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How To Grow An Audience That Converts

Let’s set the scene – you’ve started an eCommerce site to sell your products online and harness the power of the internet to grow your audience. You’ve watched as your site has taken off and your traffic numbers are increasing every month, but your revenue just isn’t growing at the same rate – what’s the problem?

There are few things as frustrating for an online retailer than watching visitor numbers continue to go up whilst transaction numbers and revenue flatline. It’s clear to see that your traffic just isn’t converting as it should.

‘But how do all the big online retailers do it?’ A valid question and we feel your pain. Many in the marketing industry would give you a simple one-word answer – budget. There’s got to be more to it than that though, right?

Well, the budget does cover an element of any marketing tactic, but there are certainly some tips and tricks you can implement on your own eCommerce store to boost conversion rate and get your traffic converting at a higher rate.

If you want to know how you can build an engaged audience that wants to buy from you again and again, you’ve come to the right place. Here are a few ways you can take some inspiration from the bigger online stores.

Build Customer Trust

Customers aren’t going to want to give up their contact information or spend their money on an online store that they have little faith in. One of the biggest areas any eCommerce business can work on is improving their customer trust, and the most successful online retailers know this.

You’ll be hard pushed to find a big online store that doesn’t include the following elements on their site:

Trust signals – These are usually visual cues that reassure customers they’re in the right place to part with their cash. Big name brands push these hard to keep that feeling of trustworthiness through the site.

Trusted payment options – There’s almost always an option to pay via PayPal these days, but you can go one step further by offering other trusted alternatives like Stripe or Google Wallet. Reviews/testimonials – Historically, people are more likely to buy from stores that have been recommended to them by friends, family or colleagues. Recent studies have shown that online reviews carry similar weight, with 88% of all consumers trusting testimonials from other shoppers as much as a personal recommendation. Get some of these up on your store and start building that trust.

Testing, Testing And More Testing

Another big part of growing an audience is understanding that the digital marketplace is constantly evolving and your store needs to evolve with it.

In such a competitive industry, the eCommerce stores that utilise the latest digital tools and testing methods can take advantage and steal a march on the rest.

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If you want to compete at the top, you have to be using data to drive your site forward and help your store reach its maximum potential.

Don’t think that you need to splash the cash here – there are some fantastic free tools out there that can help you test your site and understand its areas of weakness. There may be one or two worth paying for, but the majority of them are cheap and affordable for a smaller eCommerce business.

One area we do strongly recommend is something known as A/B or split testing. In practice, this means running two separate tests of a similar element, for example, the text or colour used within a specific call-to-action button. Do the words ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Add To Basket’ convert better? Does blue encourage more clicks than green? Split testing will show you which options to use on a permanent basis.

Here’s a great list of free tools you can use to increase your stores’ conversion rate.

Watch Your Competitors

This might sound obvious, but sometimes watching what your closest competitors do (and don’t do!) can give you a small advantage. Even the biggest names in eCommerce will have one eye on their nearest rivals, just to see how they stack up and identify any new markets that might have been overlooked.

Also don’t feel too bad about stealing ideas or copying what your competitors are doing. Increasing your stores’ conversion rate is about staying competitive and improving your own site – chances are your rivals will be watching you too!

Lead Instead Of Follow

The average customer will go through quite a number of steps before making a successful purchase on your store. Understanding this pathway is a fundamental way of developing a smoother, less resistant customer journey that will ultimately reduce checkout abandonment and keep your audience engaged.

You might have come across the term ‘customer journey mapping’ at some point – this simply relates to the method of plotting out the key stages of a transaction to try and identify the pain points customers might encounter. The most important thing you can do when completing this is to lead, not follow.

What do we mean by this? Well, many eCommerce businesses will map the customer journey, but most approach things from the wrong perspective. You need to be proactive and make the route to purchase easy for the customer – remove obstacles, dismantle barriers and make the entire experience positive rather than painful.

One way to do this is to use automated marketing to help you turn insight into action. Using this type of solution, you can notice pain points quicker and move to rectify them faster. Automated marketing used to be out of financial reach for smaller eCommerce businesses, but right now it’s more affordable than ever.

Provide Clear Value

This sounds simple but you’d be amazed at how many stores lose sight of their main goal – what is it that should make customers want to buy from you instead of your competitors?

A clear message should be obvious on your homepage to ensure customers are engaged as soon as they enter your site. Bear in mind a value proposition shouldn’t just be a mission statement or slogan – it should be a clear promise that your store and products offer something of worth to the customer.

Your value proposition shouldn’t just be a mission statement or slogan – it should be a clear promise that your store and products offer something of worth to the customer.

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Uber is a fantastic example, take a look at their homepage. ‘Get there. Your day belongs to you.’ is such a great message as it focuses in on something we all despise – wasting time. No one wants to be stuck waiting for a traditional taxi that never arrives or spends hours organising travel with an unreliable taxi company – as the Uber message states, they just want to get there.

Create your own value proposition and you’ll see customers start to bond with your brand.

Keep It Simple

At the end of the day, you need to keep things simple. The last thing you want to do is bamboozle your audience and leave them feeling lost or confused – confusion causes frustration, frustration leads to anger and anger drives customers away.

Unfortunately, most eCommerce stores have taken this idea too far the other way and believe that keeping things simple means the site must be dull and uninteresting. This just isn’t true.

Always remember to keep your store looking clean, fresh and simple – Google and Apple are two of the greatest exponents of this. The Apple store, for example, lets the products do the talking with crisp imagery of their latest phones, tablets, watches and computers. This should serve as a fantastic reminder to smaller businesses that users love the simplicity and you don’t have to overcomplicate things to be successful.