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Professional Tips to Improve Online Sales Conversion Ratio
How to improve the online sales conversion ratio? Any business aims to work with the highest efficiency – to produce the most from the least outlay, in turn, generating the greatest profit. Attaining streamlined, effective productivity is the holy grail of commerce, but it can remain frustratingly elusive for many firms.
Thankfully, there are now many ways you can improve your productivity. In our modern connected age, the internet affords businesses tremendous sales and marketing opportunities globally at a fraction of the cost of traditional promotions vehicles.
Where once companies looking to increase customer numbers had little choice but to engage in pricey TV, radio, newspaper, or magazine advertising, nowadays, the web can see your company engaging with a worldwide audience through a vast array of cost-effective channels – including your website, social media platforms, online advertising, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to name but a few.
Turning first contacts into sales
While most companies are aware of the importance of building a strong online profile these days, fewer could claim to know just how to transform those first inquiries into confirmed sales. If you’re amongst the multitude of firms looking for ways to improve your online sales conversion ratio, read on for some tried and tested tips.
Improve online sales conversion ratio: just being online and having a website is no longer enough
Not so long ago, many firms treated their website almost as an afterthought. In the early days of the web, there was frequently a reticence among companies who viewed having a website as an un-needed extra burden – both in terms of time and money.
However, as the web has matured over the last twenty or so years, there’s been a growing realization among company bosses that engaging positively online can greatly influence their firms’ success.
Having a website and being online is essential if you’re found by your clients (both existing and potential) – but the picture has become considerably more complex. It’s now not enough to be online – these days, you also need to promote your company and engage positively with your clients proactively.
The importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
A recent survey by Forrester found an astonishing 71% of all consumer journeys start with a web search – most often, a Google search (the engine accounts for over 92% of all online searches). The Forrester research also found a further 74% of those surveyed stated they used search engines for additional research, comparison, and eventual purchasing.
While not particularly surprising (after all, when did you last use Yellow Pages or similar directories to find a company), the Forrester findings provide compelling evidence of the importance of placing high in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) and show just how integral the internet has become in commerce.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of improving a company’s standing within search results to drive more footfall and, in turn, generate more search engine sales. SEO is a highly involved and intricate process that involves regular monitoring and detailed online promotions work to achieve the best results.
If your site is languishing further down the results pages, it stands little chance of being found by clients. A recent study found that between 71% and 92% of all traffic clicks are generated from first page results. By comparison, less than 6% come from second-page results. Bottom line, if you’re to attract traffic to your site, you need to engage in SEO to place on the first page SERPs.
Content remains King online
In 1996, Microsoft founder Bill Gates wrote a surprisingly prescient essay where he stated the now-timeless words, “Content is King.” While Gates’ musings might already be 25 years old, the words are more applicable today than ever.
In a world where there are now more web pages than people, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for firms to stand out from their competitors. However, one sure-fire way you can stand head and shoulders above your rivals is to provide quality, well-written, educational and informative content.
Much of the skills in writing engaging content are inextricably linked to the SEO work mentioned above. Google’s algorithms (and, to a degree, other search engines) are becoming incredibly smart these days. Rather than simply scanning text and content, modern search engines attempt to ‘read’ and understand content much as a human does.
If you write informed, interesting content, you will attract visitors to your site through higher placing on the SERPs – but you’ll also be far more likely to hold them on your site – and perhaps even have visitors sharing your pages.
Go beyond just your website to provide added value with a blog
Website logging (blogging) has become incredibly popular in recent years, with many solo bloggers becoming so-called ‘influencers.’ While blogs were conceived mostly as a way for individuals to post their own content online, the concept of blogging has developed considerably. Many companies now use a blog site to show their prowess indirectly and inform clients about other sides of their business that might be difficult to promote on their main pages. In most cases, firms like to stick to official-sounding, sales-oriented parlance on their main website; however, a blog can afford companies far greater freedom regarding the content they can post.
From a commercial perspective, the most successful blog posts tend to answer a question a prospective consumer might have. For example, if you run a women’s fashion shop, an article entitled, “Best end-of-lockdown dresses for summer 2021” could bring increased traffic to your site by posing – and answering – a question likely to be asked as nations emerge from COVID.
The 15-second homepage rule and the huge problem of shopping cart abandonment
Ok, so the above tips will improve traffic to your site – but what else can you do to transform visitors into customers? Opinions vary on how long a user will stay on your site (some experts suggest as little as three seconds, others 15); however, one thing is obvious – first impressions, speed, and ease-of-use count when it comes to web conversions.
In a similar way to how users leave a site if they don’t find what they’re looking for quickly, so internet analysts have found up to 70% of online shoppers abandon shopping carts without making a purchase. There are numerous reasons for cart abandonment, this in-depth guide gives expert advice and insight into the phenomenon, but it’s beyond question that confusing, convoluted, or poorly-designed shopping systems are a primary cause of shoppers leaving the buying process early.
As a rule, keep things simple – put your products front and center – use positive sales talk (without hyperbole or appearing pushy) – and make sure your site is as easy to use as possible.
Improve online sales conversion: use the vast power of social media to engage and involve your users
Love it or loathe it; there’s no denying the power of social media to reach out to users and build a following. Recent stats show around 3.5 billion of us use social sites – equating to around 45% of the population worldwide. In the US, approximately 68% of people use Facebook (globally, the platform has more than 2.3 billion users). Simultaneously, video provider YouTube also happens to double as the world’s second-most popular ‘search engine.’
Using social media can allow you to reach out directly to your customers, removing the need for them to visit your site to read new content. The major social platforms are now a vital part of a company’s online promotional arsenal. Ignore them at your peril.