It’s seemingly hard enough for business to attract traffic to a website let alone convert that traffic into a sale. Obviously before you can convert someone into a paying customer online, they must first land on your website. Increasing a website’s traffic is well outside the scope of this article. The methods of increasing traffic are numerous, and largely dependent on your actual business and industry. Though, if you’re curious on how to attract more traffic to grow your business, you can read the following pieces: “12 Ways To increase Your eCommerce Customer Base” to “eCommerce Fundamentals: 3 Ways To Grow your Business” Both of these articles will highlight the many tactics that can be employed to attract traffic.
Though once a potential customer views your website, perhaps even interacts and engages with it, how then can you further increase the chance of converting that traffic into a paying customer? Fortunately, there are a few tried and true methods that can help. Specifically, there are 4 proven ways that help to convert a potential customers inquiry into an actual sales conversion. More specifically, these are 4 ways to improve an online retailers conversion rate.
An important note to keep in mind; conversion rates are typically very low for all ecommerce websites. An average conversion rate that can be thrown around, but by no means is definitively related to your site (as I wouldn’t know), is around 2-3%. Now you may be thinking, “Well that’s not so bad, we’re almost at 2.5%!” But since when is being average desired? You may think to yourself that you should aim at increasing your conversion rate to 3% (which, in all honesty is the goal? to acquire more sales). But how you pose certain questions determines the exact answers and solutions you will find. Don’t ask yourself how you can get another .5% of your traffic to convert. Ask yourself why the remaining 97.5% of visitors to your site don’t convert. There’s far more knowledge to be found there than studying and predicting the actions of a measly .5% of your traffic. Sure improvement is improvement, and incremental improvement is better than none at all. But again? no business is trying to be “average” on any level.
To expand upon this note, and for the sake of thoroughness (because you have to practice what you preach), let’s briefly go over the only 5 reasons a person fails to make a purchase on a website. We will then get into the 4 ways to improve your conversion rate once we understand the fundamentals of why conversions don’t occur in the first place.
5 Reasons Why Customers Fail To Make A Purchase Online
User Has Limited Expendable Income
There are of course ways to attract users with limited income, and perhaps that is your niche market. But predominantly, if you can attract customers with expendable income, focus on them rather than forcing low income users to scrape their savings together. It’s a much harder sell. If you don’t have money, you can’t rightly buy anything.
User Doesn’t Want Or Need Your Product Or Service
These users can of course be convinced otherwise, but the cost, time, and effort that must be put forth is immense. Not to mention success is uncertain, after all, if there is low hanging fruit to pluck? why climb to the top of the tree?
User Does Not Trust Making A Purchase
When a website looks sketchy, has a bad user experience, and overall seems disreputable? few people will trust making a purchase from it. Think of it this way, you would likely pay a street vendor cash for food or trinkets right? But if you’re uncertain of their legitimacy as an honest and ethical business, you would certainly not hand over your credit card or other bits of information. Even if that street meat smelled of heaven itself? It’s too risky. Thieves are abound in the world, and especially online. Users are aware, and very, very cautious of this fact. If a website has broken links, images, 404 errors popping up, and overall poor site health and aweful user interface? you can assume you will be trusted less. What reputable business would let their website fall into such conditions? Take pride in your appearance? it count’s for more than you may think.
User Does Not Understand Exactly What Is Being Sold
This point may seem strange, but you would be surprised to find how many websites sell products that offer little, vague, or no description of the products attributes, characteristics, and/or traits. You as a business manager may believe things are self explanatory, or of common knowledge. But your opinion is quite biased, you are of course an industry leader, with industry knowledge, using industry jargon. Your customers, often times, are John Q. Public and Jane A. Common? they have far less knowledge than you may assume them to have. This is of course unless you are a B2B business, or market to largely well informed customers. But overall, explain your products and services as though you were talking to someone who has never heard of them before. The more information you provide? the better informed a user will be on making a purchasing decision.
User Is Confused About How To Make A Purchase
Confusion = Frustration. Frustration = The Loss Of A Sale. We all know this to be true, and it is especially important to keep in mind online. Again, you would be surprised to see how many websites offer complicated and lengthy checkout processes, or for some reason hide the “Buy Now” or “Add To Cart” buttons in obscure and hard to find places on a webpage. User experience is largely dependent upon the users interface and the overall design/layout of a website. If these are not planned, designed, and crafted well you are sure to lose customers to frustration and confusion.
4 Ways to Improve eCommerce Conversion Rates
Now that you have a better understanding of the reasons why a user may fail to make a purchase online, let’s go over what can be done to increase an internet retailers overall conversion rate. Please keep in mind these are only 4 suggestions, and an endless number of options are at your fingertips. The reason these 4 are mentioned is because they are relatively effective, have been commonly employed, and as such have proven their worth over time. That said, don’t limit yourself to a single tactic. Employ multiple tactics at the same time to help further your chances of increasing conversion rates. As when it comes down to it, that’s the most important word for online marketing that anyone needs to know: Chance. Greater Chances = Greater Odds. Greater Odds = Greater Potential For Opportunity. Once you have opportunity knocking at your door, you simply open it up and great him “Hello!” If that sounds simple? it’s because thankfully it is.
Increase The Skill Of Your Sales and Marketing Team
This may seem like a rather simple answer to a complex problem, but imagine all that your sales and marketing team encompass. They are at every point of the process from when a customer first takes notice, to visiting and browsing the site, to finally completing a purchase. Now there are in sum two different ways, each with their own benefits and problems, that you can increase the skill of your sales and marketing team. The first, also being the most obvious, is to simply hire people with the desired skill sets you require. The second is to actually train your current employees. Let’s go over what this entails for both hiring and training and what the Good, Bad, and Ugly are for each.
Hiring Employees With Desired Skill Sets
• The economy is such that? well let’s just say it’s a hirers market. Everyone is looking for a job so options and choices are abound for managers. Finding skilled and qualified persons in any field at this point is not that difficult.
• There is a much lower cost to hiring an employee compared to training a current one. This fact becomes more pronounced obviously the more difficult the subject matter. Learning takes time, and a lot of people have already spent their own money, or someone else’s, on becoming proficient and educated.
• The time it takes to train someone means there is a lot of missed opportunity occurring, and this becomes exacerbated as time passes. A skilled person will not only accomplish the required tasks quicker, but their skill will improve faster as well. Its not just the time it takes to learn something, but also the time it takes to improve upon what you’ve learned.
• Hiring an employee is still a gamble of whether or not the new employee will actually be worthwhile. Remember when you’re hiring marketers and salesmen what those people are good at and why you’re seeking them out? that is their ability to sell and attract. Resumes are often amply padded and people frequently stretch the truth until it’s quite taut. That’s not meant to be cynical, but is the cold harsh reality of the job market. Half truths are whole lies and the availability of honest and capable employees is something a bit more difficult to come by, at least in regards to the heap of incoming resumes you must sift through.
• Hiring new employees, rather than promoting or training current ones, has a devastating impact on morale. If you want a sure fire way to upset those that work for you ? provide little to no room for improvement. Better said, don’t hint at a glass ceiling, make sure there’s a reinforced metal one over their heads. They’ll get the picture. Who doesn’t despise a newly hired manager or further competition in the workplace?
• You can find the best possible employee out there with the exact skill set your business requires. That does not mean however the new employee will like working for you, or worse yet, have any loyalty to your business. The ugliest fact of the matter is that there is no trust in, or should you expect to receive loyalty from, a newly hired employee. That of course is an overstatement, but the point it makes is clear enough. There are lag times from hiring a new employee (with desired skill set) until they become productive and trustworthy. Finding their rhythm, orientation, and simply understanding the new business you work for takes time, though not nearly as much time as having to train for a specific skill set. Gaining loyalty, and allowing you to place trust in new employees, is also very incertain and difficult to measure.
Training Current Employees To Acquire Desired Skill Sets
• Employee morale, loyalty, and satisfaction will certainly rise. Especially if the training is seen as a bonus to them, is viewed as worthwhile to the business, and even more so if it comes with a bump in pay, respect, or prestige. Most people are grateful for promotions.
•You can train your employees specifically in what your business requires. There’s no worry about using old information or doing things in an outdated way (This point is far more stressed for marketers online than for physical in-store salesmen). Old dogs come with old tricks that are hard to both retrain and unlearn. You can teach your employees correctly from the start, helping to avoid costly repairs for mistakes made in the future.
• Be sure not to give, or appear to give, preferential treatment to any of your employees. It will be bad enough when one employee is chosen to be trained over others that were similar in skill or time being employed. But if it is viewed as unfair as to who receives the training, bonus, raise, or promotion, you can be sure to assume morale and productivity will be lessened as a result. Fairness should be a concern for every manager in a business. Employees catch on quick to favoritism.
•Training, depending on what is being trained, can be expensive. This is due to the cost of classes, materials, time away from work, time not having the required skill set, and so on. The more difficult the subject matter, and the less capable the person, the longer it will take to understand and master. These two points must be heavily considered before deciding on whether to train an employee or not
• Sometimes the mind may be willing but it might not be capable. If you are deciding to train your employees, be very sure you choose the right candidates. Even well meaning, motivated, and seemingly intelligent individuals can fail at times. There is always the chance of failure, and your chosen employee absorbing the appropriate and needed information is no different.
I absolutely love science about the natural world and outer space. I’ve also read my fair share of books, articles, and watched enough Neil Degrasse Tyson that I feel I’m in the least “aware” of what is going on. That said? I know I know nothing. Absolutely nothing in the overall grand scheme of things. The scope of those topics are so immense and vast, and the information therein being pretty difficult as well, there is no amount of study on my part that would ever, absolutely ever, allow me to call myself an “expert” in either of those two fields. They say you need 10,000 hours invested in something to become an expert. It is for this exact reason people have specialties. When determining whether to train an employee keep this in mind. Do they need to be experts? If so, chances are they won’t be considered so for quite some time. If, on the other hand, all you need is proficiency in some subject, training an employee may be ok.
•In the end, the ugliest fact of all is that if the training you provide is especially desired in your industry, the newly trained employee can take their newly acquired expertise elsewhere. New skill sets creates new opportunities for employment, and more specifically, better opportunities for greater pay. This of course can be mitigated by giving a slight pay increase yourself, and as always, remember that pay isn’t the only factor that motivates employees. Just keep in mind that when you invest in someone? you don’t own that person nor their skills. The time, cost, and energy that went into training can be lost immediately if the employee chooses so. With that said, keeping your employees happy is paramount as happy employees make for a better business.
Generate Quality Leads More Efficiently
Do you know what your total cost is to acquire a lead for your business? Remember that quantity does not matter as much as quality for lead generation. Quality and convertibility are the key factors to remain focused on (The quality of a prospective lead refers to their capacity and desire to complete a purchase). Attracting quality leads is also only half the equation, the other half is ensuring that you are able to attract leads efficiently and steadily. Let’s give a simple example here to drive this point home.
The image above tells a rather typical story about lead generation value. You’ll see that we have it divided up between two types of prospective leads, Normal Leads and Quality Leads. Normal Leads would entail typical people who are neither interested or disinterested in your product. There will of course be a larger audience of Normal Leads than you should assume there to be for Quality Leads. We’ve given Normal Leads a 10,000 lead value. As a real-world ecommerce average, a 1% conversion rate is also attributed to Normal Leads (When excluding actual interested and quality leads, the conversion rate may often be much lower but typically ranges between .05% – 3%). The cost of Normal Leads are typically lower than trying to target specific niches because overall they are more generic and easier to promote so we’ve given that a value of $.10 per lead. We’ve also assigned a $15 value per lead to Normal Leads that convert. This is lower than Quality Leads, because on average, we should assume a Normal Lead will purchase less than a Quality Lead is expected to. You will see that after the lead acquisition expense is deducted from the total value of leads for Normal Leads, there is a total revenue of $500.
There will certainly be fewer Quality Leads than Normal ones, and we’ve assigned that number to be 1,000 (significantly less than Normal Leads). Conversion rates should also be higher for Quality Leads since they are more interested in your product, and we’ve given that a value of 10% (You may be thinking that is extremely high, since the ecommerce average ranges between .05% – 3% but those are only averages, and when you exclude uninterested parties and focus solely on Quality Leads, conversion rates will actually be rather high). Targeting interested and potential leads is also more expensive and we’ve assigned a higher value for that of $.50. Considering that Quality Leads will likely purchase more on average, we’ve set the value per Quality Lead at $20. What you’ll see is that once the lead acquisition expense is deducted from the total value of leads for Quality Leads, there is a total revenue of $1,500.
In the end what we find is that even though there are fewer Quality Leads to attract with a greater cost to acquire each lead, Quality Leads generate more revenue than Normal ones do. Now the point of this was to highlight the overall importance of generating Quality Leads. This is not to say that attracting Normal Leads is not worthwhile, as they still generate income. Be sure to create your own model for lead acquisition, the cost and value of different types of leads, and study to determine where your “sweet spot” may be.
>Depending on your industry and business, the number of potential Quality Leads compared to Normal ones can differ greatly. Take clothing for example, everyone needs clothes (the cost/style of which determines the market). On the other side let’s consider cars, everyone likely wants one but many cannot afford it. So the number of your Quality Leads is reduced. This is to say that there is a certain demand to every product or service. The higher that demand, the greater the number of potential Quality Leads there will be. Ensure your model takes this into account as you may find that you have many potential Quality Leads or very few. This information will largely determine how, what, and where you advertise to your customers.
So then, and back to the original topic, how can we actually generate Quality Leads more efficiently? There are of course, a wide range of options to both choose from and create to answer this question. But let’s focus on one strategy that is rather easy to implement.
Modify Existing Selling Strategy Used To Generate LeadsIf you’re looking for areas to make improvements in your marketing strategies, you should always start with what is already improvable. Planning, crafting, implementing, tracking, and studying a newly developed marketing strategy takes time, energy, and resources. Furthermore, you won’t be able to improve upon it until it has been in use for some time and you have collected data to analyze. This is why, so long as you’ve used a strategy of some sort in the past, you should continue to work on and refine that strategy to increase its performance. Useful marketing data, in some respects, can be extremely difficult to come by. Starting a new strategy or implementing a new tactic from scratch, if you neglect to use previous knowledge garnered, simply wastes useful data you’ve already collected for no good reason.
Let’s give an example here. Let’s say you are running a remarketing campaign in AdWords to attract customers who have already viewed your products but didn’t make a purchase (These users would be considered Quality Leads since you know they’ve already shown interest in your product). Your remarketing campaign has also not done exceedingly well in the past and you’re considering ending its use. Though before you do, you want to make sure you understand the reasons why the advertisement didn’t perform well, in the least to avoid replication in the future. It would seem the strategy of marketing to users who have already shown interest would do well? but the marketing world is filled with Black Swans and anomalies. Not to mention, great plans are often stifled by poor execution. That point should not be underestimated.
This is why every advertisement shown online, whether text, display, or video, should have other near duplicate advertisements that run at the same time as them and have slight variations. For website pages, this tactic is called A/B Split Testing, and you certainly, unequivocally want to split test your advertisements. In essence, you test two similar ads, see which one performs better, keep that one and implement a new slightly different one. Rinse and repeat. Over time, you will be refining how this ad performs, and it will eventually become a fine tuned piece that attracts, compels, and causes an interaction or engagement from users who view it.
This idea of refining a strategy or tactic, rather than creating a new one, is what differentiates success from failure. Success is also built upon failure, so don’t undermine your foundation. Give strategies time to grow and evolve. Don’t discount something because it didn’t work the first time because chances are it wasn’t “what” was being done, it’s “how” it was being done.
Now obviously refining a strategy is not possible if no prior strategy existed. If you’re a new business implementing new strategies, you simply have to do your best to start. As that’s all any new business can do. You can of course study other businesses success and failure, which is also highly advised, but in the end regardless of your plan, you have to be ready to gather, analyze, and study the data that comes in. This also means you have to be ready to collect data that is available. Data is the keyword here, and its everywhere and takes many forms. You just have to know what to look for and hope to find data that is useful. Again, and in sum, the process of advertisement refinement is the reason you want to modify existing strategies to generate Quality Leads more efficiently. This of course is not all meant to dissuade the reader from trying something new. It’s simply to draw focus towards what is important, that being improving upon what you already have rather than starting anew. But what are some tactics that will help to improve upon an existing strategy? Let’s give a few examples as to what these might be.
Tactics That Can Be Used To Supplement A Strategy In Use• Provide information in advertisements that ties exactly to the product, service, or benefit you provide. You would not believe how often marketers selling a wide array of products use the same calls to action across all advertisements. Or that don’t give product/service specific information. Generic information answers generic questions. Unless all of your customers are generically minded, which they are likely not, your generic advertisements aren’t going to attract many people.
• If you are performing an email or direct mail marketing campaign, make sure letters always specifically refer to some product, service, sampling, or process that the recipient of that letter can take advantage of. Have clear calls-to-actions about how to learn more or to make a purchase. Be sure to customize each letter to appear as though it was uniquely written for the recipient by using their name or interests in the letter. Be sure to market these campaigns to both Quality and Normal Leads. If you want a gold star for effort, you should customize specific letters for specific types of leads, ie. Quality or Normal.
• Advertise in the appropriate areas where known lead types frequent and offer only information about your specific product so they don?t inquire about anything other than something you know they want. People can be easily distracted, or worse yet, led astray. If you have too many conflicting or competing messages occurring, a persons attention and patience can only be spread so thin. Do whatever you can, however you can, to make your message clear, concise, informative, and attractive.
Create Irresistible OffersThere is a difference between something that is too good to be true and something that is true to be too good. Both will likely appear the same on the surface, but eventually the former will be found out and despised. For example, in September 2011, Reebok was ordered to refund $25 million to customers because it’s advertising promised their EasyTone shoes could firm users’ butts and legs with every step. Their unfounded marketing claims which failed to provide adequate evidence still enticed many customers to make a purchase. Though these customers were soon left displeased when they failed to notice any difference in their appearance after wearing the shoes for some time. Reeboks’ offer was of course, too good to be true, and it cost them a lot in the end.Then conversely there is the Google Chromecast, a $35 HDMI streaming stick that emulates the Apple TV. Essentially allowing your HDTV, if its unable to do so already, to access online media. You can use it as a web browser, access Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, HBO, Youtube, and more. To make it even better, Google has released the API for Chromecast which means 3rd party developers will be making any untold number of apps for it. For those that need a product such as this, the Chromecast is certainly an outstanding option. As it stands, consumers believe the same as sales for the Chromecast have been stellar since its release. The Chromecast is considered to be too good of a product not to buy. Making the product itself appear irresistible to customers. It’s true to be too good.Both of these examples have companies promising customers what appears to be exceedingly good deals. Shoes that tone your body from walking and standing? An extremely cheap device that transforms an HDTV into an online media center? But false advertisements are just that, and are both illegal and immoral as well. Be sure to promote your products in an accurate, and more importantly, ethical way. Customers appreciate honesty, and above all else, hate being swindled? especially by businesses. The point to take away is that not only do you need to create irresistible offers, those offers need to be accurate. If anything they need to underestimate the value of the product rather than overestimate. You’d much rather be sold something only to find out later it’s better than you originally imagined. Develop deals, specials, and promotions that achieve the goal of making irresistible offers. Repeat that process as often as possible, and always ensure your customers feel that your product or service is too good not to purchase.As a final note for consideration? think of all the Infomercials you’ve seen on television as well as all the products you’ve seen in a stores touted as “As Seen On TV.” Most to all of these products are either too good to be true, or true to be too good. At least they are marketed as such. “It can dice, slice, splice, once, twice, or thrice! It never dulls, never spills, never breaks, and a beating it can take! It’s the lean, mean, cleaning and sheening machine!” Even consider the imagery of infomercials, they make everyday, ordinary and simple tasks seem impossible. Obviously they do this for a reason, and its to first evoke a feeling. “Cutting and chopping food is such a hassle when cooking!” “I hate getting wet when I wash my car!” “My closet full of clothes is so packed? full of clothes!” Then they show you how all of these awful hassles can be alleviated and made easier?. I believe the reader gets the point. Infomercials do a really good job at promoting useless items in a useful way, thus making their products appear to be too goo to be true. Now you may be asking which “As Seen On TV” product has ever been true to be too good? The first, and best, product that comes to mind for me is the good old, and original, George Foreman Grill. That thing rocks! Hands down?
Educate, Inform, and Entertain Your CustomersLike a spiders web, once a user enters your site it should be such that no matter where they go, they want to travel further and find out more, becoming ever more intertwined and weaved into your web-site (Pun fully intended? yet perhaps still poor) and not wanting to leave. This means, as the spider, you need to weave the best web you can that keeps users onsite. As a business, this means you need to offer information, education, entertainment, and desired products or services. Without any of those things? why would anyone remain on a website? In days past and with commonly used old-school tactics, the webs created to keep users onsite were far more cynical. Do you remember landing pages with an infinite number of pop up windows? How about web pages with no obvious means or navigation to exit the page?Of course, these tactics and many others are no longer employed. Marketers nowadays need to offer real value to users if they hope to promote a website. Options are abound online and if the experience you offer is worse than any other, or if you don’t offer something unique that sets you apart from your competition, your website will have an extremely difficult time finding success. So what can you do that offers a real and attractive value to users? Fortunately, there is a lot.Products and ServicesFor starters, and really the backbone of any business, are the exact products and services you offer. Obviously, if your products and services themselves are poor, better options are available elsewhere, or their perceived value is not great enough, no amount of marketing will truly be able to help promote sales. Now there are of course exceptions to this rule, but in the end, you can have the most beautiful, immersive, and enjoyable website on the web, and you may find success in on-site engagement and traffic, but may still find its hard to actually sell something. This is all to say that your obvious first step to offer a real and attractive value to users should be, and always should be, providing a quality product or service that is unique, desired, and valued. This, before all else, comes first and needs to remain your number one priority. There is nothing to do if you have a product or service that is not worth selling, or more importantly, if it is viewed as not worth buying.
There are in essence two methods to educate users; The first is to teach them about your products or services and the benefits of using them, this would be considered promotional or advertorial education. The second is to share the expert and intimate knowledge you have surrounding your business and industry, though with no overtone or attempt to sell something directly. Each of these have their own unique benefit and can of course be meshed together. The point to keep in mind, and being simply put, is that knowledge is inherently valuable. If you are trying to then provide value to a potential customer, one of the easiest ways then is to teach them things they care to know.
There are numerous ways to educate users and the best ways will be unique to each individual businesses. How your targeted customer base best receives information should largely dictate how you then share that information. A few typical methods for educating users are listed below:
• Content Published Onsite: This can take the form of a company blog, developers blog, resource center, video tutorials, audio files, or anything else where you can educate users onsite. This is perhaps one of the best and most beneficial ways of educating users as it keeps interactions onsite, thus adding to your SEO value for site traffic, time on site, page visits, and so on. This is also the reason why it’s important to have a properly developed and methodically planned content strategy. Content is king!
• Newsletters: If you have an email campaign, or have the means to begin one, this is another easy way to educate users you know are interested in what you have to say. If people sign up for your newsletter, be sure not to let them down with the content you create. Consistency is also key. Attention spans wane, memory fails, and motivation declines when you are not exposed to something repeatedly. How many hobbies, books, websites, or activities have you forgotten about, not because you wanted to necessarily, but because it fell from thought? You stopped doing it, stopped seeing it, and forgot about it. Perhaps you may pass by it again in the future, but it’s far more difficult to entice someone to try something they’ve already done and stopped doing. They’ve moved on. Newsletters, for this reason, are also important because you have a direct means to remind your customers, if anything, of your existence.
• Product Descriptions: This may seem like common knowledge, “of course I’m going to tell customers everything about my products and services!” But you would be surprised at how often business owners fall short of this very important goal. Be sure to offer every bit of available information possible, don’t exclude any detail as “common knowledge” because typically, and especially as an industry professional, everything is common knowledge to you. Your opinion is biased, and furthermore which is often hard to hear, the common user does not have common knowledge. Or if they do it is very skewed, limited, or worse yet, wrong. A prime example of why you need to continually educate your users, as much as humanly possible, about every aspect of your product or service is highlighted by the iPhone IOS & Waterproof Update Prank.
This prank, which ruined a fair share of phones, duped Apple Users into believing that a fake advertisement about a recent update allowed their iPhones to turn off upon touching water. Of course to test this, a few users tried and then vented their frustrations on twitter. Though the internet being what it is, the joke didn’t subside and people used it and promoted it further. Now you would think to yourself, “Who would purposefully put a phone in water that they knew at one point wasn’t water resistant before?” The answer is simply customers who don’t have common knowledge. You may exclaim, “What about common sense?” It’s all the same folks. In this case it was about electronics and how many technically savvy-less individuals do you know? I would imagine quite a few. Don’t assume too much of anyone, because eventually someone is bound to let you down. It’s a numbers game, and it’s not the numbers fault for not understanding or knowing. Educate your users as much as you can about your products, ensure they have no unresolved questions or concerns, and you will surely increase the inherent value of your website. Imagine if Apple would have immediately educated their users upon finding out about this prank? Certainly a few phones would have been saved. I would also venture to say trust in their business would raise as well for informing customers? though Apple already has enough public trust to last them quite some time. Regardless and despite any errors or mistakes they might make in the future, the public largely loves Apple, and for the meantime they can do little wrong.
• Social Media: Social Media is another great way to educate users, and is probably the best way to instantly educate. Typically, if anything you post on Social Media is not seen within the first day, or for some users an hour, your post will be so far down on their list that they’ll rarely see it or take notice of it. Obviously, the more friends a user has on Social Media platforms, the more businesses they follow, the more competition each of your posts has on their feeds. You really want to post and have a user see that post within the first couple of hours, which is why posting times and schedules are so important. That said, if you notice your posts receive engagements, and have users talking about them, you have the opportunity to get involved, or even to create, the conversation. This is an extremely powerful concept that is relatively new to business. Customer feedback and opinion has always been important, but the quickness at which you can receive it nowadays, and the ease at which you can engage with users is astounding. This makes Social Media a great option for educating users, and one which should be leveraged fully.
• Social Proof: Education can also come in the form of confirmation as well. Social Proof is an important concept in marketing. It’s the idea that a person will trust doing an action more if they know others have done it successfully, and with benefit, in the past. Truly it?s the hallmark of our ancestors and one that was an evolutionary necessity. Safety in numbers, trusting that something is safe because its been done before. That same idea plays in an enormous, and often erroneous, role in our social and cultural lives. The idea of being a lemming is often joked about. But that said, people are inherently unable to trust anything without social proof. We are naturally skeptical about everything for a good and deeply ingrained reason. The more people already behind something, the more that are likely to follow.
Thankfully marketers can use Social Proof in many ways to show users that their business is known, trusted, and respected. This greatly puts users at ease when they’re considering giving private financial and personal information to a website. You yourself have no doubt come across multiple websites where the product or service on display is desirable, but there was no way you would put your credit card information down. I myself can personally think of an instance a few years ago where I needed to rent a washer and dryer for my apartment. My rental managers recommended a company that most people in the complex did business with. Upon visiting the website, I was taken aback by how awful it looked. In every way the website appeared very unprofessional and if it wasn’t told to me that they’ve been doing business with them for years, I would have left the site immediately. Though I still needed to rent a washer and dryer, and they came recommended with social proof behind them. So I cautiously gave them my credit card information hoping I wasn’t following the other lemmings over the cliff. In the end, their service was great and no problems arose from it. At least yet that is?
The point being, that otherwise, without the social proof I received, there was absolutely no way I would have done business with them. A bridge may look rickety, but after seeing a hundred people cross it, and being told its safe, your likely to try out your own luck rather remaining stuck on the other side. Now this is not to say, that by giving social proof you can withstand having a poor website. By all means, continually improve the design and functionality of your website. After all, it is the online face of your business. For reference, social proof can come in the form of testimonials, comments on content, social media tickers, users online tickers, page visit tickers, product sold tickers, and so on. Every and any way you can prove to users that your site is both trusted and tested should be done. Make every effort to educate your users that you are reputable, confirm to them that you are safe to do business with, and you will likely attract more customers as a result.
Information is different than education just as teaching is different than informing. Reporting facts, of some nature, constitutes information. Providing training and instruction, of some nature, constitutes educating. Providing fun facts, discussing topical events, and reporting on other noteworthy bits of information are great ways to provide real and attractive value to users. It is yet another form of additional benefit to be had by using your site, and more so shopping with you. Furthermore, and most importantly, it is a great way to attract previous visitors back. It gives users a reason to visit you even though they may not need to buy anything just yet. It helps to keep you top of mind and significantly helps to increase brand recognition and trust. All of the above ways to educate users are the exact same as informing them. This means content published onsite, news letters, product descriptions, social media, social proof, and any other form of sharing information can be used.
Everyone loves a good laugh or chuckle. Providing entertaining content is probably one of the best ways to both attract and retain customers. To make entertaining content even better, combine entertainment with information, education, or promotion. Let’s look at some examples of websites that accomplish this successfully.
Entertaining Information: IFL Science (the IFL being a rather inappropriate acronym for I F***ing Love) is a website that provides science based information in an entertaining way. The content they provide is typically really interesting topics covered in a very “teach me like I’m 5” kind of way. The content is easy to digest, short reads, with pictures and videos. They successfully offer science information in an entertaining manner. Of course that entertainment may not be suited for everyone and is certainly not age appropriate for minors often due to vulgar language, but in their mission, IFLScience has succeeded. They have a large user base and continue to provide entertaining science based information.
Entertaining Education: Moz is a website that, among other things, educates users on the latest internet marketing tactics. They are, above all else, likely the leader in the industry as far as an entertaining and educational source for online marketing. Now the “entertaining” factor is obviously different for everyone. People not interested in internet marketing would likely not see the value here as it could likely appear to be dry and boring. But for those that have to continually study up on marketing trends and changes, Moz.com is a site for sore eyes and tired brains. They do educate in an entertaining and fun manner, which is why, in part, they are so successful. It is without a doubt why I myself take a look at their website every few days to read articles. Entertainment aside, they are industry leaders and provide extremely valuable information, but I choose them first and foremost because I can study while having fun? which often times is not possible elsewhere.
Entertaining Promotions: This one should be easily understood, but you can advertise obviously in an entertaining way. For reference sake, let’s just put down some examples of great, entertaining promotions that companies have put out in the past. Note that these “entertaining” promotions are individual and unique in how they are enjoyed. Whether through wit, visual appearance, or emotions stirred? they entertain and help to drive user engagement. They evoke a feeling, which in the end is a tall tell sign of a good marketing piece.
Finally, as a final note on entertaining, it is worth understanding the old Shakespeare quote, ” Brevity is the soul of wit.” When thinking of how to be funny or entertaining, remember that you have to deliver “the joke” or “punchline” quickly. Don’t draw anything out for too long, as again attention spans wane and readers may have a hard time keeping tabs on nuances when they appear far apart from the subject it is referencing. Being an entertainer is an art form, and it is certainly not possible by everyone. Know your strong suits? if being funny or witty is not one of them, find someone who has those qualities. There is nothing worse than trying to be funny and failing, appearing corny, or worse yet creating that awkward moment when you’ve said something you shouldn’t have. Don’t put your foot in your foot in your mouth, and don’t insult your readers. Being funny doesn’t come at the expense of others. At least it doesn’t have to for most businesses.
20 Questions To Ask Yourself To Help Improve Conversion Rates
What is it about what we do and how we do it that provides value and appeal to customers?
What distinguishes us from our competitors?
What do we do better than our competitors?
What do our competitors do better than us?
Do customers understand our brand or business?
Are there any lingering questions unanswered that customers might have?
Do we value our customers?
What do our customers expect in the industry?
Do we meet or exceed customer expectations?
Is our brand trusted?
Do we have an authoritative voice in the industry?
Are we providing social proof to potential customers?
Are we engaging with users across social media and onsite?
Are our employees as well trained as they could be in the areas that are important?
Do we know areas of our website that need improvement?
Are we accurately tracking data that can be analyzed, studied, and have changes implemented?17.) What does our target market and customers value?
How is our target market best engaged?
Can we be more thorough or is there anything else we are forgetting or overlooking?
Are we being honest with ourselves in all the above questions? (The absolute most important question)
You should always be critical of your website, its functionality, design, usability, and attractiveness. Never be satisfied with where you stand and you will ensure you continually move forward. An idle, stagnant, and listless website doesn’t last long. As the age old maxim proclaims, “a rolling stone gather no moss.” So ask questions, never be fully satisfied with answers, and be ever diligent about making improvements. Remember that there are no quick fixes for ecommerce websites, improvements are made stepwise and piecemeal. This means that just because you’ve made some improvements doesn’t mean there aren’t more to make. In the end, there is only one true answer to any question you may ever have about improving your websites performance. That is? work harder and work smarter! That might not exactly be what the reader was hoping for. But nothing in this world of value comes for free. Everything business-wise takes investment, and anything worthwhile achieving is worth putting effort into. So stay diligent, stay calm, and keep your nose to the grindstone. If you follow the instructions in this piece, and are honest about it, I am confident you will see marked progress. This progress of course is what will keep motivating and driving you on. So find it, cherish it, and revel in it because it wont be long before you have to make new improvements or better your progress yet again. And that shouldn’t be an expectation? that needs to be a desire, it needs to be a foundational want of your business. As everybody desires to see progress in their business right? Yes? yes they sure do.
If you have any questions for the Mediotype team, please contact our specialists. We work hard to ensure that every client receives the attention and quality they deserve.