Looking for ways to boost your online sales?
Improve your online sales with these 21 Tips
If you are selling directly from your website as an artist or crafts maker then you might be wondering how you can increase your traffic, improve your website and most importantly increase your sales. After working with a number of different makers over the last 3 years and keeping on top of the latest developments in online selling, these are some tips that could go some way to increasing your online sales. Much of what is recommended here are techniques at improving customer service and customer relationships, which are key to generating sales and repeat sales. You certainly don’t have to implement all of the 21 tips outlined here, but it might be worthwhile to experiment with a couple and see if you notice any change.
One of the best pieces of advice I have come across while research online is to be brave and test things, don’t be afraid to experiment. The mantra ‘Test Everything, Assume Nothing’ is something to keep in mind when using any new online technology. You will never know what strategy or angle is going to work for you best until you test it. Testing is the only way to discover what works, and what doesn’t work, on your website.
- Offer one product or service on your home page
- Reposition your opt-in offer to boost your opt-ins and build a bigger list of loyal subscribers.
- Feature different benefits in your headlines
- Establish a problem in your copy and show how you can solve it
- Add credibility to your copy and enhance your visitors trust in you
- Focus on your site visitors – not yourself
- Instil urgency in your copy – and convince readers they need to buy now!
- Remove any references to ‘buying’ from the top fold
- Boost your products desirability by adding images
- Grab the attention of ‘Scanners’ by changing the format and appearance of your copy
- Fine tune your follow-up processes to maximise sales and attract more repeat business.
- Have a clean call to action
- Know your 30 second elevator pitch
- Make sure you have a transparent About You page
- Add an online video
- Review your product line up
- Review your order handling process
- Look for broken links
- Include inserts with delivered products
- Make sure you are cross-selling
- Use the language of sales
#1 Offer one product or service on your home page
If you sell a number of products or service on your website then it is recommended that you test whether or not this is the best strategy for you. Offering fewer products in one place with more copy describing those products tends to translate into higher sales.
Why? It helps to focus people. Instead of trying to please everyone who visits your site by offering a large range of products – you can really focus on one key set of benefits and answer all the possible questions and doubts your visitors might have about your product.
It doesn’t mean you have to stop selling the other products, but you can always offer them to your customers from other web pages or by using follow-up offers.
Sales Test: Write up a sales copy letter for your lead product and put it on your home page – run this as a test for two weeks/ month and watch what impact it has on your sales.
#2 Reposition your opt-in offer to boost your opt-ins and build a bigger list of loyal subscribers
Your opt-in offer (enewsletter sign up, email sign up, competition etc – anything which requires a customer to provide you with their email address) is your tool for gathering your customer’s email addresses and building your email list, which will allow you to regularly keep in touch with your subscribers, build relationships, trust and loyalty, and sell them your products.
Where you place your opt-in offer on your site has a huge impact on the number of subscribers you can attract.
Sales Test 01: Place your opt-in offer in as prominent a position as possible on your home page, preferably in the ‘Top Fold’ of your home page (the area of the screen first visible to a visitor before they scroll down the page) – the Top Left of the page is where the visitors’ eyes are often drawn first.
Sales Test 02: Place you opt-in offer within the second ‘page’ of text, after you have caught your visitors’ attention and established your credibility, impressed them with your skills, experience and testimonials from happy customers.
Sales Test 03: Place your opt-in offer on every page of your site so it’s always in front of your visitors. The more sign up opportunities you provide, the more subscribers you are likely to get.
#3 Feature different benefits in your headline
Your headline has a huge impact on your sales, it is often the first thing that visitors’ to your site sees, so it must grab their attention and compel them to read your sales copy.
A successful headline should highlight a problem your target audience faces and stress the main benefit of your product in solving this problem. It is not simply a matter of telling your visitor what the product is, but what it does for them.
#4 Establish a problem in your copy and show how you can solve it
In the first few paragraphs of sales pitch you need to go into more detail about the problem you introduced in your headline – you need to show your audience that you relate to them – only when your audience feels you understand their problem will they feel more confident that you can solve it.
Once the problem is established, you can then begin to introduce your product or service as the solution to this problem. By emphasising how your product or service will solve your reader’s problem, you should see a boost in sales.
#5 Add credibility to your copy and enhance your visitors trust in you
It’s vital that your sales copy establishes your credibility – it is through this process that your visitors come to trust you and feel comfortable enough to buy from you.
Establishing Credibility 1: Include customer testimonials in your sales pitch. These should be excerpts from genuine feedback from customers expressing how your product or service helped solve their particular problem. A customer testimonial that states how your product benefited them is much more effective than one that just says something like “Your product is great”.
Establishing Credibility 2: Add a section to your copy that outlines your credentials, experience and any background information that makes you qualified to solve your target audience’s problem. Your aim should be to effectively convince readers that you are the best person to offer them a solution to their problem.
#6 Focus on your site visitors – not yourself
The most successful sales copy focuses on the reader. Look carefully at your sales copy, is it filled with references to ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘we’? If your copy is filled with these then you need to shift the focus towards the ‘You’ and ‘Your’.
#7 Instil urgency in your copy – and convince readers they need to buy now!
It’s important that your sales copy instil a sense of urgency in your visitors, compelling them to buy now. The best place to do this is towards the end of your sales pitch, near the call to action (when you ask for the sale).
Sales Test: Try using each one of these against your copy and monitor their impact
- Offer a limited-time price discount where visitors must buy before a certain date in order to qualify for the discount.
- Offer additional bonuses for free if visitors buy within a certain time frame.
- Offer only a limited quantity of your product or services.
- Offer a limited quantity bonus.
#8 Remove any references to ‘buying’ from the top fold
People usually go online looking for free information. If you start your sales pitch too early in your copy, you may end up losing them before you’ve had a chance to hook them. Only once you have established the problem and how you can solve it, can you start selling to them.
Sales Test: Remove all references to ‘buying’ ‘cost’ and ‘sale’ from the top fold of your website and compare the results to the copy you’re using now.
#9 Boost your products desirability by adding images
Images of your product makes them seem more tangible and ‘real’ to your visitors and are a powerful sales tool.
Sales Test: Try placing images near the top your page vs. placing them near the call to action at the bottom, where you are asking for the sale. You could also test adding images to your order page. By monitoring your sales during each test, you’ll learn exactly where to place product images for maximum impact.
#10 Grab the attention of ‘scanners’ by changing the formatting and appearance of your copy
Very few visitors to your website will read every word of your sales copy from start to finish. Most will ‘scan’ your copy as they scroll down the page, reading only certain words and phrases that jump out at them or catch their eye.
Sales Test: Test highlighting your key benefits to find the right combination that will grab the attention of people who scan rather than read online, these includes:
- Using bold, italics and highlighting (sparingly) to emphasize the most important benefits of your offer.
- Varying the length of your paragraphs so the page doesn’t look like a block of uniformly formatted text.
- Adding sub-headlines that emphasize your key messages and compel your visitors to read the paragraphs that follow.
- Leaving the right-hand side of your text ragged (as that’s easier to read than ‘justified’ text that uses the whole width of the page).
- Centering important – but short – chunks of text or sub-headlines to further draw them out of the main body of text.
- Using bullet lists (like this one) to emphasize key points.
#11 Fine tune your follow-up process to maximise sales and attract more repeat business.
Following up with your customers and subscribers with an email is crucial to generating more sales as it often takes several contacts before someone buys from your site.
Following up with new subscribers: Start by restating your offer and asking for the sale again. Try sending an immediate follow-up after new subscribers sign up, giving them a reason to return to the site the same day as they subscribe. You can test this against sending a follow-up three days after subscribers first visit your site to see which method works best.
Following up with existing customers: A third of customers will buy again if they are given the chance – repeat customers helps you to develop profitable, long-term relationships with them and allows you to offer products related to their original purchase. Try offering them a special offer immediately after they make a purchase, against sending one three days afterwards to see which approach generates more repeat business.
#12 Have a Clean Call to Action
What are you asking your potential customer to do? What is the one thing you most want them to do? Getting your potential customer (or prospect) to click on the ‘Buy’ button has to be done tastefully and professionally. You need to make it really obvious what you want them to do, and if at all possible, the benefits they receive should be close by so that clicking through is compelling.
Don’t try to cram all your content onto the one screen, you want to communicate not confuse people.
#13 Know your 30 Second Elevator Pitch
You need to be able to boil down your message into a 30-second elevator pitch, less is often better.
#14 Make sure you have a transparent About You page
Customers like to know who they are doing business with. If you offer a generic page which doesn’t tell people who you are and why you do what you do – change it. It is important that you are transparent. This might not drive sales alone, but it has a significant impact. If you have website analytics have a look at how many people are clicking through to your ‘About’ page.
#15 Add an Online Video
People don’t read as much anymore, which is probably why You Tube is now the second biggest search engine – people prefer to watch and learn. Video offers a dynamic, interactive and immersive experiences for potential customers. Even if you create a simple screen cast demo about your products, you will be ahead of the competition who still build text-heavy websites.
#16 Review your product line up
Ask yourself what is selling and what isn’t and why. If a product isn’t selling don’t waste your time promoting it. If it is producing you very little revenue, find another product to promote. Devote your time and effort to the products that are producing for you.
#17 Review your order handling process
From web copy through to the delivery of the product, review each element of the purchasing experience, and ask others to place orders and evaluate their experience. Look for points in the sequence where a prospect might be turned off. Is there something about any page sequence that might generate doubt or negative feelings in the prospects mind? A significant number of customers abandon their orders at the order form or during the checkout process. Examine yours closely to reduce this happening on your website. Make sure your order process guides the customer through step-by-step while providing continual reassurance.
#18 Look for broken links
Having webpages load with a broken image or having visitors get a lot of ‘File Not Found’ messages can create a negative impression. Fix any broken links immediately to improve sales. Periodically surf your site to confirm everything on your page functions as you intended.
#19 Include inserts with delivered products
When you have products which you mail out to your customers make sure you include a brochure or flyer for other products in the package. These customers are your best prospects for repeat sales. When they open the package they have been waiting for, and are thrilled with the product, they are instantly in a receptive buying mood. For instance you might have sold an item of jewellery to a customer, include in the package a flyer encouraging purchasers to consider giving other items you make as a gift.
#20 Make sure you are cross-selling
Use cross-selling to sell complimentary products on your website. Increase sales by highlighting all complimentary products at high selling product pages. The scope and flexibility for cross-selling your products will depend on the shopping cart software you choose.
#21 Use the Language of Sales
Don’t know what type of words to use to get people to act? Below is a list of words that can be used to grab people’s attention in your web copy:
You/ your/ yours
Phrases that sell
- Ask for your free…
- At Last!
- By popular demand
- Check out these great features:
- Don’t miss…
- Good News!
- Here’s what you get:
- New low price!
- Now for the first time…
- How you can too…
- The first…
- The only…
- This is your last chance to…