Whether you’re operating as a one-man band or a full orchestra, selling more seats to your next gig is a crucial way of generating income — and increasing your chances of a standing ovation. But how can small businesses easily increase their online sales, attract new customers and convert website visitors without the resources of multinational giants?
These helpful tips will help you to join the ranks of successful online entrepreneurs!
Today we’ll be covering:
- How to Reach Potential Customers Online
- How to Convert Visitors into Customers
- What if Visitors Don’t Immediately Convert?
- How To Improve Your Sales Skills
- How Can I Increase My Sales Team’s Productivity?
How Do I Reach Potential Customers Online?
Get to the Top of Google
Being ranked in the first position of Google’s search engine results pages (or SERPs) will help to put your business’ website in front of more people’s eyes.
Here’s an example of the SERPs for the search “how to clean carpets”. There’s a mixture of shopping ads, text ads and organic search results.
Different searchers will land on your website with different search intent. Some may be looking to convert right away, for example “hire a local carpet cleaner” or “buy a carpet cleaner“, where as some are still in the research stage of their journey, and may not even realise they need your product or service yet. Following the above example, they’ll be searching for things around carpet cleaning, such as, “how to clean a carpet”, “best carpet cleaner” or “how to get a dirt stain out of a carpet“.
If searchers find exactly what they need on your website, they’ll be likely to stick around for longer, signalling to Google that your website is good at answering their search term. If they searched for “how to clean a carpet“, and ended up on a page on your website selling brand new carpets, they’re going to bounce back to Google, and if this happens often enough Google will see this as a negative and drop your ranking in the SERPs.
If you are trying old tactics in an attempt to fool the algorithm, such as stuffing irrelevant keywords onto a page, you won’t get very far. Google’s algorithm uses at least 200 different signals to decide where to place your page in Google search. Useful, people driven pages are more likely to take the top spot over pages that are only made to please robots.
It’s important to take notice of the content that is already ranking for this search term. If there are a lot of product pages, then it’s likely that optimising a relevant product page for this term will give you a higher chance of ranking.
Focus on the most important search queries your target customers are searching for and make sure your website is well optimised for each of those phrases.
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Improve Your PPC Advertising Strategy
If you’re running Google Ads, you’ll not only want to rank well for your key search terms, but you’ll also need to improve your Pay Per Click (PPC) copy and ad layouts to increase clicks from the search results to your landing pages.
There are multiple ways you can improve your existing PPC campaign, or give yourself a great start for a new campaign.
Use your keyword research to influence your PPC ads. Pay close attention to the ads that are appearing at the top of the search results. Look at their headlines, copy, any extensions they are using, such as contact details or specific product pages and see if there are any USPs included in the ad.
Don’t be afraid to test different ad copy for your high value keywords. It’s better that you fail a few times in order to learn what works, than try something too safe and get mediocre results.
How to Improve Your PPC Advertising Strategy – Step-by-Step
- Identify your target audience
- Work out your business’ strengths and weaknesses compared to your competitors
- Decide which part of the sales funnel you want to target with your ads
- Set goals – what does success look like?
- Choose your platform. If you’re an impulse purchase, social media ads are the way to go. If your product or service is a more thought out purchase, then Google shopping or text ads will reach potential customers while they’re already searching for a product or service like yours.
- Analyse competitor ads.
- Test different ad creative
- Analyse and refine
Use Social Media Marketing
Facebook advertising has become one of the most cost-effective and targeted methods of reaching more customers online. In fact, one of the best ways to increase online sales is to use the data you have about your existing customers to target “lookalike audiences” that behave more like your customer base and are, therefore, more likely to convert. This will greatly expand your reach and give your highly targeted ads a better chance of performing well.
If you’re unsure how to start with your own Facebook Ads campaign, take a look at our Beginners Guide to Facebook Ads.
Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter also offer great advertising networks for reaching your target demographic (once you know which one is best for your business).
Unpaid social media marketing can also deliver a strong increase in traffic too, but unlike Paid Social Advertising, it requires continual management and a time commitment to keep it running all the time.
How Do I Convert Website Visitors into Customers?
Serve First-Time Visitors a Pop-Up Opt-In Email Offer
It is common practice for eCommerce websites to offer first-time visitors an opt-in email offer. This might be a guide, a discount on a first order or a free demo in exchange for a user’s personal information and the ability to send them emails. It’s a great way to build trust with potential customers, provide valuable information and incentivise future purchases.
Create a Sense of Urgency
Showing limited-edition products, time-sensitive special offers and low stock levels can help you create scarcity and a sense of urgency that encourages immediate purchase. It’s important to be honest and transparent in your time-sensitive messaging though; if you have thousands of a single product in stock and no applicable offer, don’t push customers into a rush purchase. Likewise, if you have a discount set to expire at midnight, make sure users can’t still nab your products at the lower price after this time.
Provide Purchase Incentives
Can you afford to offer free delivery with purchases over a certain value, or perhaps a percentage discount? Where possible, provide a purchase incentive in your marketing messages. It’s even better if it’s a time-sensitive incentive, as discussed above.
Offer a Money-Back Guarantee
Sometimes ordering online can be a bit daunting if you’re buying, say, a second-hand car or a refurbished laptop, or you’re trying out a new brand for the first time. By offering a money-back guarantee and an easy returns policy, you make buying from you a risk-free and easy decision.
Include Customer Testimonials on Key Landing Pages
When Exposure Ninja is working on a website overhaul, we always include honest customer reviews on key landing pages like the homepage, about us page, contact us page and category pages.
If you haven’t already, sign up for Trustpilot or Reviews.io. These independent review platforms plug effortlessly into your CMS (Content Management System) and allow your customers to provide genuine feedback that reinforces the integrity and authority of your brand.
Provide Trust Signals
Website security is vital and trust signals tell your potential customers that it is safe to purchase from you. If you have Norton or McAfee Secured certification, have Verified by VISA status or are VeriSign Secured, make sure that you display these logos prominently on your homepage and other key areas of your website.
If you don’t have trust signals you can shout about, consider investing in the certification schemes that would best benefit your business.
Offer a Range of Payment Options
If you don’t already offer PayPal, Google Wallet, ApplePay and WePay as payment options on your site, you could be missing out on sales from a large pool of customers who don’t want to have to constantly enter their credit card details on every new eCommerce site they visit.
It might be time to roll with the changes and invest in the functionality for these popular and secure new payment methods before you’re left behind by your competitors. Customers come to trust the systems they’re familiar with, so making sure you use the most widely known will ensure visitors don’t hesitate before completing the sale.
Check out this blog if you’re looking for even more lead generation ideas.
What if They Don’t Immediately Convert?
Simplify Your Sales Journey
Did you know that most websites leak 45-85% of their profit due to missed conversions? Ensuring that your website sales journey is as simple, easy and reassuring as possible is the best way to ensure that customers convert. If your product offering is appealing to your target audience and the price point is right, then poor usability is usually the reason for a low conversion rate. That’s why we apply the KISS — Keep It Simple, Stupid — methodology when it comes to web design.
Revisit Your Product and Pricing Strategy
You may need to address issues with your pricing and product strategy. Your pricing should reflect the value you provide, what the market is charging, the value you attribute to your brand and the revenue and market share goals you have in place.
De-Clutter Your Checkout
Abandoned baskets and incomplete shopping carts cost businesses approximately $18 billion a year, with the average cart abandonment rate across all industries being close to 70%. To put it simply, for every 10 visitors that add your products into their cart, only 3 actually purchase. Ensure that your checkout process is easy, straightforward and doesn’t cause customers to baulk at the last hurdle.
Implement Abandoned Basket Advertising
Abandoned basket emails have helped small businesses recoup hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of sales that could have been lost if it weren’t for that gentle reminder to purchase nudging their customer’s inboxes. Include a discount if the first abandon basket email doesn’t work and you’ll be sitting pretty.
Strengthen Calls to Action
In order to increase sales, you need clear and appealing calls to action (CTAs) that tell the customer exactly what they need to do and don’t overwhelm or confuse them.
Improve Your Product Imagery
Nobody ever got a sense of your brand identity from stock photographs purchased in bulk on the cheap. Ripping off Google image search results is no better, either. If you want to sell more products, invest in bespoke product photography that appeals to customers, reflects your brand and is uniquely yours — then copyright the heck out of it.
Ensure Messaging Is Consistent
Building a brand is all about consistent messaging across all verticals — your website included. Make sure that your tone is recognisably yours and that you speak with as much enthusiasm and clarity about one product or service as you do the other.
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How Can I Improve My Sales Skills?
Improving your sales skills is all about providing the right message to the right people at the right time. It’s also about being there to provide the support your customers need.
Whether you’re in online sales or traditional brick-and-mortar retailing, the need for human sales skills to handle inquiries, answer questions, follow up and assist is still the same.
Try to focus on the needs of your customer over the needs of your business, as this will enable you to truly understand what it is your customers are looking for and how you can provide it.
Remember, if you don’t take good care of your customer, a competitor will.
Top Tips for Improving Your Sales Skills:
Build Buyer Personas — To sell effectively, you need to understand what motivates, engages and delights your target audience.
Clarify Your Value Proposition — Make sure you’re clear about what makes your company stand out from the competition, then communicate this effectively to your potential customer so they can see the appeal in your offering.
Be There to Help — Those positive customer reviews and client testimonials you’ve been counting on to help with new customer conversion won’t write themselves. Provide the kind of customer service that people are going to want to write about for all the right reasons.
Follow Up — If a potential client makes an initial enquiry, sends an email with a query or attempts to book a free discovery call or consultation, make sure that you respond quickly — before their excitement about your brand begins to dwindle.
How Can I Increase My Sales Team’s Productivity?
A big part of what makes a website succeed or fail is the strength of its online sales team. Just like in a traditional sales team where operations are run over the phone or via a high street storefront, your online sales team will need proper training and support to ensure they provide the kind of exceptional service that will make you proud to have them represent your brand.
For content on how to improve your sales skills and the skills of your sales team, read through our growing library of Sales training guides and articles.