Today's guest post comes from Nathan Oulman, CEO of DailyHosting.net. Nate spends a lot of time reviewing and writing about martech software and how it can affect an organization's bottom line. In this roundup, he shares some of his favorite tools for jumpstarting lead gen in your sales funnel...
One of the most disheartening things to witness as a business owner has got to be the “bounce."
You watch your prospective customers take time to look over your product or review the details of your service. Then, when it seems like they might pull the trigger, they bounce. In person or on your website, wherever the interaction takes place, it doesn’t feel good when they leave. And it probably makes you call into question what happened, what you did wrong, and how could you have saved that sale.
For small business owners, this can be a particularly troubling conundrum as you don’t have the robust (and expensive) resources that larger companies do to try and resolve this problem. I think that’s why the phrase “conversion rate optimization” is so intimidating for some. It sounds like some highfalutin marketing strategy that you don’t have the time or money for, but I assure you, it’s not.
Conversion rate optimization really just refers to the different ways business owners can improve the numbers of sales (or other types of conversions) they make. And there are plenty of affordable solutions available to help cut down on those unnecessary website bounces and increase your conversion rate.
6 Tools to Increase Sales and Conversions on Your Small Business Website
Here’s the thing you need to know about your visitors: they want to interact with a genuine brand persona. They want to know that they matter to you as a customer and that you’re not just after their wallet. So the key to increasing conversions—and recovering sales from those potentially on the fence—is to show them that there’s a human behind it all that’s got their best interest at heart.
One of the easier ways to achieve this is through a system of tools you can use to remind visitors that you’re there to help them when they’re ready to make a purchase. Think of this like the store clerk who gives a quick “hello” to shoppers, mentions some special offers, and then remains silent but vigilant until assistance is needed.
You want to make the shopping experience a helpful and pleasant one, but you don’t want to be overly intrusive. Here are some tools you can use to make this happen.
Your first line of defense in keeping visitors engaged with your site and on the right path to conversion are videos. Explainer videos are great for companies that have complex concepts or services while product videos work well for companies that want to show off a product that visitors can’t test out or view in person.
As video is known to increase people’s understanding of a topic by 74%, this tool is one you’ll need to hook visitors’ interest while they’re actively moving around your site. It’ll also demonstrate to them that your main concern is with making their online shopping experience a positive one.
#2: Social Proof
While video will take some time and money to put together, this option is much easier to get up and running on your site. The tradeoff is that this will be a more passive and subtle approach to encouraging visitors to stay and convert.
Social proof is validation you can collect from real users; this includes testimonials (written or video), online ratings and reviews, and even customer feedback and interactions from social media. By integrating these into your site, you can show prospective customers that 1) you listen to what your customers have to say and 2) you, again, want to make this shopping process an easy one for them.
#3: Live Chat
You’ve no doubt encountered a live chat module while shopping before—and it’s a pretty convenient tool to have around, as a consumer, in case you have urgent questions or concerns you want resolved. “In fact, 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.”
Offering live assistance to visitors is important. It provides a sense of security that you’ll be there to help them through the process. But live chat can also be a powerful abandonment recovery tool as well. Take the Olark solution, for instance. Not only can you help visitors when they reach out, you can monitor their activity so you can step in when it appears they’re having problems or are about to leave in the middle of a purchase.
#4: Exit-Intent Tech
The Olark live chat platform’s recovery feature is what many refer to as “exit-intent technology”. In other words, it enables business owners to step into the visitor’s on-site experience right before they’re about to bounce. You’ve got to admit, that’s like having a marketing superpower or something.
But live chat isn’t the only form of exit-intent technology you can use to increase conversions. You can use tools like OptinMonster. Similar to Olark in that it seems like a simple solution at first glance (as a popup builder), tools like OptinMonster offer users the ability to send popup messages to visitors as they physically make a move to “X” out of a browser or hit the back button. While you might not be able to keep all those visitors on the site with whatever compelling offer you share in the popup, you might keep the ones who only needed a tiny push.
#5: Simplified Forms
Chances are very good that you already have contact forms and other lead generation forms on your website. In the digital age, this is one of the best ways to encourage visitors to reach out.
However, taking a look at the average shopping cart abandonment rate (which is currently about 69%), it’s clear that something needs to change on those forms for a lot of websites if you want to increase conversions. The easiest solution (at least to start) is to shorten and simplify the shopping cart process. Only provide fields that are absolutely required of visitors and keep the instructions brief. The less work you make your visitors do, the more willing they’ll be to move forward.
Remarketing, or retargeting, is what I like to think of as your last-ditch effort to increase conversions. Unlike the tools above that enable you to engage with visitors while they’re still on the site, this one gives you the ability to reach them after they’ve left.
Remarketing ads are ones that will follow your visitors around the web, which is pretty cool when you think about it. You use a tool like AdRoll to add a tracking pixel to your site, and then let it do the work for you as it shares small reminders about your business while your visitors go about their travels around the Internet.
Did you know that the average e-commerce conversion rate is 5%? If your site is new or you currently have a small audience, that 5% may not be the kind of number you’re hoping to see when you tally up your end-of-month sales. But by employing a set of tools like the ones above, you can give your visitors a reason to rethink their decision to bounce and give your sales the boost they need in the right direction.