It's getting more and more ruthless out there on the Internet.
Like me, I'm sure you are working hard to either set up online businesses that competes from day one, or to maximise the opportunities for your existing online business.
But the thing is, a lot of us have missed some easy opportunities through not covering the basics in our online infrastructure. All of us are probably guilty of missing at least one quick win.
So before you worry about how much money to throw at marketing, or taking some other drastic action, maybe it's time to revisit the major part of your online business, your website.
If it's not working at its hardest to convert for you, then your entire business will suffer. And it's not as hard as you think to get it working at maximum capacity.
In this article I will tell you 10 easy things that people miss in their online infrastructure, so that you can visit your own website and check you are not falling into the trap.
1. Show Your Visitors Benefits Not Features
All of us are passionate about the product or service we provide. Everyone who joins my Automated Business System is passionate about what they are going to sell. I'm passionate about what I sell.
So don't let that passion blind you when it comes to selling the benefits of it on your website.
It's an often made mistake, which you will have seen time and time again. The website sales copy lists features. It tells you how great the product is. It tells you how long it took to perfect, and how passionately the team believes in it.
But never does it actually connect with the reader by telling them what it can do for them, how it can help them, and why their life will be improved the take you up on your great offer.
2. Define And Shout About Your Unique Selling Point
The truth is that what ever niche you are in, you're going to be in a crowded marketplace. Because the price and skill point of setting up an online business is lower than ever before, there are more more people crowding into every sales opportunity.
To define your own position in the marketplace, you have to have a unique selling point.
As the owner of the business (or even just a new business idea) I really hope that you know what you're USP is. If not, then look for things within what you do that can become a high-quality USP. It could be free installation, free shipping, or a superior warranty.
It could be something personal, such as direct contact with you. Whatever it is, define it and shout about it… But remember to shout about it as a benefit to your potential customer!
3. Always Tell People Who You Are
People do business with people they trust. They also want to know that they are not going to disappear overnight.
So tell people who you are, really who you are, not some fake persona. Tell potential customers about your likes and dislikes, allow them to get to know you, allow them to find out enough about you to see you as more than a nameless Internet business.
And when it comes to hard information on your website, show people trust by having a physical address. And the phone number, and an email address. Give them every possible reassurance that you are proud of who you are, and won't vanish.
I know you want to convert customers, so why wouldn't you have a phone number? It allows the nervous out there to contact you for reassurance. It also allows the unconvinced to contact you directly, allowing you a direct sales conversion opportunity.
Tell people who you are and how they can contact you, otherwise the truth is that you are not proud of your business.
4. Make Navigation Easy To....Navigate
It may sound obvious, but don't make your site into a ludicrous clicking exercise just to find information or make a sale.
The way people navigate your site should be clear and intuitive. In this age of mobile apps, where simple navigation has been made into a digital art form in itself, you are committing a criminal offence by having a poorly structured website.
Do you need drop downs showing every category and product? Are you really making it easy for visitors to find information, or is it buried six clicks deep?
If you are not sure, give your website to someone who is not intuitive. Your mum, your grandpa, your child. Tell them to make a purchase. Watch them and see how quickly they can do it, you may be surprised how difficult the average web user will find it.
When people visit a website you have about five seconds to captivate their attention. It's the same with shopping cart abandonment, unless the process is quick and easy, people will start to doubt the purchase and walk away.
But website owners often forget about all that bit in the middle, the conversion process between landing and checking out. If you make that process of discovery torturous, then you will have high bounce rates and less sales.
5. Investigate Why People Are Abandoning Purchases
In some industries, online shopping cart abandonment can hit 70%. But on the flipside of that horrendous statistic, up to 75% of those first time abandon as will return to complete the purchase.
What this is telling you is that many people get to the point of purchase and then bale out. You need to do everything in your power to make sure that they have the reassurance to complete the purchase in confidence, first time.
Simply by connecting with your customers, overcoming their objections and making the whole process as simple as possible, you can increase your first time conversion rate.
So does your online shopping cart allow people to make accounts? If it does, have you got it set up to send an email in the event of an abandoned cart? I don't mean some generic email, I mean a real heartfelt message from yourself, offering them an incentive, or your phone number, anything, to get them to reconsider the purchase.
6. Your Testimonials Don't Convey Trust
Testimonials help convince potential customers that you are trustworthy, provide great service and that your existing customers are very happy with what you have done for them.
But the problem is, people also know that testimonials are easily faked.
If your testimonials don't scream honesty, it can actually be hurting your conversion rate. Take a look at the ones on your website. If they are not properly attributed, or sound cheesy and generic, what would you conclude?
To make the testimony really credible, get a photo of the customer. Ask them for some heartfelt words, and if they are a business owner, ask if you can link to their website. Offer them an incentive to do this if necessary.
Research data from Quicksprout has shown that a customer testimonial with compelling photo alone can double the trust in that review.
7. Nobody Can Find Your Online History
Just as on site testimonials can help or hinder your conversion rate, so offsite testimonials and reviews can do the same.
Now it is obvious that a poor review will lower your conversion rate.
But what is less obvious is if there is no social proof anywhere online about you it can also lower your conversion rate.
If people search for your business on Google, they would expect to find something if you are a successful business. If they can't they will conclude you are not one.
It is well known that consumers search for reviews and that those reviews influence their buying making decision.
So you need to get positive reviews online. You can do this through offering existing customers an incentive to do a review.
You can also offer a current or future additional benefit by asking them to click to complete a review after checkout.
And don't forget about making your review process easy for mobile users. More and more online shopping is done using mobile phones, and if the way your customer can leave a review is not streamlined for mobile, then they simply won't complete the process.
8. Your Brand Messaging Is Not Consistent
When people are researching products and shopping online, they need a simple, clear and consistent message at all times. They have a need and they think you can fulfil it for them and they want you to do it as quickly as possible.
If at any stage of the process they feel like things are not going exactly how they thought they would, they will walk away.
So you need to keep them emotionally and visually on target at all times. This means producing clear, what the advertising industry call "scent trails". They need to be clear paths to achieve what they want, using clear and consistent wording and images.
If they have come to you from social media, it must feel like smooth continuity when they land on your website. If any stage things feel disjointed, it will give them pause for thought. You need to avoid this all costs.
9. Don't Use Offers To Ambush People
You probably have seen this before. Probably in bricks and mortar retail advertising.
They advertise a fantastic offer, one which is irresistible, which you just have to buy. When you visit, outside the store the same amazing offer is prominently advertised as well. It's the bargain of the century.
But once you get inside, there's no sign of it. It's either sold out, or stuffed away in a corner at the back of the store. Suddenly you feel like they have sucked you in, hoping you will pick up something else instead when you cannot get hold of the product you came in for.
But what these people don't realise is that a lot of the time, customers just turn around and walk out.
They don't want to mess around trying to find an alternative for a similar price.
And more importantly, the potential customer loses trust forever.
So be upfront about what you have to offer. Make sure that however they visit your website, its prominent, and visible throughout the process to making the sale.
If you want to make and up sell, or cross sell, that's fine. But be upfront about it. Don't deceive people by dragging them in to look for something you are not actually going to sell to them.
10. Always Develop Your Business With Customer Feedback
You will never be able to change your online sales process if you don't know where to start. The best way to know where to start is simply to ask the people going through that process.
So get customers, and potential customers feedback at every step of the process.
If somebody is leaving your sales funnel through unsubscribing, offer them an incentive to give you feedback on why they are leaving it at that point. The information they give you could be gold dust, and lead to a much higher conversion rate in the future.
If the customer abandons a cart, offer them an incentive to tell you why.