There are many simple ways to improve your online sales. Now that you’re aware of the metrics you need to track for improving your online sales, here are ten changes you make right away:
1. Use a Personalized Call-to-Action
Since measuring conversion rates is essential to increasing sales, it’s important to optimize where that conversion takes place: Your calls-to-action.
A call-to-action (CTA) is an element of a page that tells the reader to take a specific step. For example, in product pages, this could be a button labeled “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart.” But CTAs can also call visitors to do other things, such as subscribe to a mailing list, follow a social media page, or share content.
A “personalized” call-to-action is more specific. While it doesn’t necessarily address each individual visitor separately, it takes into account where they are in your sales funnel. In a study of over 93,000 CTAs, HubSpot found that tailoring the CTA text based on whether users are visitors, leads, or paying customers increased their conversion rates. This approach led HubSpot to convert 42-percent more visitors into leads.
While the approach they used was a bit more technical, you can follow the basic idea by segmenting visitors whenever possible. For example, if you have an email marketing campaign, you can have a separate campaign directing paying customers to a specific landing page for them, while unconverted leads get a link to a different page. The idea is just to keep the customer journey in mind when designing your CTAs.
2. Write Clearer Headlines
Headline text is also an essential factor in increasing your sales. Whether it’s a headline for an article, a product page, a squeeze page, or your homepage, a headline is usually the first thing your visitors will read. It has to capture their attention enough to keep them reading or browsing your site.
First, make your offer clear in the headline. Who is the target customer for your business? What can you do for them? According to a study from Conductor, an SEO technology company, clarity resonates with readers. The more explicit a headline was about what the content offered, the more people preferred it.
3. Declutter Your Site Navigation
Since you want your calls-to-action to be the main focus on most pages, it’s important to declutter the navigation menus on your website. By minimizing the navigation elements on your key pages, your visitors’ eyes will be directed to the CTA. This will make them likely to follow through on your CTAs rather than unnecessarily bounce from page to page.
In one experiment for an online store, MECLABS found that removing the top and sidebar navigations on checkout pages increased checkout rates by 10-percent. Similarly, a babysitting website almost doubled their conversion rates by hiding their main navigation. These experiments seem to fall in with some classic research from Marketing Sherpa, which found that removing navigation on key landing pages can lead to a 10 to 50-percent increase in conversions.
This doesn’t mean that your entire website shouldn’t have navigational elements at all—just that these elements shouldn’t distract from the main purpose of the page. Check out the example below from Hummingbird Hammocks. There is minimal navigation at the top of the product page, but the product photo and “Add to Cart” button are both more prominent.
4. Optimize the Text Near Your Call to Action
Just because your call-to-action is the center of attention, it doesn’t mean that you have to ignore the other elements around it. Usually, the text around or near your call-to-action can greatly impact your conversions.
There are several case studies showing that optimizing the text near your call-to-action can positively affect your conversions. In a split-test for an online betting community, Unbounce saw a 31.54-percent increase in sign-ups or conversions just by changing the text on and around the CTA.
Online retailer Zalora also changed the product text near the CTA and found a 12-percent increase in checkouts. Another case study for a venue space company found that changing the text directly above the contact form increased their number of leads by 69-percent.
What these case studies show us is that writing copy in the space near the CTA shouldn’t be haphazard. Be deliberate in writing about the concerns, goals, and needs of your target audience. The following guides can help you optimize your copy in this area:
- COPYWRITINGHow to Increase Your Online Sales With Psychological TriggersBrad Smith
- SALESHow to Structure a Successful Long-Form Sales PageJulia Melymbrose
- MARKETINGHow to Write a Click-Grabbing AdWords AdDavid Masters
5. Use Pop-up Offers
It’s easy to hear the word “pop-up” and think about an annoying distraction that jumps out at you while you’re browsing through a website. But, when employed sparingly and strategically, pop-ups can help lessen shopping cart abandonment rates and increase your conversions.
Sumo, a company that provides lead capture solutions, found that on average, pop-ups had a 3-percent conversion rate. But the top 10-percent highest performing pop-ups had an average conversion rate three times higher.
Ensure that your pop-ups will perform well by offering something relevant and useful to the user. If your offer is a promo or freebie that your visitors are glad to use, then the pop-up window will be seen as a gift rather than a distraction.
Kutoa, a company that sells health bars online, saw a 187-percent increase in their sales conversion rate just by adding a discount pop-up offer. If it’s more leads you’re after, you can follow the example from Teabox below, which encourages users to give their name and email address in exchange for a 20-percent discount.
6. Add Ample Whitespace to Your Site
There should be enough “breathing room” or whitespace between the different elements of your website and online store. Otherwise, your elements will look crowded, making it more difficult for your visitors’ eyes to navigate between the different elements of your site.
In a series of case studies, The Good, a conversion rate optimization firm, found that decluttering online stores led to higher conversion rates and more sales. In one particular example, they more than doubled the conversion of a product page by eliminating unnecessary elements and increasing the use of whitespace.
7. Replace Stock Photos
If you’re currently using stock photos on your online store, don’t feel too bad. Most new businesses often can’t afford to have professional photos taken of their products or team. But the cost or effort of using your own photos can be justified because real photos of people and products have a positive effect on conversions.
A series of experiments by Bllush, an eCommerce solutions company, found that having user-generated product photos increased conversions at least two times more than just a stock image. In other words, you shouldn’t just show your products in front of a white background—show them “in the wild”, being used by others.
Best Made Company is a good example of mixing typical product photos with photos of their products in-use. Their product pages have large photos of the entire product shown in different angles, as well as close ups of small details. But they also have an “In the Field” section, showing the product being used or worn in the right setting.
The same goes for photographs of people. Rather than show stock photos representing your team or your customers, it’s better to opt for photos of real people. A truck-driving training company saw a 161-percent raise in conversions just by swapping out their stock photos of truckers with photos of their real students.
8. Prove Customer Satisfaction
To encourage more sales for your online store, you also need to prove that your business has a history of satisfied customers. Your proof can come in the form of industry awards, a list of former or current clients, case studies, and testimonials.
This kind is especially important for new businesses that want to establish themselves quickly as a trusted brand. In fact, a survey from BrightLocal found that 84-percent of consumers trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation.
Also, the more reviews a product has, the better for your conversion rates. Having more than fifty product reviews can increase conversion rates by 4.6-percent.
If you haven’t collected testimonials or reviews yet, now’s your chance. The guide below includes tips on how to request testimonials, the tools you can use, and a list of sample questions you can ask customers when soliciting reviews:
- MARKET RESEARCHHow to Use Feedback From Customer Reviews (In Your Small Business)Celine Roque
One example of an online store that does social proof right is Casper. Each of their product pages display star ratings and reviews. When you hover over the star rating of a product, a small window shows up displaying the ratings breakdown, as well as a link where you can read all the reviews.
9. Display Prominent Guarantees
You can also increase your eCommerce conversions by providing visitors with guarantees that your products or services are high quality. You can do this in the following ways:
- Security badges. These are the badges indicating that transactions on your website are private and secure. Digital marketing firm Blue Fountain Media saw a 42-percent increase in conversionsby adding a security badge from VeriSign. Not all badges are created equal, however. According to a study from Conversion XL, consumers only tend to trust the badges coming from familiar brands such as Google, PayPal, and Norton.
- Return policies and money-back guarantees. This earns the trust of potential customers because they’re assured that if they’re not satisfied with your product and service, they can get a refund. A case study from Visual Website Optimizerfound that adding a badge indicating a 30-day money back guarantee resulted in a 32-percent increase in conversions.
- Industry-specific badges.These badges are specific to your industry or field. They could be industry ratings, awards, accreditations, or memberships to organizations. Online retailer Bag Servant saw a 72-percent increase in conversions just by displaying an award they won.