Tips For Becoming a Pro at Online Sales
Who doesn’t want to make more sales online? Whether a business owner is offering products or services, more sales means more revenue for their business. They can then devote that revenue towards expanding or optimizing the business to sell even more, compounding those positive results. But how can a business owner master the art of online sales? Following a few simple tips can make a huge difference.
- Optimize the Website
If a business owner’s website doesn’t perform well, they’re leaving sales on the table. Most web users will wait a few seconds before abandoning a page, so a slow-loading site means fewer users and less paying customers. For that reason, an owner should choose reliable web hosting and check the speed of their site regularly.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool makes it easy to check the speed of a website by plugging in the URL. What makes this tool especially useful is that it also provides suggestions on how the owner can improve their site’s speed, along with precise instructions on implementing those suggestions. The tool also measures the speed of the mobile version of a site and provides suggestions for speeding that up, which is vital in the modern era, where many customers browse primarily on their smartphones.
- Set Up the Sales Process
Many businesses will call this the sales funnel, but the truth is that there are many different ways that a business can set up its sales process. The right method will depend on the business and what it offers. What is essential is that the business has a clearly defined sales process designed to maximize online sales.
For some businesses, that will be a traditional sales funnel. For others, that will be a long-form sales letter. Some businesses offer a sales ladder, where each step on the ladder has a product or service at a certain price level, and every step above that gradually increases the price and the value of what the customer receives.
A sales funnel typically is good when the business focuses on one or a select few products. A sales ladder works well with businesses that offer services. However, each business must find its own optimal sales process.
- Move Up the Search Results
SEO is a critical component of any online business’s success. A high ranking in the search results brings in more organic traffic, and more traffic means more opportunities to make sales. The reality is that most web users won’t look past the first page of their search results, so getting on that first page can result in a big traffic boost.
SEO is a complex subject, but there are a few ways that a business owner can improve their site’s SEO without a huge time commitment. Every site should have an SEO plugin to help optimize all its posts. For businesses using WordPress web hosting, Yoast is one of the most popular SEO plugins, and it provides information on how to format posts for the best search result rankings.
Targeting long-tail keywords when creating posts and pages is key to doing well in search rankings. If a business owner targets common keywords that already have a large amount of competition, it’s going to be difficult to get to the first page of the results. Focusing on longer strings of keywords will make it far easier to rank high, because there is much less competition. For example, if a site sells martial arts gear, the keyword “martial arts gear” may be a difficult keyword choice. A long-tail keyword alternative could be “martial arts gear for under $100” or “Tang Soo Do martial arts gear,” to target a narrower market.
- Offer Up-sell, Down-sell and Cross-sell Options
These are three critical options that can entice customers to spend more money or provide them with a less-expensive alternative. Here’s how they work:
Up-sells: The site offers the customer a product upgrade and demonstrates the benefits of upgrading. For example, if a customer was shopping for a computer and had selected one, the business could offer a computer with superior performance as an up-sell.
Down-sell: The site offers the customer a less-expensive alternative to a product. This is typically done when a customer abandons their shopping cart. The business can email the customer a product that’s similar, but at a lower price point.
Cross-sell: The site offers the customer a related product. For example, if the customer is buying a smartphone, the site could offer cases and car chargers that work with that phone.
All of these options are simple to implement and can boost sales numbers without annoying customers, so every online business should have make use of them.
- Collect Email Addresses
One thing business owners often don’t realize about online sales is that it can take time for a potential customer to actually buy something. The customer may visit the business owner’s website several times before making a purchase, which is why it’s important to build that business-customer relationship. And the easiest way to do that is by using an opt-in box to collect customer email addresses.
The best place for an email opt-in box is on right sidebar towards the top of each page on the site. It should be on every page so a customer never has to go far to punch in their email address and sign up for the business’s email newsletter. To get customers to sign up, the business should include an opt-in offer. This doesn’t need to be anything big – it could be something as simple as an eBook or a 10-percent discount on a future purchase. The key is that there’s some incentive for customers to enter their information.
Becoming a pro at selling online doesn’t happen overnight. But with consistent effort and the right strategy, a business owner can see gradual results that build into dramatic improvements in their sales numbers.