How to Easily Increase Online Sales for a Small Business

Image text reads, "How To Increase Sales for Small Businesses"

 

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!

Topics Covered in This Blog Post:

 

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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.

Exposure Ninja’s very own head Ninja Tim wrote an excellent book on the subject of Search Engine Marketing and how to get to the top of Google.

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.

Book cover of How To Get To The Top of Google 2021

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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.

Ad extensions can help you make your PPC ad bigger and provide more places for potential website visitors to click.

Adding an extension to your ad doesn’t cost any extra and it allows you to be more specific in your targeting of potential customers.

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.

Generate Interest with Gmail Ads

Gmail ads allow you to reach customers in their inbox by targeting competitor keywords and ensuring that your brand receives their consideration when they are thinking about who to purchase from. The advertising copy and calls to action (CTAs) you choose are crucial to success here.

 

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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.

M & M Direct's Newsletter Pop-up screenshot

mandmdirect.com use a pop-up to increase subscribers to their newsletter

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.

Vue Cinema Checkout Screenshot

Vue Cinemas use timed urgency to encourage people to buy tickets quickly before they lose their selected seats

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.

Iceland's free delivery selling point screenshot

UK supermarket, Iceland, use Free Delivery to encourage people to do their weekly shop with them

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.

Superdrug's money back guarantee

UK high street cosmetics and drug company offer a 100% money back guarantee on their own products

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.

Real Foods Testimonial Page Screenshot

Organic shop, Real Foods, have a Trustpilot score in their header at all times but also have a dedicated Client Testimonials page

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.

SportsDirect's payment options

SportsDirect highlight all of their payment options and that they’re verified by payment processors

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.

GreenBay supermarket product page with PayPal checkout button

Online vegan supermarket, GreenBay, offer alternative payment options directly from their product pages

 

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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 UK businesses approximately £18bn in 2018. 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 that goodness.

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.

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