3 Rules For Increasing Online Sales

5-16Three Simple Rules for Better Online Marketing

In today’s vast virtual economy, the web makes it easy to buy virtually anything your heart desires. While that’s great for consumers, it also means that retailers who sell through the Internet are facing an ever-increasing body of competition. Which begs an important question: how do you stand out from the crowd and generate clicks when consumers are ready to make a purchase?

A great place to start is by following these three simple “rules of online marketing.”

Rule #1:  Optimise your Website for Specific Products

When a consumer sits down and starts to filter through the search results, they are going to be paying attention to details. This is especially true for customers who are purchase driven. If someone is typing a long-tailed keyword like “red and white Nike running shoes for training” into a search engine, it is likely that they have already made the decision to buy this specific item. Their search indicates that they are now narrowing down their options in order to find the best retailer from which to make their purchase.

That’s where optimising your website for specific products comes in. If you have done the groundwork and used SEO and keyword placement to establish your business as a premier provider for “Nike running shoes for training” through SEO and keyword placement, there is a good chance this customer will end buying from you.

This technique of establishing a dominant position for specific, purchase driven long-tail keywords will not only bring you more web traffic; it will also bring you more customers who are ready to make a purchase.

Rule #2: Offer Value Before Pushing the Purchase

In staying with the theme of specialising in products, it is always a good idea to offer some “free,” valuable information to people who are shopping for the items that you sell. The reason for doing this is that it establishes you as an expert on that specific product, which in turn builds trust with consumers.

Going back to our Nike example, let’s say you have an article in your blog titled: “How to Choose the Best Shoe for Your Foot Shape.” While the subject may seem mundane to you, there are a lot of customers who really want to know this information. Thus, you are illustrating that you understand finding the right show can be difficult, and want to make your customer’s life much easier.

Notice that in this example, you have not technically implied that they should buy from you. Instead, you are simply offering consumers free expert advice. This is key because it allows the reader to drop their defenses. Then, deep into the article, you can include some links back the specific products you’ve mentioned. For example:

“Many runners with flat-feet seem to find great comfort in wearing the Nike Flat-X 3000.”

Providing this nugget of information is great, and now a flat-footed customer is more likely to end up at your purchase page because they have already decided that they trust your recommendations. You have presented them with solution for their specific need and by approaching them with suggestions, instead of a sales pitch, have already started to lead your site visitors down the path of a sale.

Rule #3: Say Thank you

People who have already shopped and purchased from you are far more likely to do respond to promotions and special offers then are new website visitors. For this reason, it’s important to keep your repeat customers happy. Once a customer has made a purchase from you, try to continuously give them a feeling of exclusivity. This goes far beyond a simple auto-reply email stating “thank you for your purchase.” Instead, offer your repeat customers coupons, additional value-based content, and opportunities to provide you with their feedback.

To make building long-term relationships with your customers even more effective, make sure you are capturing and saving their personal details. Not only will this help you to build up a general customer database, but you’ll also be able send these customer’s unique offers specific to their age/gender/interests, etc. Remember that in marketing, the more closely you’re communications match the preferences and wants of your customer, the more likely you are to make a sale.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about here:

Say you are running a 20% discount on all football equipment. It would make sense to market this discount to any past consumers that had purchased cleats, jerseys, balls, or similar items in the previous year. It would also be a good idea to run this promotion just before football season starts.

Save Your Money

The billboard and radio-ad approach to boosting sales has long been outdated. Not only will you have no idea who is being exposed to your advertising, you are presenting your product to an audience that is likely very distracted by something else. Namely…DRIVING!

For a small business looking to maximise their return on investment with a tight budget, your best approach is to engage in a targeted and measurable approach. Don’t worry about reaching MORE customers, focus on reaching YOUR customers.