Learn 6 simple steps in order to alter your website and increase sales for your eCommerce business.
A few months ago, one of my eCommerce clients came to me with an unexpected question.
My client had £75,000 to spend on digital marketing for their eCommerce site and they wanted my advice in order to build an incredible campaign. “What campaign would I suggest?” “How would I invest half a million pounds into marketing?”
My response was not what they expected. In fact, it is probably not what you are expecting either.
I told my client that they should NOT invest £75,000 into their marketing.
Instead, I told them to spend money on boosting what I call ‘web engagement,’ for their eCommerce site.
I wanted to turn their web traffic into high volume sales. I knew that boosting web engagement would be cheaper than investing in marketing, but would still get the same outstanding results.
I strongly advised my client to use their £75,000 budget and make their web pages sing.
Here’s the thing: marketing drives web traffic to your eCommerce store. It’s a crucial element of eCommerce growth.
BUT: If you are going to invest energy and effort into marketing, you need to make sure you give your web visitors a meaningful experience on your website, so that they will end up buying your product or, at least, giving you their email address.
If you want to turn web traffic into sales, here is the real question you should be asking: how do we make our website incredibly engaging, so that people can’t resist buying?
Enter the art of engagement.
If the goal of marketing is to attract leads, then the goal of engagement is to transform leads into customers and, eventually, repeat customers.
Don’t forget the importance of increasing customer engagement, on your website. Instead, follow the 6 steps on this page and begin turning your web traffic into sales. You’ll get happy customers that can’t stop singing your praises and escape incredibly high marketing budgets.
When I first developed my own consulting site, I went with the same default thinking as everyone else. I cared a lot about my company - my story - so that’s what my site was about. I soon found out that my company's story is not all that important. A hard notion to swallow, sure. But, really - people don’t care about how great YOU are. They want to know how you can help THEM.
In my example, I had to start thinking of my consultancy website from my customer’s point of view. How did my team and I feature in the customer’s story rather than how did they feature in ours?
It was actually a great experience to think about what I did, from the customer’s point of view. I revisited the most important thing: am I giving my clients enough value? Am I selling them something that will really transform and enrich their lives? Does my company truly solve a problem for those visiting and purchasing from my website?
The truth is, my website could have continued to be an ego boost but it would also continue to have a high bounce rate with little or no conversion. (FYI, a high bounce rate focuses on how many people come and go really quickly.)
Instead, I learned from brands like Apple and began to re-imagine my products and services. I began to understand how I could better help my customers.
The digital experience, for my customers, became one of the key features of all our eCommerce sites too and is high on our strategy list. The net result included lower bounce rate, more engagement, more customers and more brand advocates.
So, here it is. If you want to turn traffic into sales, there is one question you first have to answer:
Write your answer down and glance at what you have written. Every other thing that you add to your eCommerce site must help your customer to overcome that problem. Whether it is product text, images, videos or an ‘about’ page. Every part of your website must look to solve your customer's problem. In my opinion, this is the secret to creating a WOW, digital experience.
Ecommerce entrepreneurs: are you ready to do a little math?
Here’s one remarkable formula: traffic x (times) engagement = (equals) impact
Otherwise known as the ‘multiplier effect,’ this formula is a simple strategy to help you maximise customer engagement.
In other words, if your competitors have 4 times the amount of traffic you do and 10 times greater engagement, their impact is 40 times more powerful. So the turnover on their sales will be 40 times bigger than yours, right?
To fix this problem, you cannot simply look to increase traffic. The multiplier effect states you must increase both traffic and engagement to boost sales. You have to think about engagement as well as traffic to trigger a multiplier effect on your turnover.
How do you measure engagement? The answer is tied in with purpose.
For most eCommerce websites, the purpose of the website is to generate leads and convert those leads to customers.
Take my well-known beauty website Jersey Beauty Company - it’s purpose is to engage anyone who comes to this website in such a way that they become customers – loyal customers – and, ultimately, evangelists for the website, as they review their experience with friends and family.
What is the purpose of your website?
Once you have answered the above question, you can decide how successfully you are achieving your goal.
Look at what the purpose of your site is; decide how well you are achieving this resolve and then you will have a unique measure of engagement.
For example, let’s say the purpose of a charity website is to raise donations. You would measure engagement by asking the question “how many donations are being made?” You might have a corporate website that is not necessarily an ecommerce website, but it is there for a reason. It has a purpose – it might be to get people to call you, to contact you, to generate leads, and that is how we measure engagement for that site.
To really understand how engaging your site is, you have to understand what your website is designed to do, and what it is you want it to do.
You could look at things like sales, look at visitors and look at returning customers. You could even measure how many people give you their email address and opt into some of the content.
At this stage, you should have decided on:
Now, you need to understand one of the easiest ways to turn traffic into sales = craft headlines like Netflix.
Netflix 1997, CO founded by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph. The idea was to offer online movie rentals, and start to compete with the highly successful Blockbuster company. Netflix had a great idea: do everything by mail for a simple low-monthly fee. This would reduce their overheads and allow them to disrupt the industry just a little bit.
Not only did they have a great product, but they also had a great way of marketing it.
They had to draw in visitors to their website and very quickly convince people this was a fantastic service, which was worth the $20 monthly fee - that was the pTheir website had to engage people straight away.
Sound familiar? How do we engage people?
And herein lies one of the fundamental problems, as technology gets better, our attention span seems to get shorter.
These days, your website has to catch people in an instant. Bounce rates are increasing at an alarming rate. People move on quickly, within just a few seconds. Netflix discovered, quite early on, that one of the key ingredients to keeping people on their site was a simple headline, uncluttered by other design features.
They worked on the design, the location and the content of their headline. The more they did this, the more customers began to engage with their site.
After studying sites like Netflix, we spotted a pattern in their headlines that made it easy for us, and our customers, to always craft headlines like Netflix. Headlines that worked well, without the need to be a copywriter. You just had to follow a simple three step formula:
Once we started to follow this formula, creating headlines become a lot easier. For us, and our customers. It felt like we’d hit the customer engagement jackpot! Changing this one feature often had one of the largest effects on engagement.
SO LET’S BREAK IT DOWN
When you look at a Netflix headline “Watch TV Programmes and Films, Anytime, Anywhere” it fits nicely into our three point headline formula
The customer is the point. The headline tells the customer of a transformation they will experience. The headline makes the customer the hero, not your company. The headline makes them the subject, not your product. It makes them the focus.
Put a headline on your homepage now. Why? The purpose of your homepage is to get people off it and onto another page as soon as possible. It’s that simple. The only time this rule changes is when the home page is really the only key landing page of the site. You want to get visitors off your home page and on to a specific landing page - a page that is targeted and relevant to them - as quickly as you can, because the more relevant the content to your customer, the more they engage with your site.
My client Chris and I were working on his website. We were sitting in his office, on his couch looking at the big screen in front of us. The Netflix homepage was up, as he wanted to understand the principles to encourage increased engagement on his own website.
I asked Chris to tell me what stood out about the Netflix homepage. What are some of the elements that he immediately noticed. He called out the headline pretty much immediately. He mentioned their sub-headline, their call to action and their scroll. They were easy to define.
But there was something about their site that he couldn’t define, something he couldn’t put his finger on. He just had a sense that it was important somehow. I knew how he felt. I had been in the same place at some point. It had taken me awhile to figure it out. The answer is: how Netflix uses its images to tell most of it’s marketing story. What they did was remarkably simple, yet remarkably powerful:
Chris felt the same excitement I did when I saw this. The question was how could he use the same principles on his own site. What would those images look like for him? He could have ignored this and used the standard images that everyone uses that seemed to have blended into the background. The good news is, he thought more about his customer, and learned how to tell their story through the images. It was a fun project that had great effect on how customers would engage with his site.
My point is simple: use images of people that represent your customer on your website.
And here is a top tip… if your website does not have a hero image, you need to get one. In web design, a hero image is a banner image, prominently placed on a home page. The hero image is often the first visual a visitor encounters on the site; it presents an overview of the site's most important content.
At this stage you will understand your customer's problem, you will have used imagery of them and headlines to pull them deeper into your website. But let’s back up a second. Have you considered what you will ask your customers to do on each webpage, for your business?
A call to action is an instruction, usually in the form of a clickable button on your site. You are asking your customer to take action and do something that will enrich your connection with them. For example “buy our books,” “sign up now,” “call our dental practice.”
To create a clear Call To Action you have to:
Ultimately, when your web visitor visits your eCommerce store, they want to be told exactly where to click. They want instructions, they don’t want to have to think hard to understand how your website works. Make it simple for them to click through your homepage and buy, using clear, call to action buttons.
One primary call to action per page is all you need. No more. No less. Simply decide on one call to action and then post the button 3 times on your page, at various stages of the web scroll. For some of you, this might require going through each web page asking “what is the purpose of this page?” Then, rearrange your site accordingly.
People have got used to scrolling websites thanks to the rise of browsing on smartphones. No longer do you have to have everything on the “first fold” (the first part of the screen that a visitor sees before scrolling down).
Customers are now happy to scroll down. It is, in fact, their preferred way to browse. If they scroll, they are looking for more information before hitting your Call to Action button. Therefore, that button needs to appear at very regular intervals, to save people scrolling back up if they are ready to click and take the next step. That’s what we did on the e-commerce website. Amazon have started to play around with this idea but in a slightly different way. When you scroll on the Amazon website - the buy now button remains in the top right of the screen. This is also another way to do it. It is almost impossible for you to overdo the Call to Action button. Therefore, repeat it regularly on your site.
Here’s the template I use for my skincare site, Jersey Beauty Company:
THE PLAN. This is where you break down what the customer has to do into a simple plan.
For Jersey we might say :
In the past, you’ve heard the same old story: shout loud about your company and you will increase sales.
Now, I have switched the script, and I’m asking you to do the same.
Focus on making your website engaging for visitors. Don’t simply make your website look good in your eyes, think about how your customer shops and what messages will make them click and purchase, while scrolling through your site.
I encourage you to invest in boosting your web engagement. Invest time, money, find a copywriter rather than a web coding contractor. Make your website engaging in the eyes of your customer. And then delight in incredible results!
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