Do you sell an amazing product and wish more people would buy it?
One of the most common questions I get from business owners is: “how can I increase my website visitors’ conversion rate?” They get people to visit their website, but many of them leave without buying.
Maybe you’ve had a similar challenge. Maybe, like most of us, you’d like more of your visitors to buy. After all, you’ve put a lot of work and care into creating your website and your products, and we all know (too well!) that it’s hard to do that with kids and a family who need us.
So today I’d like to share some of the ideas I’ve learned to help you get more people to buy from your website.
1) Attract the right prospects
Your conversion rate is highly affected by who visits your site.
I’m guessing you engage in some efforts to attract people to your website. Maybe you advertise, reach out to bloggers, or use social media. These efforts will result in new visitors to your website, but the first prerequisite for these visitors to also buy is for them to be a good fit for your product and your business as a whole.
If you drive traffic made up of people who would never be interested in what you sell, or how you sell it, they’ll leave.
But, on the other hand, if you drive traffic made up of people who could potentially become a good customer, then it will be a lot easier to convert them either today, or somewhere down the line.
There’s no point in getting 10 thousand or even 1 million new visitors (as great as that sounds at first) if they’re not the right fit for you. In this case, it’s not the size of the pie that matters, but its quality.
That’s why it’s so important that we all spend the time to understand who we want to have as customers, who could benefit the most from our products, and how our ideal customers think, feel and behave.
For example, let’s say you sell women’s clothing made from organic fabrics. At a bare minimum, the people who will convert the most must have an interest in environmental issues and must care about our planet (count me in!).
There’s no point in reaching out to bloggers with large audiences made of people who care about fashion at large. Within these large groups, you’re better off finding the pockets of people who are willing to pay a premium price for clothing that’s gentle on the earth. For example, you might reach out to a blogger like Alden from EcoCult.
2) Show people an emotional benefit
Let’s say you’ve attracted the right prospects. Because the internet is such a crowded place, you only have a couple of seconds to capture their attention once they get to your website.
The most efficient way to capture people’s attention is to connect with them emotionally, and specifically, to show them the emotional benefit behind using your product or service.
It’s not always easy to accomplish this, but the time you’ll spend crafting an emotional benefit is well worth the effort. In the several seconds you have at your disposal, not only do you have to explain what you sell (since this is most likely people’s first visit to your website), but you also have to strike an emotional cord.
Reformation’s tagline is a good example:
In this statement they mention what they sell (“clothes”), while also showing an emotional benefit: you can look good (“killer”) while not hurting the environment (“don’t kill the environment”).
Features and benefits won’t capture people’s attention off the bat, but emotional connection will. I wrote more about this here.
3) Eliminate any perceived risks
Now that you got people’s attention, you can improve your conversion rate by making it easy for your visitors to buy.
People decide to buy or not to buy after they evaluate the risk associated with buying.
The lower the risk a customer perceives, the higher the chance that customer will make a purchase.
So, you’ll want to eliminate the discomfort people will feel right before making a purchase.
For example, these are some questions your customer might ask herself:
“What if I’ll actually hate this handbag and I’m stuck with it after?”
“What if this website is a scam and it’ll steal my credit card info?”
“Do I really need another diaper bag?”
Here are some simple ways to reduce the risk people perceive:
A) Free returns
Free returns is very important in the online retail world. When you buy something in person you can touch it and see it more thoroughly, so it’s easier to make a decision. But online you have to rely on pictures or videos to evaluate how that product will look and feel. Not to mention that if you sell clothing or shoes, you’ll have no idea how the item will fit and look on you.
Yes, it’s an added cost for you, but if the increase in conversion rate and customer loyalty outweigh the money you spend on returns, it’s well worth it.
Here’s how Zappos shows free returns at the top of their page:
B) Free trial or money back guarantee
This is the equivalent of “free returns” if you sell a service or a digital good. It’s only fair that you pledge to give the customer her money back in this case, since she wouldn’t have any other way to try the product.
C) Social proof
Social proof is a powerful mechanism to both reduce risk and to increase the desire for a purchase. The more recommendations we see from other people, the more likely we are to purchase a product.
You can utilize social proof by allowing customer reviews on your website, or by including customer testimonials in the product description.
Here’s what reviews look like on Zappos.com:
Zappos’ staff first reads a customer review before it’s published:
Zappos also has a separate page with customer testimonials…10K testimonials! This is a great idea especially if you don’t want to add customer reviews to every product:
D) A blog or an About page that puts a human face behind it all
Putting a human face behind your company increases your customers’ trust in your brand. Plus, showing a human element increases emotional connection and helps you breed more loyalty with your customers in the long run.
Many people don’t feel confortable doing this, and I completely understand because I sure am one of them! If you happen to be an introvert like me, it helps to remind ourselves that we are putting ourselves out there as a way to help our customers, not to show off. Sometimes we have to do things that are outside of our comfort zone if they make our customers feel more comfortable trusting us.
Here’s how True & Co does it:
E) Live Chat
Live chat is another way to give customers a chance to ask questions or simply address their worries.
Nowadays, there are many apps compatible with any web platform, that allow you to easily entertain live chat with visitors.
And if you’re not ready to make the time or cost investment, just make it easier and more comfortable for people to ask you their questions via email.
F) Videos or more pictures of the product
When you sell online, you can never show enough beautiful imagery about your products. But if you’re like most retailers, you probably have a limited supply of images or videos you can use.
If that’s the case, you can get creative with what you have. For example, you can show close up images of specific details of your product, and label these images accordingly.
Lastly, don’t forget to collect email addresses.
It’s a whole lot easier to get an email address than a first sale, so don’t forget to ask for people’s email address before they leave your site. Make it easy for them to sign up for your list in your footer or in your header, but I highly recommend that you also use an exit pop-up.
The internet is a vast collection of websites and people don’t remember websites they’ve only seen once. So, if you don’t get their email address before they leave, they might be gone for good.
Then, when you start communicating with your visitors via email, you build trust with them over time. Later on, if you’re thoughtful about the customer experience you create, your leads will convert into customers, and all your hard work will pay off.
So what do you think? Which methods will you use to get more sales on your site?
Mihaela Akers is a customer retention + business strategist for entrepreneurs and executives. Get her free guide: “One overlooked strategy to get repeat customers”.