One of the biggest mistakes you can make as an entrepreneur, owner, manager or leader is to make assumptions. Never assume anything. That is a golden rule that you have got to follow up on. This is the age of the internet; and if there is one thing the internet has offered businesses it is strategies, strategies and more strategies, and the worst thing you can assume is that all these strategies are going to work. Instead, you have got to test them.
Every business is different, and every strategy offers something different, which is why you have got to test them before you commit to them to see which one is going to fit into your operations the best. What works amazingly for someone else may not work for you, but you won’t know until you test it. This goes for almost every aspect of a business, but it is especially true when it comes to online sales.
We spoke to a wide range of entrepreneurs – both those that have had successes and those that have bounced back from failures – and the common ground of what they said was this: testing what you use is the number one way to find out what works and the number one way to increase online sales.
As such, we have pulled together a list of their top tips and pieces of advice to help you choose the right online strategy for your business and increase your revenue as a result.
Go With Less Products & More Copy
Most businesses try to expand the size of their net by throwing every they have the wall and seeing what sticks, but this isn’t exactly going to work as you hoped it would. You see, having a homepage that is saturated with a load of different products or services weakens your status as a professional outfit or expert business. Instead, we recommend you drastically cut back on the amount of products/services you offer on your website and add more description about the products/services you do offer.
The reason for this is focus holds more weight and delivers that much more impact. You can’t please everyone that comes to your website, so don’t try because it will harm your efforts of selling anything. A lot of products with minimal detail is not as effective as concentrating your efforts on a single product (or a set of related products) and giving the customer all the information they could possibly want. That doesn’t mean you have to stop selling your other products, just move them onto a different web page, or sell them in a follow-up offer once you have made the sale.
Just remember, less is more. Go and try it now. Pick a product you sell, write a detailed product description and a sales pitch for it, and then stick it on your home page. Bam! Time to see how much those sales increase by.
Grab The Attention Of Any Scanners
There is a lot of information out there and not enough time to read it all and that has brought about an era of customers who just scan. Only a few customers – if any – will read every word of your copy. Instead, they will only read certain words, phrases or chunks of text. As such, you are going to need to grab their attention in other ways.
A great way to do this is to break up your web pages so they aren’t a mimic of every other web page out there. Add big, bold and professional images everywhere you can. Consumers love images, and those that use images are more likely to see sales. When it comes to your text, shake it up a bit. Use bold, italics and highlighting to emphasise the most important benefits of a product. Change up the lengths of your paragraphs. Add subheadings to emphasise key points. Use bullet points where you can. The more you vary the layout of your content the more of your copy people will read; it is simple psychology.
Fine-Tune Your Follow-Up Process
One of the best ways to maximise your sales is to utilise the power of repeat business, and the great thing about this is that it can be used alongside any other online sales strategy you implement. It doesn’t matter if you use an agency to help generate business leads or if a consumer landed on your website organically, following up a customer or with an automated email is such an effective way of generating more sales and building up your loyal customer base.
Recent studies have shown that an existing customer is thirty percent more likely to buy from a business again if they are given the chance to, so why not capitalise on this fact. Develop a relationship that benefits you both, a relationship that sees you increase your profit margins while tailoring your follow-up email offers to their purchasing habits. In terms of testing what works best for you, though, try out different waiting periods before you send out a follow-up email. Try sending one the day the make a purchase, then compare those results to sending one out three days later, and compare both of these to an end of the month email. The more you test and fine-tune the better it will be for your bottom line.
Up The Ante With A Sense Of Emergency
One of the most effective ways of increasing online sales is to give the customer a sense of urgency when they arrive on your site. This will encourage them to buy the item now or risk losing out. How you do this, however, is completely up to you. You could put your sense of urgency toward the bottom of your copy, where the call for action usually happens. You could even try having a countdown timer that indicates that the current offer/discount only stands for another day or hour. You could even urge them to buy with a ‘limited amount of stock left’ notification at the top of your copy. There are hundreds of ways in which you can instil a sense of urgency, it is just a matter of trialling them and seeing which one works best for you.