25 Ways to Increase Online Sales
Increasing online sales is the primary goal of countless businesses, large and small alike. Whether you run a mom-and-pop retail business or work for a vast e-commerce giant like Amazon, increasing sales through online channels is a little like bowling a strike – it looks a lot easier than it is.
Fortunately, there are dozens of ways you can make more sales online, many of which you can implement right away. Some of these tips focus on specific strategies you can implement, whereas others are more generalized. In this post, we’ll be looking at 25 such strategies, so whether you sell physical goods or run a service-based business, here are 25 actionable techniques you can use to increase online sales performance.
1. Be Honest in Your Sales Copy
This might seem painfully obvious, but it’s amazing to me how many sites write checks their products can’t cash. Not only is honesty in your copy crucial to your business’ reputation, it also fosters and encourages trust in your brand. Don’t make claims you can’t substantiate, and don’t use hyperbole lightly – today’s consumers are hypersensitive to marketing BS, so be honest, straightforward, and approachable in all your sales copy, from your homepage to your email campaigns.
This principle also applies to how you position yourself as a business. Ever come across a site that’s obviously run by one or two people, but features copy that would be better suited to a multinational enterprise company? This approach not only makes you look foolish, it also damages your brand’s credibility. If you’re a small company, take pride in that and be upfront about it – many consumers are turning to smaller businesses precisely because of the more individualized, personal service they can offer. Don’t try to be something you’re not.
2. Get More Ad Clicks with Ad Extensions
If you’re selling stuff online, ad extensions are a no-brainer – this feature (available in both AdWords and Bing) allows you to make your ad bigger with more places to click. And it doesn’t cost any extra! AND it increases your ad’s click-through rate! Amazing, right?
3. Show Off Customer Testimonials and Trust Signals
In today’s social media environment, customer feedback has never been more important. Fortunately, this means that your satisfied customers can provide you with one of the most valuable weapons in your arsenal – testimonials.
Legions of satisfied customers are considerably more influential than even the best-written sales copy, so make sure you include gushing testimonials and reviews from your hardcore brand evangelists gushing about how wonderful you are. These might appear on your product pages, landing pages, pricing page, even your home page. For more info, check out my post on the power of customer testimonials.
Similarly, the inclusion of trust signals can be an excellent way to increase online sales and/or average order value, as it creates a more favourable perception of your brand in the mind of the prospect and can potentially overcome hesitations preemptively. If your business has any professional accreditations (even something as routine as a Better Business Bureau certification or membership to your local chamber of commerce), put these trust signals front and center on your site. If you have an impressive list of satisfied clients, make sure your prospects know about it.
4. Create a Sense of Urgency
It’s important to be honest and transparent about who you are and what you do, but there’s no rule against creating a sense of urgency to persuade prospects to buy from you right now.
Many consumers respond positively to incentives that create a sense of urgency, from time-sensitive special offers to limited-edition products. Although the ways you can accomplish this are as diverse as the products you can buy online, some strategies may be more effective than others. For example, if you don’t (or can’t) make a limited-edition product to entice prospects, maybe you can offer a financial incentive to customers who commit to a purchase right away, such as free shipping or a discount.
However you choose to do it, creating a sense of urgency is a great way to increase online sales.
5. Offer a Bulletproof Money-Back Guarantee
Oftentimes, one of the most powerful factors in a consumer’s decision not to buy something is risk aversion – the desire to avoid a potential loss. Most times, this perceived risk is a financial one. Why should someone buy your products? What if they don’t work, or the customer doesn’t like them? Even small purchases can carry the risk of “buyer’s remorse,” so overcome this objection from the outset by offering a bulletproof money-back guarantee.
The more risk you remove from the prospect’s decision, the more likely they are to buy from you, so take away anything that could dissuade prospects from buying from you.
6. Offer Fewer Choices
To many businesses, this concept is simply unthinkable. Surely offering more products is a great way to increase sales! Well, not necessarily. In fact, in many instances, a greater variety of choices can lead to indecision on the part of the prospect, which in turn results in lost sales.
If you have a wide range of products, consider structuring your site or product pages in a way that offers visitors as few choices as possible. This reduces the possibility that the visitor will be overwhelmed by dozens of different products. This can be accomplished by arranging your products into increasingly narrow categories (a bonus of which is offering visitors greater ease in finding exactly what they’re looking for), or you could place greater emphasis on fewer individual products. Either way, remember that the more choices you provide, the more likely a customer is to bounce and go elsewhere.
7. Target Lookalike Audiences on Facebook
One of the best ways to increase online sales is to use the data you have about your existing customers to find people just like them. Facebook allows you to do this through the targeting of lookalike audiences.
Lookalike audiences in Facebook are essentially users on Facebook who share characteristics and behaviors to customers in your database. You upload your data to Facebook, which then cross-references its own data (and information from third-party data brokers) to create matches based on the criteria you specify. You can also use tracking pixels and data from app installations to help you create lookalike audiences. This is an excellent way to make the data on your existing customers work for you, as it effectively allows you to greatly expand your reach with minimal effort and use highly targeted ads to entice Facebook users who are very similar to your existing customers.