Conversion rates are often discussed by SEO consultants but are rarely understood. The are one of the most important facotrs in converting organic search into a sound ROI,, and yet very rarely get the true attention, in actions, that they deserve. Instead, there are way too many companies out there who focus solely on traffic, seeing only that more visitors should mean more sales. See how hiring me as a consultant can help your business' online presence.
Let us begin by looking at the true equation:
# of Visitors x Conversion rate = # of Sales
As far back as 2002, detailed studies showed that the vast majority of eCommerce websites around were attaining a conversion rate of less than 2 percent. For 80 percent of all ecommerce sites, less than one visitor in 50 was actually in london making a purchase! That figure honestly has not changed very much in all the years since.
If we place this 2 percent conversion rate into an example of 500 visitors, we would see our equation as:
500 visitors x 2% conversion rate = 10 sales
To place this into sharp focus, imagine this as a daily figure. 500 visitors per day, leading to ten actual sales per day.
To increase sales by 50 percent (to 15 sales per day) the site could either try to raise its traffic by 50 percent (another 250 visitors per day) or else it could try to raise the conversion rate from that meagre 2 percent to a still-very-modest 3 percent. For most small businesses, raising the conversion rate will be by far the more attainable goal.
How can you increase conversion rates?
To increase the rate of customer conversions you need to examine the factors involved, and evaluate and improve them where possible.
- When we buy from high-street retailers, or from local stores, we generally require certain Languages. This applies just as readily to online shopping as it does to our offline purchasing, so look at the following aspects of your site:
Offer Greater Convenience
- All ecommerce stores are (or should be) equally accessible - you enter the URL in your browser and you're there. Of course, making your site more accessible through search engines and links does help greatly in making your ecommerce website be the most convenient (or at least, the closest one to wherever the visitor was surfing before).
- Deep-links, that is, links that go direct into the deeper, more specific content of your website, offer greater convenience to your visitors. Where visitors do arrive at your homepage, make sure that the navigation is clear and simple, making your store easy (and convenient) to browse.
- How easy is it to browse your site? Can I get to the order form for a specific make and model of your products from your homepage in 4 or fewer clicks? If not, improve things.
- Beware of abandoned shopping carts - ensure that the payment and ordering process is also convenient. Once clients have chosen their goods, the checkout process should be as smooth, swift and reassuring as possible.
- On the same topic, the order page is not the place to spring surprises on clients. If there are shipping or packing charges, be sure your clients know this before they get to the checkout process.
- You never want to appear to be slipping extra charges in at the last moment, or hiding the full price. It destroys trust. This is believed to cause thousands of clients to abandon their shopping cart at the last moment each day.
Offer More Value for Money
- It is not essential to have the lowest prices, nor the highest quality goodss, provided you provide a balance between the two that speaks of value for money.
- Few people actually buy the cheapest car on the market, nor the highest quality one, its value for money that counts.
- People will generally happily pay more for extra value such as guarantees; better or more personal service; better, faster or more convenient delivery arrangements and so forth.
- If you think your visitors are looking for a better price deal you can try adding in value extras to tip the balance of value for money a little.
- See my simple article on Adjusting clients' price expectations for a few thoughts about making products seem to offer greater value for money.
The most important thing for any salesman is to present the right image. We all look for subtle clues about honesty, respectability and trustworthiness from anyone we deal with, and especially anyone we are giving money to.
The same thing applies to your website. If the website were the clothes of your salesman, would he be wearing an Armani suit, or Primani jeans?
Make sure your website makes your company seem both reputable and accountable. Ensuring that you give an address, possibly a map to your company's premises will help establish trust. Likewise, a list of important company staff members, and a profile of the company itself establishes a sense of honesty.
Take a fresh look at the sites that you yourself may have purchased from in the past. Look hard and try to see what visual clues reassured you that this was a reputable and professional company. Learn from those examples, and seek to emulate the same trust and credibility factors in your own site.
No detail is too small, if that might be the detail that a customer notices and acts upon.
Increase your options
One of the most often overlooked ways to increase conversion rates is to develop additional revenue streams. You can see this clearly on many of the most successful eCommerce sites, where they combine income from advertising with income from sales and with income from affiliate referrals.
- By combining multiple revenue streams, every visitor may well be contributing to your overall income, first in terms of being part of your advertising audience, whether or not they go on to buy from your site, or follow an affiliate link to earn you a commission payment.
- Bidding for the advertising space directly, where the highest bidder wins. This allows you to get normally expensive advertising at great prices.
- Allowing publishers to reverse bid on your advertising criteria, where the lowest bidder wins. This allows you to get the advertising you want at the best price.
- By making an offer for advertising space, this allows you to make an offer which the publisher can either accept or deny. If accepted you will get the advertising space at a price you are willing to pay.
- By requesting a quote from agencies and service providers in the Classifieds area.
- By requesting an advertising product or service in the wanted area and accept the best offers. This allows you to get the right advertising space at the right price.
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He is a London Based SEO guru, who not only practices what he preaches but has possibly the best track record in the industry.
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