In parts 1 and 2 of this how-to miniseries, we discussed the first two areas to focus on when trying to improve your online store: usability and visibility. So far, we’ve covered these specific methods to get the most from your online store:
- Creating an appealing visual presentation of your products
- Categorizing your products effectively
- Perfecting your navigation
- Designing the best customer service process
- Structuring a strong SEO campaign
- Leveraging PPC appropriately
- Engaging actively on social media
- Focusing on email marketing
The final area of focus is conversion. Here’s how to effectively “close the deal” with your website visitors.
How to Make Your Site Convert Visitors into Buyers
You’re going to increase the conversion power of your site in two key ways:
- Create an A/B testing process that works
- Spend time on your copy
A/B Test Your Landing Pages
The idea behind A/B testing is to narrow down the features of your landing page that convert the best, gradually perfecting your page until it becomes the lead-generating engine you’re looking for. You do this by testing two different versions of the same page and changing only one variable at a time to determine which variable has the most significant effect on bounce and click-through rates.
As traffic is directed to your page, whether organically or through traffic generator or PPC campaign, it is alternately pointed to one of the two versions of the page. At the end of a testing sprint, the collected data is analyzed and action items planned accordingly.
A/B testing is the critical component of your conversion strategy. It’s the main investigative method to provide you with insight into the necessary website updates and edits you need to make to improve your conversion rates. Otherwise, your decisions will be based only on minimally informed guesses.
Because of the time commitment to A/B testing, it will be tempting to try to test multiple variables at once, but resist. A/B testing is only the most helpful when the variables and metrics are kept simple and precise.
Give Your Copy the Attention It Deserves
Establish a style guide. Your brand’s style guide will designate technical things like whether or not you’ll capitalize “Internet” in all of your copy, if you’ll use “e-commerce” or “ecommerce,” and more, but it will also offer guidance to your content team on the voice, tone, and target audience of your brand. This is important information to keep consistent as you generate copy for all of your different outlets: blogs, landing pages, emails, social media posts, etc. Without a style guide, your copy will appear mismatched and unprofessional. Nothing says “professional” quite like uniformity and consistency.
Your company and brand should have a personality; a style guide is basically a description of the personality. Use A/B testing and customer engagement to take cues on what works best in your copy. As you write, remember to focus on what that specific piece of copy communicates or offers in terms of benefits. You customers want to know why they should care about your product or service, not merely what you offer. Focusing on the “what” leaves them to determine the “why,” and you want to define that part in your terms.
What techniques have helped you convert the best on your site? Include your tips in the comments below!
Honigman, Brian. “10 Best Practices to Improve Your E-Commerce Website.” http://blog.sumall.com/journal/10-best-practices-improve-e-commerce-website.html. (December 18, 2014.)