July 30, 2013

Turning Your Visitors Into Customers

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How long would stay on your own website or Etsy store before clicking away to another to try and find a better deal? Five minutes? Four minutes? Unfortunately that call is impossible to make as you’re automatically biased towards your own business, no matter how objective you try to be.

The reality is if you have no personal ties to a website you’re only going to give it half a minute – or even less – before you take off for better pastures. Even your friends that promised they would try to find something in your shop they love only clicked over long enough to make themselves feel better. It’s harsh, but it’s true – getting people to stick around long enough to affect your bottom line is one of the hardest aspects of business.

The key to figuring out how to turn visitors into customers is to think why YOU would stay on your website. What would be so intriguing to you as a browser that you would whip out your credit card and turn into a shopper? To help answer that, eCommerce expert Kat Simpson provided the following excellent tips!

Don’t Bombard Them

One of the easiest ways to chase away visitors without them buying a thing is to bombard them with stuff on your website. Whether it’s a bunch of ads, pleas to buy your stuff, pop-ups, or even tons of pictures that confuse the eye, too much clutter can make sure nobody stays long enough to buy anything.

You can still keep all this stuff; just make sure it’s nice and neat. This isn’t a Geocities page in the 90s, it’s a business website and/or store. Make the ads a little more subtle and off to the side. Get rid of the autoplaying videos and music. Organize photos and copy into a more pleasant manner so people don’t click away from the sheer horror at your eyesore. You want to come off as professional, and…

Provide a Clear Pathway

On the web, people will typically not do anything unless you explicitly tell them to. Regarding your friends and family above – how many sales did you get out of them when you told them about your new website and store? Probably not a ton…and those people love you.

But really, why should we expect anything else? Think of it in real world terms: if there was a store in the middle of a field with no sidewalk or road leading to it, and you couldn’t see the door, would you still visit it? Likely not, even though the sign promises good things and the people inside look friendly. You simply have better things to do than try out random stores that don’t offer you anything.

So if you’re not grabbing their hand and leading them right where you want them to go, they’re not going to buy from you. Make the number of clicks from first visit to first sale as short as possible and provide incentive along the way. If you are asking for unnecessary steps from your customer – like posting on Facebook or filling out a long registration form – eliminate them.

Speaking of Facebook, make sure you’re utilizing social media well. Try out all the different services (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, make a video for YouTube, etc.) to see which ones work best. Find previous customers and invite them to like your page. In fact, everyone who goes through your site should be invited to follow you on social media – they may not buy anything today, but further incentive could lead them back.

Be Up Front With Your Policies

One last tip from Kat: don’t let hard-to-find policies get in the way of a sale. Potential customers visiting your website have been around the web and know not every online store is on the up and up. What you have to do is to prove to them you’re one of the good guys.

This doesn’t take much. Just put up a page with your various policies, like the return policy and any authentication you’ve been awarded. Customer service is a huge deal with every business, but in eCommerce it’s absolutely essential to go above and beyond. Provide this excellent customer service and you’ve automatically got a leg up on other businesses out there trying to turn visitors into customers.

How do you turn visitors into customers?

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