Online businesses are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to efficiently promote their products. Recently, the newest method has been through various types of social media marketing campaigns. You’ve undoubtedly seen the ads that seem oddly in tune with your interests (you can thank the big data analysts for those – it’s no secret that your personal information on sites like Facebook create ads that are tailored to you) and it’s possible that you’ve been tempted to click on at least one. As a business owner, it’s your job to get potential customers to click on the link and be enticed enough to purchase your product(s) for better ROI. But how can this be achieved? While there’s no fool-proof way to go about it, there are some key things to bear in mind that can help.
Step 1: How to entice
First and foremost, you need to understand your target audience and know what kind of sites they’re likely to visit besides social media ones. While the former are good tools to promote links via status updates and tweets, we live in a visually-oriented world and nothing grabs our attention better than a well designed ad. However, it’s important to research your target audience’s potential browsing behaviour to know where to place these. Having good SEO is important, but the end goal is to reach a person – not a search engine bot. If someone isn’t specifically looking for your product, you need to find ways to make yourself visible. Blogs are a very popular advertising medium, especially if they really promote the kind of culture your business is aiming to achieve.
Anticipating emerging and seasonal trends is also important. Everybody loves a deal and a great way to entice a potential customer is to have an ad that includes seasonal sales. I know very few people that wouldn’t be at least a little intrigued by an end-of-summer sale where everything was 30%-50% off.
This may seem obvious, but it deserves to be said: having proper site hosting and e-mail is your first priority before you even begin to think about promoting your products. It shows that you’re invested in your business. Having only the company name as the website domain rather than having it be attached to another hosting agent will fuel credibility and assure the customer that they’re purchasing from a serious vendor, not an amateur. The same rules apply for e-mail.
Step 2: How to keep them interested
Good design puts function before personal taste. It starts with the ad. While good aesthetic is important, if it distracts from what’s being offered then you’re not achieving the initial objective of generating a like or even a click. When the customer is enticed enough to click on the ad, a well-groomed site must follow. All design elements should promote usability. Eliminate site flow disruption by using high quality graphics that act as a map of the site, are clearly categorized and easily link back to the homepage. The actual product itself shouldn’t be too far down the page if the user is clicking on a direct link, it’s best to entice from the top. I know from experience that the further I’ve had to scroll down a page, the less interested I become and the likelihood of me wanting to purchase product from the site is slim.
Your visitor should be able to reach all of the products on your site in as few clicks as possible. Consider showcasing best-selling or most important products on your homepage. Categorized links should be as clear as possible so that there’s no guesswork, because the more clicks towards a product translates into the consumer’s interest beginning to wane.
While being concise and clear is an important aspect, being able to set yourself apart from the competition will also keep visitors coming to your site. When you research your target audience’s behaviour, also educate yourself on the competition so that you’re one step ahead. You don’t need to compromise the clear cut messages you’ve already laid out in order to convince users that they should purchase from you – just use the same concept to explain how your product would benefit them. Will your product make them healthier? Richer? More fashionable? Here’s your chance to stand out. Benefit-driven and relevant sales pitches are the quickest and most effective way to engage visitors new and old. Listing product details as well as warranties will also help educate your visitor. I don’t consider this to be part of your initial message, but it’s a second step that’ll help solidify a visitor’s decision to purchase.
A sure fire way to progress to a sale is by offering special promotions; sales, reduced/free shipping, coupons or two for one deals. All of these are excellent ways to not only ensure a sale but also potentially get the user to spend more. I’m guilty of going a little crazy on a regular basis on sites such as Beyond the Rack, who not only show you how much you’re saving on a regularly priced item (often designer) but also frequently offer discounted shipping and store credit, with the amount increasing depending on how much is spent before checkout.
Step 3: Making the sale
While visitors might like what they see, before they commit to purchasing they’ll want assurance that they’re buying from a reputable source. Testimonials eliminate any remaining doubts or concerns, but some visitors might view yours as suspect since they can easily be forged on the web. Be sure to include full names, titles, business information and/or personal websites to establish credibility in the testimonials listed on your site.
The next step is to be sure that any questions consumers may have can be answered promptly and effectively – be an expert on your products. Providing things like an FAQ, articles and possibly downloads that pertain to your product will further build trust within the visitor. Never ever make up information if a question is posed to you and you don’t immediately know the answer. In this case either find out quickly or respond immediately with a courtesy e-mail stating that you appreciate the question and that you will respond soon with an answer. This will further build trust in the visitor who might not only become a return customer, but might be so impressed with your professional attitude in covering all the bases that they recommend you to their friends.
Of course your visitors will be curious about you, and having an ‘About Me’ section on your site will help them to understand the person behind the business. This will reveal to them who you are, but make sure not to over share. Visitors are curious about your inspiration, education and what your overall mission is, not how many cats you have. In addition, make sure you have multiple methods of contact, anything from e-mail to social media pages works. You want to ensure that your customers are clear on how to get in touch with you.
Last but not least, when the visitor has made the commitment to purchase from you, ensure that you’ve provided as many payment options as possible – particularly those that aren’t yet being offered by your competitors.
Step 4: Looking to the future
After hopefully seeing through a slew of successful sales, you should consider investing in metrics and analytics to properly identify which time/promotional periods were most successful and why. Keeping tabs on your business as well as keeping a watchful eye on your target audience will keep your site and products fresh in the buyer’s mind.
Converting clicks and likes into sales should follow the KISSprinciple – Keep It Simple Stupid. Don’t overcomplicate matters with fancy graphics and lengthy explanations. Stick to key points that’ll help to speed up the visitor’s decision and make everything helpful, from your website to your online store. Above all, be the most reliable source you possibly can as a business owner. In time, you’ll become known for your reputation and not just your ads, inevitably leading to exponential sales growth.