15 Ways To Increase Online Sales
Increasing online sales is the primary goal of countless businesses, large and small alike. Whether you run a mom-and-pop retail business or work for a vast e commerce giant like Amazon or big corporation, increasing sales through online channels is a little like bowling a strike – it looks a lot easier than it actually is.
Fortunately, there are dozens of ways you can make more sales online, many of which you can implement right away. Some of these tips focus on specific strategies you can implement, whereas others are more generalized. In this post, we’ll be looking at 15 such strategies, so whether you sell physical goods or run a service-based business, here are 15 actionable techniques you can use to increase online sales performance
Be Honest in Your Sales Copy
This might seem painfully obvious, but it’s amazing to me how many sites write checks their products can’t cash. Not only is honesty in your copy crucial to your business’ reputation, it also fosters and encourages trust in your brand. Don’t make claims you can’t substantiate, and don’t use hyperbole lightly – today’s consumers are hypersensitive to marketing BS, so be honest, straightforward, and approachable in all your sales copy, from your homepage to your email campaigns.
2.Make your landing page match your ad
If you’re using paid ads as part of your sales strategy, there’s a simple tweak that will increase your conversion rates and skyrocket your sales.
Instead of split-testing a variety of ads and landing pages, work on making them correlate. This congruence will encourage users to sign up and buy the products you have to sell.
As Raphael Paulin-Daigle writes on WordStream, there are two parts to making a landing page match the ad .
First up is the scent match. Your landing page should closely resemble the layout and color scheme of the ad you’re using to promote that landing page.
Second, pay attention to the message match. You should market the landing page with the same copy (or at least the same focus) as your ad.
A great example of this is Air Canada . They promote low prices with the phrase “It’s the summer of great fares” on their ad.
- Keep Messaging Consistent Across Campaigns and Your Site
Ever clicked a PPC ad that grabbed your attention, only to be taken to an irrelevant landing page (bad) or the site’s homepage (worse)? Did you end up buying whatever you were looking for from that site? Probably not.
If a user clicks an ad for a specific product or service, the page they’re taken to should be about that specific product or service – not a related category, not a special offer for another product, but that specific product. Make sure your messaging is relevant across your PPC and paid social campaigns and the pages associated with them, so that ad clicks actually turn into sales.
- Answer Every Question and Address Every Objection in Your Copy
One of the most dangerous pitfalls you can fall into when trying to sell online is making assumptions about your prospective customers’ knowledge of your product, service, or even market. Many companies mistakenly believe their customers know more about what they’re selling than they actually do, which results in unanswered questions or objections that are failed to be addressed – both of which can harm sales.
Consider every question you can possibly think of about your product, and answer it in your copy on your product pages. Similarly, think about every potential objection a prospect might have about your offering, and preemptively overcome it in your copy. This might seem impractical, but remember, you’re not bombarding prospects with unnecessary information – you’re giving them exactly what they need to make an informed decision. This approach is also an excellent exercise in writing tight, clear, concise copy. If you’re worried there’s too much copy, you can always trim it down. Just keep the focus on the customer and how it benefits them, not why your company is so awesome.
- Give Away As Much As You Possible Can for Free
People love free stuff, and the more you give away for free, the more favorably prospective customers are likely to perceive you and your brand, which can result in more online sales.
Look at your current offerings. Can you give anything away for free? If you’re in the software business as we are, it’s easy to offer free, no-obligation trials of your software. Even if you’re not, you can just as easily give away samplers, trial memberships, two-for-one offers, and other reward-based incentives. Giving stuff away for free isn’t just a great way to improve people’s perception of your business, it’s also a great way to introduce them to your must-have products and tempt them to buy more.
- Create and Target Detailed Buyer Personas
I’m going to go ahead and assume that you’re already creating buyer personas (because if you aren’t, you’re in real trouble), but I am going to challenge you to create even more detailed buyer personas than you have in the past.
If you’ve ever looked at the targeting options available to Facebook advertisers, you may have seen the amazing granularity with which you can target users on Facebook – advertisers can target users based on the square footage of their home, the university from which they earned their degree, and even where they plan on going for their next vacation (as Margot revealed in her fascinating post about amazingly granular Facebook audiences ).
Obviously, this degree of specificity may be a little overkill for your buyer personas, but the better you “know” your ideal customers, the more likely they are to respond to carefully crafted messaging tailored specifically to their lives. Push yourself to create more detailed buyer personas than you ever have before. To learn more about this process, check out my detailed guide to creating buyer personas .
- Implement Tiered Pricing
When you go to a restaurant, the chances are pretty good that you’ll invariably choose one of the mid-priced dishes. This is because many restaurants manipulate psychology to push people toward the mid-range meals. We’ll often avoid the cheapest dishes – and the most expensive – making the middle-tier options the most appealing. This is a technique known as “decoy pricing.” The same principle can be leveraged to increase sales online with tiered pricing structures.
By including a third “decoy” option in your pricing structure, you can push people toward the middle option – the one you really want them to buy. Sure, some people will go for the most expensive option anyway (which is a bonus, revenue-wise), but most will subconsciously avoid the decoy and choose the middle-tier option, which is precisely what you want them to do.
Many companies leverage this psychological principle (also known as the “asymmetric dominance effect”) to make us buy what they want. To learn more about decoy pricing, check out this post by Neil Patel at Marketing Land .
- Add an Opt-In Pop-Up Offer to Push Them Over the Edge
If you’re looking to increase sales in retail, don’t ignore the potential of opt-in offers – prompts that encourage people to sign up for your newsletter, mailing list, or loyalty programs. Using opt-in offers can not only significantly increase the number of contacts in your database (a major asset for future email marketing campaigns), but also increase online sales in the short term Prospective customers who are on the fence about buying from you may well be swayed by a well-placed opt-in offer for, say, free shipping, or 10% of their first order. Even if they decide against the purchase at that time, but do sign up for your opt-in offer, you’ve still added them to your database and they may choose to return later to complete the sale.
When launching an opt-in offer, be sure to test every element for maximum optimization. Test the phrasing of the copy, the position at which it appears on your site, and the flow that visitors are directed through the process. A/B test different offers and see which ones yield a greater volume of sign-ups. Consider having the pop-up be triggered by a site exit so visitors see it just before they’re about the leave the page. The more people that sign up for your newsletter or loyalty program, the more potential sales you can make in the future.
- Grow Online Sales with Mobile Optimization
The number of online businesses with poorly designed, badly optimized “mobile” sites is amazing.
Mobile search has already eclipsed desktop search in volume. If you don’t want to leave sales on the table, it’s vital that your site is optimized for mobile – and not purely from a technical perspective.
Make it as easy as possible for mobile visitors to buy whatever you’re selling. This may involve an extensive overhaul of your checkout process (see tip #18), or the design and launch of an entirely separate mobile site. Amazon’s mobile site is an excellent example of how mobile e-commerce can (and arguably should) be done, but you don’t need Amazon’s resources to create a compelling, user-friendly experience for visitors on mobile.
Navigation and user experience are among the most crucial elements of a well-designed, highly optimized mobile experience. The harder it is for visitors to find – and buy – what they want, the more likely they are to abandon your site altogether and take their business elsewhere. Pages should load near-instantaneously, and navigation should be logical. Don’t ask for too much information, only the bare minimum you need to either make the sale or market to prospects later. Allow visitors to come back to their carts later, even on another device. Don’t expect mobile visitors to convert in a single session, because they probably (almost definitely) won’t – but they might convert later, if you make it easy for them to do so.
Think of your mobile visitors and do everything you possibly can to make it effortless for them to buy from you while they’re on the go.
- Impress New Customers with an Amazing Follow-Up Email
Sadly, the customer experience typically ends for many businesses when they’ve finally got their hands on a customer’s money. This is a terrible mistake for customer retention. To increase sales volume online, make sure you have a thoughtful, considerate, genuinely useful follow-up procedure in place for new customers.
As a hardcore computer geek, I’m always ordering stuff from Newegg.com – replacement parts, new components, and other deliciously geeky stuff. The reason I’ve been a loyal Newegg customer for many years isn’t just the price of the goods (which is highly competitive), but rather the focus on customer service and the follow-up process Newegg has in place.
Whenever I place an order, I receive detailed summaries of my purchase (including vital tracking information so I can hit “Refresh” on the order page to see where my stuff is), as well as customer service information, links to relevant products I might be interested in, and all sorts of other resources. I’m prompted to leave reviews and feedback about my experience, encouraged to contact a real person if I have questions about my order, and can even discuss or answer questions about my purchase for other users who are considering buying whatever I just splurged on. Generally speaking, it’s just a great shopping experience – which is why I’ve been buying my hardware from Newegg for years.
Don’t forget about your customers as soon as they’ve given you their credit card details. The more attention you pay to them after they’ve bought something, the more likely they are to become fiercely loyal brand evangelists who will not only turn into satisfied repeat customers, but will also go and tell and their friends (and blog readers) about how great you are. When a customer buys something, offer them something for free (see tip #11). Talk to them on social media (more on this shortly). Send them a thoughtful, useful follow-up email with incentives to buy from you again. However you do it, make your customers feel like the precious little snowflakes they are – think relationships, not transactions.
- Nail Your Value Proposition – And Make It Immediately Obvious
Far too many companies lose sales and waste time by focusing on themselves. Remember how we discussed that people don’t want to buy things, only solve their problems? Well, another painful truth is that unless your customers are the brand evangelists we’ve been talking about, the vast majority of them don’t care about you or your company – only how your products or services will make their lives better. This is why your value proposition should take center stage in all your marketing communications and site content.
Essentially, your value proposition is the primary reason customers should buy from you, not your competitors, and the promise of the value prospects will receive by investing in whatever you’re selling. Value propositions can be broken down into three main areas:
- Relevance: How your product/service will solve customers’ problems
- Quantifiable value: The specific benefits your product/service offers
- Differentiator: Why customers should buy from you and not a competing company
When you break down a value proposition into these three components, it becomes easy to see why these elements should inform virtually everything about your marketing messaging and site content, from the copy on your homepage to the content of your email marketing campaigns. Why wouldn’t you focus exclusively on these aspects of your products?
Take a look at your landing page copy, sales collateral, and other marketing materials. Is the value proposition immediately obvious? If not, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Everything your prospects see should tie back to your value proposition in one way or another. The greater the perceived value you can create surrounding your products or services, the more sales you’ll make.
- Use the Voice of the Customer for More Resonant Ad Campaigns
Hopefully you’re already using PPC and paid social to expand your reach and find new audiences. However, the language you use in your campaigns can have a tremendous impact on your conversion rates (and, therefore, your sales), so my fourth tip is to use “the voice of the customer” in your campaigns – but what does this mean?
The voice of the customer is a market research technique that aligns copy with the needs, wants, pain points, expectations, and aversions of the consumer being targeted by that particular messaging. This process often includes language and phrasing used by customers themselves during market research and focus group testing.
The example above, from accounting software company FreshBooks, uses the voice of the customer to great effect. During its market research, FreshBooks discovered that its target market (small-business owners) found bookkeeping to be painful and challenging, and so it incorporated language used by its target market in its messaging.
This technique can be extraordinarily powerful, as you’re using the exact phrasing used by your ideal customers to reach your ideal customers. To learn more about how to incorporate this into your own campaigns, check out this post on the voice of the customer .
- Pinpoint Your Best Attribution and Conversion Paths
Sometimes, it feels as though you’re doing everything right, only to see your conversion rates hovering somewhere between “miserable” and “pathetic.” Oftentimes, this isn’t anything to do with the messaging or positioning of your ads (though it pays to look at this closely), but rather a misunderstanding of when and where conversions are happening.
One of the first things you should do if your conversion rates look low is to examine your attribution models and conversion pathways in Analytics. You may be surprised to find that parts of your marketing strategy that seem like conversion duds actually have a big influence on your online sales. For example, maybe organic search isn’t a great channel for converting into sales, but people who find you first through organic search, and then see a Facebook ad are highly like to become a paying customer. If that’s the case, you should double-down on content marketing and pour some money into Facebook remarketing too (see Tip #1, below).
- Actually Talk to Your Prospects on Social Media
Active engagement with prospects via social media is overlooked as a potential sales tool by far too many businesses because it is perceived as having a negligible impact on actual sales – when in fact this is one of the best ways you can increase brand awareness, customer satisfaction, and sales.
Think of a time when you tweeted at a company, or commented on a brand’s Facebook page – and the company actually responded to you personally. What effect did this have on your perception of that brand? I’ll wager it became significantly more favorable. Providing fast, honest answers to questions that potential customers have about your offerings is an excellent way to increase sales, as the more attention you are perceived as paying to potential customers, the more likely people are to want to buy from you. This also results in unsolicited social feedback among users themselves – the kind of brand exposure and “advertising” you just can’t buy (well, not in a way that sounds legitimate, anyway).
- Use Remarketing to Close Way More Deals
No matter whether you’re running a PPC campaign or a Facebook advertising campaign, any digital marketing initiative takes time, money, and effort to accomplish. If you’re not using remarketing, you’re essentially banking on prospective customers converting immediately, which almost never happens (and is exactly as crazy as it sounds).
If you’re working to increase online sales, you need to start trying techniques that your competitors haven’t even thought of yet.
To do this, you’ll need to test both time-honored and creative ways. Whatever you try, you should base it on the best research and make sure to test it yourself.
If it increases your conversions, keep it! If it doesn’t, move on to another way to boost the revenue on your site.