Recently, we were talking to a colleague and everything was about driving traffic to their site. And all I could think as we had this conversation was that traffic isn't everything. It's great, don't get me wrong, but if traffic doesn't lead to sales, is it really worthwhile?
Nope. Not really.
And it got me thinking about how to turn traffic into conversions. And as I was trying to put together a post about exactly that, I came across an article on Search Engine Watch that is precisely what I was looking to convey. So instead of rewriting, I'm going to send you all to their site to read more about the small things we can do to turn traffic into sales.
How to Increase Conversions: Ideas, Tools, Examples
I think there's a lot here that we can put into use almost right away to create an uptick in conversions -- which is really the whole point, right?
There are always those sad stories. You know the ones: they involve nefarious intent aimed at ripping off a business. As an ecommerce vendor, you’ve employed best practices with respect to having your ducks in a row and have taken steps to avoid fraudulent chargebacks, return scams, and everything you’ve learned about in Online Selling 101.
But there’s another danger in the loop, and it’s a bit more stealth. It’s called “click fraud,” and though it’s been around since the advent of internet advertising, it’s becoming more pernicious. It’s not cheap, either —a click-fraud monitoring site estimates that the seedy practice did more than $7 billion in damage over a recent two-year period.
Vendors who advertise on third-party websites have discovered a diamond in the rough; a way to gain visibility, and hopefully new customers, at a very reasonable cost. Predicated on the concept that interested viewers will click on your link to learn more about you, publishing hosts will charge you only on a per-click basis. Great deal.
Here’s the problem. Not all clicks are equal. Someone mousing around that link may be one of several untenable parties, from a sector competitor who drives up click rates to cost you more money, to an ally of a web page host trying to rake in more ad revenues for his buddy. It can be a competitor of the published page who’d like to set that page up as a shady self-clicker. It can also be unrelated to profit or competition, but rather a political protest statement, or even someone with a personal vendetta.
We’re not talking bankruptcy here. It’s rarely disabling. But it’s a host of other adjectives, including annoying, frustrating, and ultimately perhaps viral.
As brick-and-mortar stores continue to collapse into bankruptcy, leaving blighted, empty buildings, there is a lesson to be learned from each.
Their customers trusted them.
Big-time retailers Kmart and Sears, now jointly owned, still has loyal fans who are eagerly following the roller coaster ride of their dismal-yet-uncertain fate.
If you are an ecommerce vendor, it’s imperative that you study and reflect on the way these conventional stores captured trust and converted it into continuing revenues. Mirroring their marketing tactics, which usually include special sales, coupons, and notable customer service policies, can set you up to become an internet fave – if you play your cards right.
In the ecommerce universe, that means generating “micro-conversions,” or turning initial signs of interest into an established consumer relationship.
Focus first on these obvious, easily implemented strategies:
Seeing a path to better revenues, and being a better business
By now every growing e-commerce entity has figured out the critical role social media plays in their business. It’s become a household pastime; a venue for people from all demographics who are connecting with the world through computers and devices.
The opportunities for marketing and branding are rich. And increasingly, the picture has become much rosier. Research conducted in 2018 showed that social media users made their most recent purchase directly through Facebook and their eBay Daily Deals. Facebook ran away with the biggest share of the pie, with Instagram coming in a close second.
Yet there is a demographic often left in the dust; one thought to be unable – disabled, as it were – to use social media.
That has changed. With technological developments in connectivity have come celebrated advances in bringing the Internet to people with varying degrees and types of disabilities. There are nearly 60 million of them in the U.S., and that number will grow as they age. They are players. They are shoppers. And they can be your best customers if given the chance.
Beginning next week, we’re rolling out a multi-part series focusing on accessibility in social media and ecommerce.
Before we dive into some platform-specific issues and ideas, let’s talk a little bit about what is legally required. On social media? There really isn’t a requirement that your content be accessible. (Though we think it ought to be.)
But there are some requirements and guidelines for your website. According to the ADA and subsequent court findings, your website is required to be accessible to those with disabilities. And it makes good business sense – the easier your site is to use, the more likely you are to make a sale.
While there are no comprehensive federal regulations in terms of website accessibility, there is a great guideline – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 – and we think it's where you should start. Chances are high that if the federal government does come out with legislation or regulation, it's going to look like this.
Increasing your productivity is hard in today’s world of constant distractions. It’s easy to make excuses about lack of productivity, too – it’s too nice outside, a big game is on TV, the President just tweeted something provocative again, etc.
Of course, you’ve likely heard that good sleep, eating well, keeping hydrated, staying active, meditating and keeping positive are common methods for ramping up productivity.
Still, to truly be effective, you should have a set of actionable ways that you can implement starting today – though it might take diligence to turn them into habits that get results.
Put Down the Smartphone
The smartphone does wonders for communication, growing your network, and increasing business, but it can be a huge distraction. You can text, see social media notices, track emails, and access zillions of apps, most designed to distract, even those for business (here’s looking at you, Slack).
Here’s how to limit the temptations:
Erase Email Inefficiency
Emails are crucial to business and personal communication, no doubt. But inefficient use of email is a productivity killer. Learning to pay attention to the important ones (personally or professionally) and ignore the time-wasters is key to being more productive.
Emails can instill you with a reactive inclination if you’re constantly replying or answering, especially if it isn’t important. But being reactionary is an albatross. Consistently being proactive is the best way to raise your productivity.
So, here are several ways to reduce email anxiety:
Optimizing for voice searches is a great new strategy
Let’s face it: Gen-Xers are masters at pounding out text, rapidly, on the tiniest of device keyboards. The rest of us stumble through frustrating errors, many of which launch hilarious misfires thanks to autocorrect. But there’s nothing silly about understanding that voice control will continue to permeate the computer use experience for all groups.
The mercurial rise of digital voice assistants on smartphones and—most recently, lovely Alexa from Amazon—is a good indicator that we’re moving into an era that is at least partly keystroke free. And why not? It’s quick, convenient, and increasingly accurate. What merchants are discovering is that it can also be profitable.
Think it’s a longshot? Fasten your seatbelt. OC&C Strategy Consultants recorded a month of sales rates for 2,000 Amazon-posted products, and found that voice-powered devices and products totaled $1.8 billion in domestic retail revenues in the year 2017. They predict that number will increase to $40 billion by 2022.
Big players such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Apple have jumped ahead of the game to integrate voice searching on their platforms. The most searched brands are ranked at the top for voice searches. Maintaining a presence on these seller sites, in conjunction with optimized voice search strategies, will put you far ahead of the game.
It’s easy to get stuck following the same tactics in social media marketing, particularly if one strategy has been lucrative or has grown your business exponentially. Amazingly, though, many social media “gurus” continue with campaigns that aren’t bringing in revenue.
While it’s important to keep up-to-date with new strategies and evolving techniques, it’s also important to ditch so-called “best practices” that aren’t delivering. Sometimes, it’s what you don’t do that contributes as much to your success as what you do do.
If the calendar hasn’t tipped you off to the upcoming holiday season, then a growing spate of TV commercials will. The retailers’ most prolific season seems to start earlier every year, and it’s never too soon to jump on board.
Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, and even Festivus—all these marquee events bring out the generosity and giving spirit in consumers worldwide. And as the ratio of onsite purchasing versus online sales continues to shift, it’s even more important to rev up for a hot holiday commerce opportunity.
You may have some sentimental ways to make your end-of-year sales period special, and that’s critical for your brand. But if you’re open to some tips from experts, pay attention to these specialized strategies.
By now you’ve at least explored the concept of creating a website that shows your brand at its best, and forms the foundation of conducting commerce through cyberspace. And since the ultimate goal is to make your site viewed and read by as many people as possible, you’ll need to learn how to crack the code of becoming search engine optimized. The balancing act of utilizing search-optimized syntax and offering readable, relatable, and compelling verbiage can be a challenge. Ultimately, though, it can make or break your success as an ecommerce merchant.
Do you feel as if you can’t keep up with current best practices and trends influencing site engagement? You’re not alone. It’s not a simple task, but it needn’t be prohibitive. Thanks to generous experts, the web is rife with outstanding resources on every aspect of SEO for operations of all sizes.
Put yourself in the shoes of a prospective customer and spend some time evaluating what it is about online merchants you’ve shopped in the past. What was great about their presence? Their interface? What made you shy away from navigating around a particular entity’s page? These basic first-hand experiences can help you set up a presence that works for you.