How many of your visitors actually buy? For most online retailers it’s less than 5%. This means that 95% of your advertising budget does absolutely nothing. 9 out of 10 people who liked your ad enough to click on it aren’t buying once they arrive at your store. Does that feel just a little wrong to you?
Getting potential customers to visit your online store only affects your traffic reports; converting them into buyers is what makes you money. This number – your ratio of browsers to buyers – is known as your conversion rate.
Increasing your conversion rate, even a little, can work wonders for your profits. Just think: if you double your conversion rate, you double your sales – without putting another cent into your advertising budget.
So how do I increase my conversion rate?
Knowing what to change on your website is more art than science. Happily, science is squarely on your side when you want to know whether it worked.
The hard part: you dream up a new slogan for your best-selling product.
The easy part: find out exactly how much it increased (or decreased) your sales, and whether you should keep using it.
You can get these numbers through a process called split testing. How it works is that you show half of your visitors the default site, and half the version with the new slogan. After a few days you’ll know incontrovertibly which one gets you more sales. Software products, such as the free Google Website Optimizer, make the technical bits easy.
It’s so easy, in fact, that it’s worth testing any idea, even if it’s a shot in the dark. It only takes a few days to test each change, and even a very small improvement will add up to hundreds of pounds of increased profits over time.
Start with one of these tips and use split testing to guide you as you go.
- Use a call to action, like “Buy Now” on every button you want people to click.
- Pretend that the scroll bar on your browser is broken. Can you browse, shop, and buy without scrolling? A surprising number of people don’t scroll.
- Ask an internet neophyte to buy something from your website. Watch where she has trouble and fix those things.
- Make action buttons large and colourful.
- Show a progress bar during the checkout so shoppers don’t face any surprises.
- Embed videos of your products being used by a real person.
- Display outside approval for your website and products, such as a security seal or testimonial.
- Send a follow-up email to customers who put together a cart but abandoned it before buying.
Let’s look more closely at a follow-up email you might send to increase your conversion rate.
Abandoned cart emails
Follow-up emails are an effective way to recover sales from abandoned carts. This is an email that you send a customer to encourage her to go through with the purchase.
To do this, you need to capture your customer’s email address early in the checkout process. Preferably this should happen before she sees an order summary, shipping costs, or anything else that might make her abandon the purchase.
Then, you need to decide when to send the email. If you send it right away, the shopping experience will be fresh in your customer’s mind. If you send it a few days later, it will seem less intrusive. There are benefits to either approach – which you should test on your personal customer base.
The most important thing is to make your customer feel served by the email, not hounded. For example, you could provide a link back to her cart with a friendly reminder that it will expire in 7 days. Or you can ask if she had any trouble completing the order, and provide a toll-free number for assistance. You could provide free shipping if she buys now.
You can and should use the split testing technique discussed in the previous section for your follow-up emails. It will help you nail down just the right format for your customer base. Perhaps a lot of your shoppers come back on their own on Saturdays to purchase items they browsed during the week, so Sunday might be your ideal follow-up date. Or you could offer shipping discounts only to those customers who abandoned after looking at the shipping options. Or you might find that three follow-up emails are just right, but the fourth gets you a lot of “unsubscribes.”
The most important thing is to try everything, test everything, and watch your profits grow.
To find out more please get in touch by using the ‘Request More Info’ form on the right of this page.