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online-conversionOK, so you've worked long and hard to find the perfect keywords for ads, you've got a team of heavyweight SEO Jedi hard at work, and kidnapped marketing geniuses chained up in the basement, and as a result your traffic is through the roof.

Getting solid traffic can be an arduous process, but it's important to remember that ultimately that isn’t why you are in business.

You're here to convert traffic into sales, and this is part of the process where many businesses falter. Having access to huge numbers of people is different from actually selling to them.

Fortunately there are some simple rules you can follow that will really help you optimise your site for conversions.

Take the lead with customers

Make sure you streamline your buying process.

Whether B2C or B2B, the actual buying process should be as quick and easy as possible, so take a long hard look at your site and ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is it really user friendly?
  • Is navigation obvious and intuitive?
  • Is it cluttered?
  • In short, does any part of your site design stand in the way of sales?

If it does, then you need to consult with a designer and make those changes as quickly as possible.

Your job is to make your customer's lives as easy as possible and guide them safely through the entire sales process.

Free stuff

Personally I'm not always for free gifts. It's easy to indoctrinate the customer into getting something for nothing, but as a means to collecting prospect information, offering free content is hard to beat.

If you deal in B2C, then coupons or gifts work well, while B2Bs may favour free reports or e-books, anything you can provide inexpensively in return for an email address.

If a customer takes the time to sign up for free content, then they're already displaying a vested interest, giving you the opportunity to engage them as active participants.

Keep in touch

If a customer wants extra information, then you need to provide it to them quickly.

If at all possible invest in live support. Dealing with an actual person increases customer confidence in your business and anticipates any frustration points.

If you can't stretch to live coverage, then at the very least make it as easy as possible for customers to contact you. 

Many sites have an online form, but it's still worth displaying an email address prominently. I often see sites that hide their contact details away in an obscure footer, mainly because of worries about spam.

If you have spam, you can filter it out. If customers can't get in touch, they won't trust you and will abandon their basket.

Which of these is a bigger problem?

Make it easy and show the customer that you care about their experience.

Don't be subtle

Ok, it's fine to have some lovingly crafted, subtle design elements on your site, but if they obscure your calls to action then don't be afraid to ditch them.

Typically users don't spend a long time searching around your site, so it may be better to have a compelling 'Buy Now' button rather than a lovingly detailed storybook that takes you on a journey through the site.

Calls to action may appear simple, but you should really dedicate time and effort in this area. Your CTAs should be compelling, straightforward and informative.

If a customer cannot find the action they are looking for quickly, you will lose them.

All these points are simple to follow and inexpensive to implement, but will streamline the sales experience and really help increase your conversion rates, so check out your site and make sure the conversion matches the traffic.

Matt Owen

Published 19 August, 2010 by Matt Owen

Matt Owen was formerly Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or hook up on LinkedIn.

203 more posts from this author

Comments (2)

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Casey

I really like these 4 simple tips.  People spend so much time with all of the latest and greatest tech offerings, which is good, but tend to forget about getting back to the basics and really dealing with your customer.

over 6 years ago

John Courtney

John Courtney, CEO and Executive Chairman at Pay on Results SEO, Content Marketing, Social Media, Digital PR, PPC & CRO from Strategy Digital

It's all about driving the right quality of traffic through good SEO and then getting that traffic to convert via Usability. We get independent users to do Usability tests and clients get to see videos of their investigations and recommendations. Stunning results.

over 6 years ago

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