I’ve worked with all kinds of companies — major retail, SaaS, service businesses, and more — and I’ve learned a few things about how to increase online sales fast.
You need an effective strategy that evolves over time as your business and your customers change.
Growth is not always consistent. Even if consumers are spending more money online, they’re not necessarily spending more money with your business. Even an industry giant like Target sees huge peaks and valleys.
If you want more peaks than valleys, you have to pay attention to research and data. You also have to focus on the needs of your customers over the needs of your business.
That’s why I give away tons of free content. It’s not because I have nothing else to do with my time. I give away content to establish my brand, spread brand awareness, gain trust, and build relationships with potential customers.
Plus, I’m encouraging reciprocity. If I’m generous with my time and knowledge, customers often become generous with their cash. They want me to help them achieve the same results I’ve gotten from my strategies.
" Seth Godin, famously said, Selling to people who actually want to hear from you is more effective than interrupting strangers who don’t. "
When I give away free content, I’m connecting with people who really want to hear what I’m saying.
You can do the same with your own content. It’s just one way to get more online sales fast. I’ve also gathered a list of other techniques you can try.
If you don’t believe that trust matters in business, consider the number of companies that have experienced huge financial losses subsequent to data breaches.
CSO contributor Michelle Drolet notes, “Breaches will happen, but how you act to mitigate them has a very real impact on the bottom line.” If you can rebuild trust after it’s broken, you won’t suffer the same financial loss.
The same goes for any breach of trust. When you break promises to your customers, provide false information, or fail to publish credible content, you lose trust.
How do you build trust? There are a few best practices to follow.
- Keep your word: Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
- Post trust badges: Use SSL certificate badges and similar signs of trust.
- Remain transparent: Provide insights into your company’s inner workings.
- Respond to customers: Answer help requests and customer support questions.
- Admit mistakes: Don’t try to cover things up. Tell people how you’ll fix it.
- Publish case studies: Show how you’ve achieved great things.
- Cite sources in content: Give credit where it’s due.
Focus on these best practices to forge trust between you and your customers. You might see your revenue climb as a result.
Focus on your target audience
Figuring out how to make more sales online requires understanding exactly what your target market needs and wants.
Have you created a buyer persona yet? If not, it’s time to start. A buyer persona identifies a target consumer based on demographics, income, likes, dislikes, and other personal details.
" Don't find customers for your product. Find the product for your customers." - Seth Godin
The more information you include in a buyer persona, the better because you can target your audience more accurately. For instance, if you know that your target customer is a single mother with between one and three children, you can speak directly to her through marketing and advertising.
The content begins to feel more personal.
Let’s say that you sell cooking utensils. A single mom might have many pain points in the kitchen, such as a lack of room for storage. If you have smaller tools built for smaller kitchens, or combination tools that take up less space, you could easily market to that buyer persona.
Incorporate product videos
Product photos are great, especially if they’re professionally shot. However, product videos can encourage customers to put even more merchandise in their virtual baskets.
You don’t have to create a video for every product you sell. You could focus on one or two bestsellers.
Additionally, depending on whether you’re a product- or service-oriented business, you could create explainer, demo, how-to, or testimonial videos.
According to Switch Video, you shouldn’t just confine your videos to your website or YouTube.
In fact, incorporating video in emails can drive click-through rates up by as much as 300 percent, and 70 percent of marketers who responded to one survey cited video as the number-one factor attributed to increased conversions.
You don’t need movie-production-quality equipment. In fact, you can create a product video using nothing more than a white sheet as a backdrop and your smartphone’s camera.
However, if you want better quality, you can find a local studio in which to record. You can also find video editors on sites like Fiverr who can perfect your video at a low price.
Deploy live chat
Live chat allows your customers to converse directly with you or a chatbot. Either way, they can ask pressing questions about your products or services and get answers in real-time.
Most live chat boxes look just like the instant messenger interfaces of old. They allow back-and-forth conversations, but between brands and consumers rather than friends.
When it comes to customer preference, live chat leads the field. A J.D. Power survey revealed that consumers overwhelmingly prefer to live chat over email and social media communication.
According to a study by FurstPerson, nearly 80 percent of customers won’t buy products from a company online if the brand doesn’t have live chat.
If you offer live chat with trained professionals behind the screens, your business can nurture customers as if they were talking over the phone. Each interaction becomes an opportunity to convert the customer.
Offer a guarantee
Satisfaction guaranteed — it’s not just a power ballad. Many online businesses use guarantees to help generate more sales.
Land’s End, a major online retailer, names its satisfaction guarantee as one of its core values. That’s how important the guarantee is to how the company does business.
There’s a reason for this.
When you guarantee your product or service, you eliminate at least part of the risk in purchasing the item. Your customer doesn’t have to worry about common objections, such as whether or not they’ll like it or if it will hold up.
However, it goes further than.
First, a guarantee sends the strong message that you stand behind your product or service. You’re willing to guarantee it because you believe in its efficacy.
Second, customers often don’t return products even if they’re dissatisfied. It takes time and effort to box up a product, buy a shipping label, arrange for the return, and check the Visa bill for the chargeback.
Even if someone does return the product, you’ve created goodwill. And besides, nearly 70 percent of consumers won’t buy a product before looking at the returns page. If you have a guarantee, you’ll generate immediate trust.
Improve your website’s user experience
The way a potential customer understands and navigates your website can be influenced by many aspects like page layout, mobile responsiveness, and form design.
If you can’t afford a good UX developer, you can improve your website’s user experience on your own.
Start by running heat maps and scroll maps through Kitecommerce. They’ll identify the parts of your website where people are most likely to engage.
You can make decisions about call-to-action placement, content length, sidebar inclusion, and navigation placement, among many other things. When you understand how people interpret and interact with your site, you can make more informed decisions.
" Your Business Deserves to Fly!! "
Remove friction-creating elements on checkout pages
When a customer gets to the checkout page, you don’t want anything to get in his or her way. If the customer gets distracted, irritated, or confused, you might lose a sale.
For instance, many sites force you to create an account before you can purchase a product. For an e-commerce store, this might result in cart abandonment.
Writing for Shopify, Paul Boag succinctly states that:
Users didn’t come to your site to create an account. They came to buy something.”
He suggests picking a better time to suggest creating an account, using Module as an example.
Wait until after the sale, then invite the customer to create an account.
Other elements of friction can include navigation menus, sidebars, and extraneous calls to action.
If you require too many form fields, your customers might click away because they simply don’t have time to fill out every one of them. According to the e-commerce research giant Baymard Institute, the average form-field total for checkout pages, which is two times more than necessary.
"Christian Holst says, “a fully optimized checkout flow can be as short as 7 form fields."
Streamline your checkout pages to reduce friction and distraction. If the page works without a particular element, remove it so the user stays focused on buying what he or she wants.
Nurture your email list with unique content
Marketers often stuff their emails full of advertising-type content, links to blog posts, and information about upcoming sales. That’s all fine and good, but adding unique content and value to your email marketing strategy might be better.
I recently received a marketing email from The Mission. It included a section with entirely new content that many subscribers would find valuable.
Consider writing unique content for your email marketing campaign instead of regurgitating old content. You can mix it up, but if you occasionally share something that’s meant only for your subscribers, you might drum up more sales.