Online shopping has been rising for some time and was dramatically boosted by the COVID pandemic. With the right strategies, you can benefit from this trend by increasing online sales and building loyalty to your company. Here are five ideas to drive sales to your online business.
1. Choose a Reliable Hosting Service
A hosting service provides rental space on a physical server that stores all the data and files needed for your website to run correctly. Unreliable servers leading to unstable network connections can push your site offline, denying you viewership and sales. Choose a web hosting service with uptime scores over 99.5 percent for better website performance.
Apart from less downtime, here are several other things a good hosting service provides:
- Better security: All information going through your site is automatically encrypted.
- Frequent backups: You can recover accidentally deleted files, resolve update problems, and receive hacking protection.
- Faster load time: When a page takes too long to load, a user is likely to click away.
- Better search engine rankings: Website downtime and slowness can significantly impact your rankings.
- Allowance for Growth: As your business expands, increased traffic is easily accommodated.
2. Conduct a Website Audit
A website audit provides an analysis of your site’s effectiveness, pinpoints needed improvements, and helps discover if you are optimized to drive sales to your site. Here is what a thorough website audit assesses:
- Site Health: A “health” check identifies the number of issues your website has, which may include URL structure, 4XX and 5XX errors, broken links, duplicated content, and page loading speed (including mobile page speed). Responsive design ensures that your site renders properly on different devices.
- Technical SEO: Assesses crawlability and indexability.
- Security: Having HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) that encrypts user data is critical to high Google ranking. Possible security breaches and Google penalties are also assessed.
- Keyword Performance: A review of keywords and search queries you are already performing followed by new keyword research to pinpoint fresh opportunities to improve rankings. (Research found that search makes up 65% of all e-commerce sessions.)
- Off-Site Presence: An examination of backlinks, reviews, and social media (Google ranking looks at social media performance).
- Conversion Rate: An assessment of the effectiveness of lead forms, CTAs, checkout flow, etc.
- Competitor Analysis: A look at websites competing in your target market.
3. Drive Sales By Improving User Experience
If site visitors are leaving without buying, it may be because of poor user experience. Note where users struggle or easily make missteps. Here are some ways to fix user experience problems:
- Upgrade Customer Service: A survey found that 84% of respondents took customer service into account when making a buying decision. Your contact page should clearly show your phone number, email address, and chat. An FAQ page helps provide immediate answers. Important: When someone contacts you, respond promptly.
- Provide a Chat Feature: Add one, monitor it constantly, and include an auto-response letting users know when you are available.
Note: Virtual Agent Technology (VAT) is a plug-in that immediately answers common questions.
- Make Checkout Simple: Checkout can be a big sticking point for sales. Break up the procedure into several pages or an expanding page, so the prospective buyer isn’t overwhelmed with information fields. Provide a guest checkout option.
- Keep Shipping Costs Low: Consumers don’t tend to think about shipping costs until they reach checkout. Many abandoned shopping carts result from extra charges like shipping. Build shipping costs into your prices so you can offer free shipping. If this isn’t feasible, offer free shipping for a minimum order or provide a flat shipping rate upfront.
4. Drive Sales by Understanding Your Target Audience
Good marketing decisions depend on an in-depth understanding of your potential customers that enables you to focus on qualified prospects, guide effective product development, and align work across all aspects of your business.
Create a buyer persona (a representation of your ideal customer) to provide you with an in-depth awareness of what your targeted audience needs and wants and enable you to create resonating messaging. Research data should include:
- Age and sex.
- Career path or professional background.
- Goals – what do they want to achieve?
- Where they live – cities, suburban, rural areas.
- Role played in the purchasing decision.
- Challenges – what obstacles are they trying to overcome?
- Preferred method of communication.
- Where they go for information.
You also should research how paying customers found their way to your site so that you can better focus your marketing efforts.
- Examples: If lots of cookware sales result from a blog post about healthy eating, write more on that topic. If Facebook ads account for most sales, invest in more advertising.
5. Create Interesting Content
Content providing relevant and interesting information helps prospects find you through SEO. Search engines prioritize pages that provide consistent content, so write new posts regularly. Also, address ways to use your products or common issues related to them.
- Example: If you sell dog toys, write about fun games to play with your canine friend or how to help dogs with separation anxiety.
Your content and messaging should highlight what you offer that no one else doesn’t. Understand what makes you different and shout it from the virtual rooftops. Include it in your tagline and home page, place it prominently in social media ads, and highlight it in your email marketing campaigns.
You also need high-quality pictures that highlight your product’s best features. However, photos should accurately represent a product to avoid a high return rate because the received item looks different than the photo. Include more than one product image – three or four is ideal.
Consistently sharing content on social media helps new customers find you and builds loyalty with current ones. Connect your online store to your social media accounts so users can easily make a purchase.
There are a lot of good ideas to select from, so choose those that work best for your online business and dive in!
Alycia Kuan is a digital marketer from WebRevenue. She has a passion for yoga, music and loves to share her thoughts on e-commerce. She likes exploring the latest trends in digital marketing and SEO. Say hi to her on LinkedIn.