1. A/B test your webpage
A/B testing or split testing is a method you can use to pick the best possible version of a webpage (amongst a few) based on how they convert. It’s an extremely powerful tool to use, as it gives you the possibility, with minimum investment, to choose the version that brings you the best results.
You take for example 2 versions of your homepage and you divert 50% of your traffic to one version and the other 50% to the second version. The winner page will be the one converting higher. That is the webpage you should be using. You should have several A/B tests happen on your website at all times, in order to have an overall website that converts the most of its visitors.
If you want to do this, make sure you know what to test. Here you have a list of things you should be testing about your website, at all times:
- The headline. 5 times more people read your headline that the body of your copy. That is why testing the most convincing and powerful headline is a really important thing to do
- Navigation: how easy it is to navigate and find things on your page
- Page layout: test the most attractive layout of your website pages
- Your offer: what are you providing for your customer’s money
- The size of your different call-to-action buttons: be it a subscription call, try out call or buy call. Changing the size of this button can make it more visible and influence sales
- Media: video, pictures or other material
- 2 totally different versions to see which one works best
Google Analytics – Experiments
2. Create a compelling and clear value proposition
“A value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered and a belief from the customer that value will be experienced. A value proposition can apply to an entire organization, or parts thereof, or customer accounts, or products or services” – Wikipedia
Before even thinking in changing color, layout, shapes, images, media and so on on your website, the first thing you should make sure is in place is your promise of value. What is your value proposition? Is it visible on your website? On your home page? It is written in an attractive manner?
How to make sure you have a good value proposition? Well, for once, it needs to set your offer apart. To make your customer perceive the extra value he or she is getting from buying from you. Secondly, it needs to match your competition offer except one – the one where you stand out by far.
The process of crafting your value proposition should go through the initial phase of reflection – thinking about the value you are offering and what is that is different from your competitors – and the second phase – the one in which you transform the value proposition from phase one into one incredible catchy and credible phrase! This phrase will be the one you will promote on your outgoing materials, be it website, business card and so on.
Of course, you should test it, make a few variations and do an A/B testing to see which one is the most effective in attracting sales.
3. Address objections before your visitors do
If your visitors have objections to anything related to what you are offering, chances are they will just leave your website instead of contacting you to resolve their objections. That is why you should resolve their objections right in the copy of your webpages.
First, you should make a list with all possible objections your customers might have. Then, include in your website text the answers to all these objections. In this list, make sure you include answers to these kind of objections:
- Your customer might say you don’t understand their problem (then explain the problems your product solves)
- They might question why should they believe you? (show off your credentials, experience, awards etc)
- Customers might doubt whether it does work for them? (have testimonials of all kinds of users that have benefited from your product)
- They might think it’s not worth the money, there are cheaper alternatives out there (explain your price, compare with the competition, prove the value your product offers)
The list might go on until you finish off all the doubts your customers might bring up. You can use customer feedback, external input or testing in order to make this list as complete as possible.
It’s important to address in the copy of your website all the objections possible, as this will increase the chances that your visitors will stay and get to become customers too.
4. Increase trust
There are 4 reasons why people won’t buy, according to Zig Ziglar: they don’t have a need, they don’t have the money, they don’t feel the urgency or they don’t trust the buyer. You can’t do much about the first 3, but you definitely can build your future customer’s trust.
Here is a list of a few things you could do:
- Make it visible on your website that there’s a real organization behind. You can do this by listing a physical address, posting a photo of your offices or listing a membership with the chamber of commerce.
- Build website credibility by making it easy for visitors to check the accuracy of what you’re saying. Provide third-party support (citations, testimonials, articles in well-known publications, source material) for the information you present.
- If you have a certain expertise in your team, or a valuable collaborator, make sure you highlight it in the content and services you provide. Also, give credentials. Link to external sites if you are affiliated with them. Only make sure these sites are credible, otherwise it will only damage your credibility.
- Update your site’s content often through your blog or news feed. People assign more credibility to sites that show they have been recently updated or reviewed. Nothing yells ”out of business” more than an abandoned blog.
- Another way to build trust is through your employees. Show that honest and trustworthy people stand behind your site – use images, text, biographies that tell not just about the professional, but also about the personal side of your people.
- It should be really easy for anyone to contact you. This is a simple way to boost your site’s credibility – make your contact information clear: phone number, physical address, and email address.
- Professional website design. People quickly evaluate a site (and a business implicitly) by visual design alone. Invest in a professional designer, as an amateur looking website will be easily spotted and will kill trust. Pay attention to layout, typography, images, consistency issues, and so forth.
- Don’t over do it with any promotional content (e.g., ads, offers). Nobody likes hype, pop ups and blinking banners. People associate it with scam and spam and therefore make the same impression about your website. Avoid them at all if possible.
- Research shows that sites win credibility points by being both easy to use and useful. So invest in making your site easy to use and also, useful (at least) for the target people you’re having. Do some usability tests to optimize your website.
- Writing style: be clear, direct, and sincere. Avoid at all costs errors of all types, no matter how small they seem. Spelling errors and broken links hurt a site’s credibility more than most people imagine.
- It’s also important to keep your site fast, up and running. A website that will take a lot of time to load will bore people and make them leave. And fast.
There are more small things that can help you build credibility, but the list above is a really good start you should definitely implement.
5. Follow a sales funnel
You need to be aware that customers need to go through a certain experience before they decide to buy. If you place the call-to-action too fast in this process, for some reason the visitor is not ready to listen. And you will lose him.
As a rule of thumb, the more complex your product, the more time & education people will need in advance to be ready to commit.
As shown in the picture above, you need to first raise awareness through educational activities: generating useful content, ebooks, videos etc. Anything that will make your visitor eager to know more, start to trust you and become conscious about the need of that product you’re selling.
The next step would be to persuade your curious visitor into subscribing to your newsletter. Offer him free useful materials, becoming his trustful consultant.
Next, allow him to dip a toe – try a demo or a part of your product for free, so that he sees how your product can help him for real. Only after this, your visitor will actually convert.
Don’t be afraid to slow down. It is said that people in average need 7 points of contact before they decide to take action. No need to worry, as long as you have the sales funnel strategy in place and follow it.
6. Simplify the buying process
Your buying process is another key element that needs to be perfect in order to have more conversions. It needs to be simple, easy, fast and with as few clicks as possible. As few pages as possible. As few fields to fill in as possible. And with no registration, if possible. Add the option to sign up via their Facebook or Google account.
Tell your users what they should do next. Tell them what needs to be done further. In the same time, avoid giving them too many choices. This will most probably result in the visitor deciding not to buy, as deciding from too many options will inevitably lead to choosing nothing. Choice paralyzes.
If you do have a lot of products, build better filters, so your prospects could identify the right one for them without spending too much time.
Another thing that will make a huge difference is the free shipping option. Free shipping was the most popular motivation for 82% of UK and 80% of US consumers in a study conducted by eConsultancy. It also gives sellers that offer this option a clear advantage over competitors.
7. Communicate the value you’re offering
Take a look at the example below, of a shoe holder:
Chrome 10-Tier Rolling Shoe Rack
- It can hold up to 50 pairs of women’s shoes
- Made from sturdy chrome-plated steel
- Ten tiers with non-slip bars
- Simple, tool-free assembly
- Exclusive to The Container Store
Price: 79 USD
Would this convince you to buy based just on what is listed here? Most probably not. Still, there are so many website that resume to listing a few features of the product and expect it to sell.
Luckily the site where we took this example doesn’t make this mistake. They provide context to using this product, a funny description, they provide rating and, very important, they have people commenting and promoting this product, as it is a really good one. They’ve also added a separate section on “Community Q&A” and another one on “Expert tips”. You basically have everything you need to know about the product AND the VALUE this product brings to your home. The description is really good!
The key thing when selling something is to add as much information as possible – pages after pages, own information, reviews, pictures, video, testimonials etc. It’s true that only 16% of the visitors will read it all, but this 16% are the ones that matter, as they are the ones most likely to buy the product.
Your goal is to provide enough information and VALUE so that readers can convince themselves to buy!
Also, make sure you don’t list the product price only after you have listed the VALUE of the product. The last thing you want is people to make a snap judgment based on the price and abandon the buying process before finding out about the value included in the price.
8. Compare with the competition before they do
No matter what products or services you have, there will be competition. And people, before buying, will do their homework in researching your offering and that of your competition. That is why it’s better to do your own comparison with the competition – before they do.
People are lazy by nature and usually they only check a few features and the price before buying. By simplifying this process and including a comparison with your competitors on your own website – you make it easy for lazy people to decide what to buy. Plus, you avoid losing them by letting them go on other websites to check on other offers & be convinced maybe by your competitor’s offers.
Check competitor’s websites – see if they are already doing this comparison. Make sure you add something different and that your offer is more valuable than theirs. So that your visitors have no reason to go check your competitors websites.
The easiest way (and the classical one) is to make a comparison table (as shown in the picture above), but you can also find more creative ways to do so. If your product is more complex, then you should be more descriptive. Just make sure you have a comprehensive and attracting comparison, it will only do you good!
9. Reduce or remove risk
Usually inside a sale action, the buyer takes all the risk. When the risk perceived is too big, the possible future buyer might abandon the buying. That is why the chances of buying increase when the seller takes all or part of the purchase risk.
There are several ways in which you as a seller can take part in reducing (partially or completely) the risk of the buyer:
- Offer a long term warranty, especially for long term goods. For example, Hyundai offered a 10 years long warranty and this way they build credibility, being confident in the product they were offering. Clients were happy they had this risk removed and sales went up considerably.
- Guarantees for being on time. If you need repairing fast and you agree on a term, and the seller will be late, he will pay for every minute they’re late. And this also enhances the seller’s credibility before the sale.
- Pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free. If you’re ordering something time sensitive, such as food, the delivery time is a concern. If the seller can guarantee that it will be on time otherwise it will be free, this fear is eliminated and people trust more to order from you.
- Besides giving the money back, think about also compensating for your clients pain. This is the
most powerful kind of guarantee – a pain compensation guarantee.
30 days or more money back guarantee is a common guarantee you should definitely have, as a minimum. If possible, offer more. A/B test your guarantees to see which performs best for your product or service.
10. Add incentives to take action right away
Make sure you add in your copy incentives to take action immediately. The tone of your voice, the deadlines and pending offers are all meant to increase urgency to take action.
It’s hard to believe (for some) that this might work, but it actually does. Nothing creates more urgency to buy than the feeling of scarcity.
There are two types of scarcity you can include in your offer:
- time-related scarcity (last hours to buy at this price)
- quantity-related scarcity (3 seats left at the reduced price)
If you can’t add scarcity because the offer of you have is endless, give-out bonuses or free gifts that are time sensitive or in a limited number.
Remember though to be authentic. There is no need to lie your customers, be fake or break the trust you have so hard build in your customers so far.