Thursday 22 May 2014

My Checklist for Increasing Online Sales

A common difficulty for online businesses is converting their marketing efforts and social engagement into sales. It’s fairly easy to portray your chosen brand image and increase your following (If you follow me, and/or have read my previous articles, hopefully my help has brought you to that position), but getting those followers to part with their cash, especially online, can be a complete bitch!

The first thing I’d say is it’s not easy… It really isn't! So if you’re struggling, don’t think you’re alone. It’s a lot easier to convert your online marketing efforts to offline sales believe it or not. A larger amount of trust in a relationship is required before someone will make the decision to buy from you online – which leads me nicely into the following rant:

‘Marketing in’ is not directly proportional to ‘sales out’ from the get go. I get serious fucking pains in my head with those who believe they should see an online sales increase after their first month of marketing. The reality is in your first few months* your target is to increase trust amongst your followers, and also to increase your amount of online followers**. Sales will be a product of this growth.

* Time period will change with industry and current company position.
**This is not specific to your social media following – This includes anyone who engages with your company online.

The list I’m about to present to you has been developed over a long period of time. I developed this checklist using my background knowledge of online marketing and trying shit out, which is how you really find things out; make mistakes and learn from them. Just be sure to come back stronger.

Luckily for you I’ve made the mistakes and done the tests. So you can now use the following checklist with a little more confidence. My advice is to run down the checklist and make sure you have each point covered in some way.

7 Point Checklist

           1.       Good Site Design
This is so fucking obvious, but so commonly ignored!

Would you buy from a site that’s been hacked together and barely looks legit? How long would you wait for a website to load before you left it to find another supplier of your desired product? On average people will wait 6 – 10 seconds for a page to load before they give-up.

So make sure your site is well designed, with good code backing it up in order to reduce page loading time. The customer’s journey from the home page to the checkout should be as smooth as a Ryan Gosling chat up line.

           2.       High Google Ranking
Spend time on your site’s SEO. Optimise your keywords and meta-tags.

The fact of the matter is that people are god damn lazy… and I fully include myself in this category! It’s human nature. There are certain things people will work hard for, but finding a site on Google isn’t one of them. The top ranked sites on Google will always perform better.

           3.       Links Everywhere
Make sure people can access your site from as many places as is sensible. That includes the social media content you post and emails you send.

           4.       Good Social Media Practice
I aint going to bore you with the ins and outs of good social media practice – I have plenty of articles related to that. However, two very important points to highlight are:

1.       Remove ‘buying’ references from your content and focus on the BENEFITS of your product(s).
2.       Post a shit-tonne of good images of your products. People like to see what they are buying. So show your product from many angles, and in action etc.

           5.       Direct Engagement on Social Media
This is ‘good social media practice’, but it deserves its own point.

Like the traditional salesman would roam door to door harvesting sales, you need to roam your online following to harvest TRUST; develop one-to-one relationships. The important thing is that you don’t try to close the sale right away. As I said in the beginning, this will come.

           6.       Paid Ads
If you think you can achieve huge online sales without any paid advertising then you’re a fool. Every company should have a marketing budget.

Paid aids will help spread the word about your company and product, and will help increase your online following. Once you’ve captured these followers all marketing is free – you are then able to build your relationship.

           7.       Email Marketing
Email marketing kind of fell on its arse for a while there, mainly due to the amount of sleazy spam mail being circulated. However, it’s on the ascendency once more.

A well written (and by that I mean not sleazy sales talk) email can feel a lot more personal to a potential customer and fast track the journey of trust.

Spend some time developing as large an email list as you can. You can have subscribe widgets on your website and social media, add previous customers etc. This is an on-going process.

So there you have it; my very own ‘seven steps to selling success’. Go hither and increase your online sales, but don’t forget about me! I’d love to hear how you get on if you choose to follow my advice. So come and join me on any of my SM platforms.


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