1. Build your brand

The best visitor to your site is the one who arrives intending to buy. Raise awareness of your brand, not just your promoted products or services.

Find out what consumers think about you, and then emphasize the best parts and downplay the worst. This won’t happen overnight, but you plan to stay in business for a while, right?

Studies show that brand awareness is closely linked to perceived value. If what you’re offering is valuable, brand loyalty will follow.

When consumers know what to expect for your brand, they show up ready to commit to your product. The best thing you can do to prepare consumers to buy may be to step up your branding efforts.

2. Incentivize your offer

Like branding, discounts may seem basic, but research by Duke University and others suggest that the behavioral psychology behind incentives is too compelling to ignore.

Your high bounce rate may be attributable to shoppers not liking what they see on your site. But you’re probably also dealing with a fair number of strategic shoppers.

Strategic shoppers don’t just decide whether or not to buy, they wait for the right time to make the leap. Do you have a history of seasonal promotions? Understanding careful consumers will inform your inventory, supply chain, advertising and conversion rates.

Another benefit of incentives is that they make buying fun. The New York Times reports that when J.C. Penney eliminated sales in favor of everyday low prices, their strategy backfired catastrophically!

Many shoppers wait for promotions, so they can congratulate themselves on their shopping savviness. Incentivizing your conversions makes people feel good about their purchase, and it also boosts brand loyalty.

Particularly in the travel industry, many companies like Groupon and Travel Zoo have found ways to exploit this theory of one-time prices.

It creates a natural scarcity for trips that encourages impulse sales when the typical travel purchase decision would likely be much more thought out.

Its success has even launched a seperate lead generation company Tera Data to drive continued sales for other travel partner sites such as Rohrer Bus Sales & Red & White Fleet Cruises.

3. Eliminate options

Behavioral psychology teaches us that decision-making is difficult for consumers. Psychologists know that too many choices, no matter how attractive, overwhelm shoppers. The same is true of multiple incentives.

It isn’t because customers are stupid, but it’s because they’re smart. We’re all trained to weigh the benefits of an incentive.

Calculating the worth of two or three discounted products, or two or three layers of incentive, slows us down and makes us wonder whether the product is worth the effort. Your overlapping new customer discount, bring-a-friend discount and seasonal discount may be smothering conversions.

4. Get people talking

Is your brand social-friendly? Try incentives that get your customers talking about you. Dairy Queen incentivized its fan club and buy-one-get-one coupons with a Facebook contest. The promotion went viral and exceeded expectations by 20%!

If your brand doesn’t thrive on social media, there are other ways to incentivize word of mouth. Something as simple as a referral discount could double your reach among engaged or return customers. It may not be as sexy as a viral phenomenon, but we can’t all sell ice cream!

5. Prepare your welcome mat

Your landing page is just as important as your shopping cart, and it probably gets a lot more visitors. Keep it in shape so all your great branding, promotion, and social ideas don’t bounce away with your visitors.

The best landing pages:

  • Are barely there: like lingerie, the best landing pages don’t have much content.
  • Show and tell: use high quality, compelling images and  straightforward messages.
  • Look familiar: Include images from your social pages, brand logos, or other persuasive scents consumers expect.
  • Make conversions easy: streamline complicated comparisons and decisions.

The payoff

The reward for your careful work is twofold. Obviously, you’ll ideally get the sale. Just as importantly, though, you gave the shopper an opportunity to talk about you, show you off, and lay the groundwork for others to enter the conversion funnel.

If the shopper made an easy decision to take advantage of a great offer tied to a brand he or she loves, others will too!