an email in your Inbox from one of the sites you had been looking at, and the content of the email sparks your interest. You visit that site, along with a few others that you had managed to remember from your information checking phase.
You make your booking.
Catering for visitors at all stages of the buying process
Did you notice that as a buyer, you were in control all this while? Yes, the vendor might have enticed you with a number of incentives without you being aware of it, but until you were fully ready to buy precisely the type of holiday you and your family needed, you were not going to push that button.
What does this mean for an e-Commerce site?
It means that as business owners we should not expect a stranger to arrive at our website, fall in love with our products and services and magically buy them on their very first visit. It is highly unlikely.
What it means, though, is that we need to be prepared to cater for the different stages the visitor is at and try to move them from one level to the next down the pipeline to increase our likelihood of being the one that they buy from when the time is right.
Let’s have a look at each of these phases:
- Window shopping phase.
This is your chance to flirt with visitors that happen to land on your site. They know nothing about you and are somewhat ready to play the flirting game. So, how do you treat this very precious visitor?
- By spelling out the benefits of your products and services very clearly with benefits and emotive focussed copy.
- By engaging them with clear copy that clarifies what you can do for them.
- By providing clear navigation through your site.
- By offering a positive introduction of yourself and your brand.
- By providing testimonials from satisfied customers.
- By providing them with exceptional value delivered to their email, so you can start building a longer relationship with them.
- Information gathering phase.
This is all about channeling intent. That is, the visitor has returned to your site with an aim in mind and you should do everything in your power to nurture that aim and lead them towards finding more information about that specific product so that they can make an informed decision. How?
- Don’t distract the visitor with any other products. If they are looking for iPod speakers and you throw unrelated products at them, you are distracting them.
- Offer them additional information about that product and teach them why they need your product/service and how it works.
- Be helpful, think of the questions they might have, and make sure they are answered. A chat box or easy way to connect to you is a useful addition to most websites.
- A simple, short video about the product can boost the visitor’s confidence about you and your product set and be really effective in making a sale.
- Purchasing phase.
This should be where you are really allowing them to stay focussed on achieving their goal, alleviating their pain, satisfying their desire. Don’t distract them. Be careful you make your product pages really clear and easy to understand, and remove too many distractions. By this I mean:
- Don’t make your logo clickable here, or anyway to exit this page and surf your site.
- Don’t give them any navigation menu on the right, only a Purchase Now button. This is not the place to bring in extra category menus or distractions.
- Don’t give them any social media icons they can be distracted with. You don’t want them surfing over to Facebook and then chatting with their friends and forgetting to complete their purchase.
- Write a clear call to action, telling them what to do next and how. This might be a large ‘Buy it now’ button.
Be helpful at this stage, make sure you’ve done everything to build their confidence and trust in you, then move aside and let them make their decisions. Make it easy for them.
You’ve given the prospect all of the information they need to make a decision and now they need to make it. It’s your job to nudge them closer and closer to making a sale without being too pushy.
And if you feel you need to discuss this very logical but not always commonly applied method to increase website conversion rates, talk to us. Our goal is to simplify the virtual market place for you and help you increase sales online.
Ready to improve your website sales? Watch over my shoulder as I help other websites increase their sales. Free Website Conversions Videos.