10 ways to increase online sales; Anyone who has an online store wants to increase sales as much as possible. The question is, how to boost sales online…? While you can make drastic changes to your marketing strategy or your online store, sometimes all it takes is changing and testing a few small elements on your website.
This process is called conversion optimization. The goal of conversion optimization is to increase the percentage of website visitors that become paying customers. For new online businesses, conversion optimization is crucial, as it will help you maximize each visit to your website. The more of those visits you turn into leads or customers, the better your cash flow.
Are you ready to increase your online sales with simple optimizations? (graphic source)
This guide will teach you how to increase your online sales with some basic website changes you can quickly implement when doing conversion optimization. Each of these tips are based on statistics or case studies that have shown increases in sales.
The Key Statistics for Increasing Your Sales Online
Before you go through this guide, it’s best to review the different types of metrics you’ll be using to measure your success. Of course, you’ll need to have web analytics software such as Google Analytics (with eCommerce Tracking set up) so that you’ll know your current metrics and how your changes will measure up.
Here are the essential metrics you need to be familiar with:
Your leads are simply the people who have expressed active interest in your products or services. Unlike your typical website visitor, they have given you their name or contact information, as well as permission to send them additional information. They’re the first major step in your online sales funnel, which you can learn more about in this tutorial:
Here are some of the ways you can use to count your number of leads:
- Email subscribers. If you collect email addresses for a mailing list or newsletter, your number of subscribers is your list of leads.
- Registered users. You can invite users to register to your online store or website, even before they’re ready to buy. For example, if you’ve ever created an account on one fo the online retail stores like Amazon, Etsy, or Walmart without buying anything, you’re already one of their leads.
- Contact form submissions. If your site has a contact form that users tend to fill out to ask you more questions about your business or initiate purchases, these count as leads.
- Quote requests. Requests for quotes typically applies to services. Whether you provide garden maintenance or website development, odds are potential clients have contacted you in an attempt to get an estimate on what their project would cost. These potential clients are your leads.
- A combination of the above. You can use all of the above ways to gather leads. Just make sure that with each channel you use, you have a way to easily keep track of the number of leads you have per channel.
If your online shop is new, these leads will be easy to count and keep track of manually. But as your customer base grows, you’ll need to find specific tools for measuring your leads depending on how you gather them. This could be through email marketing software or your website analytics program.
Your conversion rate is based on what you want users to do on a specific page. It’s the number of visitors who perform the action you want divided by the number of visitors who don’t.
Let’s say you’re looking to improve the conversions on a specific product page. To compute your conversion rate for the month, look at the number of unique visitors that clicked on the “Buy Now” button on that page throughout the month. Then, divide it by the total number of unique visitors on that page for the same month. If your product page received 200 unique visitors, but only 10 clicked on the “Buy Now” button, then your conversion rate is 5-percent.
Your goal could also be to increase the number of leads you get. If you’re measuring email subscribers to your newsletter, you can create a squeeze page to capture email addresses. Get your overall conversion rate by comparing the number of subscribers you get from that page with the total number of visitors to that page.
Since your goal for each page on your site will be different, you have many options for measuring your conversion rates.
Bounce Rate and Exit Rate
Your bounce rates and exit rates will give you an idea about how many people leave your website or a specific page. It’s important to know the difference between the two so that you can tell which you should use for each situation.
Your site’s bounce rate is the percentage of your visitors who view just one page on your site, then leave. For example, a squeeze page with a high bounce rate and a high conversion rate is a good thing. This means that once a user lands on the page, the majority of them do the action you want them to do, whether it’s making a purchase or signing up for your mailing list. But if your goal is to get visitors to browse through your product catalog, a high bounce rate indicates that most visitors probably didn’t dig deeper into your products.
The exit rate of a page, however, is the percentage of users who leave your website from that page—regardless of how many other pages they visited beforehand. You can make sense of your exit rate by looking at your users’ behavior throughout your website and seeing how they navigate through it. If you use Google Analytics, you can find this under your “Users Flow” report.
How to Increase Your Online Sales (Quickly)
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.
Remember where your users belong in your sales funnel so that you can tailor your CTAs to their needs.
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.
The clearer a headline is about what the content is offering, the more readers tend to prefer it.
In one case study, an investment firm was able to increase their conversions by 52-percent just by specifying what they do and who they do it for. Their original headline read “The Wilson HTM Priority Core Fund”—a simple statement of the product name.
An investment firm immediately increased their leads by writing a clearer headline.
The image above shows the headline they tested that brought in the highest conversions. It states the target audience (investors) and what the fund does (has managers who try to consistently outperform the market). By rewriting their headline with a clear offer, they’re now getting more leads.
Review the headlines in the major pages of your website, including your homepage and product pages. Do they specify who your target audience is, what you do for them, and what they can hope to achieve with you? If not, rewrite your headlines and watch for any changes in your conversion rates.
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 ratesby 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.
Removing navigation from your landing pages increases conversions by at least 10-percent.
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.
Minimal navigation doesn’t distract from the product photo or the call-to-action.
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.
Addressing the pain point of the user (“hard work for free”) can help improve conversions.
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: