Websites offer opportunities for brands to showcase their products and, more importantly, convert browsers to customers. The most profitable among them actively work to acquire targeted traffic and improve the user experience.
The ultimate goal: to increase conversion rates and sales.
Throughout my career, I’ve supported the digital marketing strategies of brands such as Ecko Unltd, Everlast and Sony Music. Here are five lessons I’ve learned about transforming ho-hum websites into high-performance sales engines.
1. Align your messaging with your sales.
With the right copy and high-quality visuals, you can boost the allure of the average product by a factor of 10. But remember that value propositions are important too: When customers encounter inconsistent value propositions, they get turned off.
Is your company a budget provider of dog treats? Are you a vendor of eco-friendly, fair-trade clothing? Do proceeds from each order go to a charity of the customer’s choosing, or is this promotion specific to just one listed item?
Once you have decided what your company stands for, you can develop a clear, strong and unambiguous brand message that rallies buyers to take action.
2. Consider paid acquisition.
Good old-fashioned advertising, done right, can instantaneously drive new visitors and sales.
In an article for Entrepreneur, contributor Rocco Baldassarre outlined “five scenarios combined with five online advertising channels that typically show the highest ROI.” Those included Google or Bing pay-per-click advertising for service providers, Google display for branding, Facebook for targeting consumers by behaviors and interests, LinkedIn for B2B marketing and cross-channel remarketing for audiences in highly competitive markets.
For many businesses, paid acquisition is easily the most tangible form of marketing out there. ROI can be directly attributed to specific advertisements and campaigns. For traffic-hungry brands, there are always new audiences to target and more ad inventory to purchase.
3. Empower consumers; enable seamless shopping.
When auditing your website, think of every page as a gateway for visitors to discover new information that carefully guides them along the sales funnel.
Brands should leverage content to educate consumers and empower them to be more discerning buyers. This builds trust and loyalty and helps support low-pressure sales. To limit friction throughout the purchasing process, companies should regularly optimize site navigation to streamline shoppers through from "view item" to "add to cart," to "checkout" and, finally, "order confirmation."
4. Segment your audience.
Your customers all have different motivations and needs, and your marketing must be empathetic to that.
On the Optimizely blog, Junan Pang calls out ways to segment website visitors. You may group audiences by their order values, geolocation, referring traffic source, device usage and more. Not surprisingly, each segment behaves differently. But knowing exactly how they react to certain stimuli on your website will allow you to personalize the user experience to boost on-site engagement, sign-ups and sales.
5. Use email to your advantage.
A report from Litmus suggests that the ROI for every dollar spent on email is $40. This is significant when compared to banner ads, which generate only $2 in ROI for each dollar in cost.
Once you capture a visitor’s email address along with permission to message him or her, you have the opportunity to take a long-term approach to generating new and returning business. With email, you can select when to contact customers and which message to include as they progress through the buy cycle.
What are some of your own conversion-rate optimization secrets?